A Dutch potter's journey from Israel to PoCo

Ronald Boersen’s career has taken him around the world.

Ronald Boersen’s career has taken him around the world.

But the profession he started in isn’t the one he’s honing now.

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A native of the Netherlands, Boersen trained as a professional violist.

At 30, he married and moved his practice to Israel where he became a sound artist and composer for galleries and special events as well as a sound engineer at the University of Haifa.

A freelancer, Boersen got burned out dealing with deadlines and soon found himself in a pottery studio to relax.

“I walked in and I never left,” he said of his experience seven years ago.

Last year, his spouse won a two-year contract with Simon Fraser University for math education and, within three months, the pair was on a plane to Canada — a country Boersen always admired.

The couple made Port Coquitlam their home and, for the past 2.5 months, Boersen has called a small space in The Outlet, in the Leigh Square Community Arts Village, his sanctuary for half the week.

That’s because in January, Boersen was named the city’s artist-in-residence, a title he’ll have until March 31.

The gig has been an eye opener, he told The Tri-City News last week, saying, “I’ve never produced so much pottery in my life. The energy of this place, the people who walk in to talk to me, the view from my window… there’s been a real connection.”

During his term, Boersen has opened the street-front room during his working hours (Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 6 p.m., and Thursdays from noon to 3 p.m.) and has hosted live demonstrations (his last public showing is Friday, March 23) employing his wheel and slab roller.

And last Thursday, the ceramic potter was the guest speaker at the city’s cultural roundtable, a monthly gathering of artists who meet to network and hear how to advance their business or group;

Boersen focused his talk on the Japanese and Korean potters who have influenced his craft.

Boersen’s bounty of work since mid-January is evident around Leigh Square: His 150 or so pieces — oil bottles, ring bowls, sushi plates, honey pots, vessels and tree bark mugs, for example — are showcased in The Outlet and, next door, at the Gathering Place until the end of April, in an exhibit aptly titled flow in transitions: between 3 worlds.

It opened March 2.

The objects, with their dream-like designs to resemble local rivers and peaked tops for mountains, are his way to say thank you to the PoCo community.

His artist’s residency “has been so very rewarding,” he said. “I’ve been able to meet people and connect with the landscape around me…. My hope is that people will be able to look up and see the nature that surrounds them, too, and appreciate the beauty that we live in.”


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