Member of the Month

Member of the Month
Lorel Sternig

Full Name: Lorel Sternig

Medium: I am most known for clay work, sculpture and mosaics, but I relish anything creative and am exploring other mediums such as acrylics, inks and watercolours.

How long have you been doing your art: I have been creative for as long as I can remember, but have gone through various phases throughout my lifetime. In high school, I found a love for clay in the ceramics studio and though I have taken a full range of studio art classes and workshops, ceramics continued to be my main art form of choice through art school and most of my career.

What got you originally interested in the art you do: An understanding art teacher saw my connection with clay and left me in the pottery studio the whole year, while other students changed studio disciplines each term. I spent much of my adult life making art and finding ways to market my ceramic sculpture and pottery throughout Canada. The life of a successful artist entrepreneur is one of hard work, learning to adapt and change with the times plus willingness to take chances when needed.

What is something you have learned about yourself through your art: Art can be so many things in your life: it can sustain you through difficult times, reflect your joy during good times and even help you earn a living.

What do you enjoy the most about your art: Though I made a living by selling my art for over 30 years, I love creating for the sake of creating and not necessarily for sales. The process itself is very satisfying when you work through a new piece from the idea stage, create the first prototype and then refine and revise to make a series of new works.

What is your favourite joke/quote: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Pablo Picasso

If you could teach everyone one art medium or method, what would it be, why:  Learn the basic design elements and art techniques to the point that you can just relax and let the creativity flow in whatever medium… when you find yourself stalled, work on something else or walk away and take a fresh look at it the next day or next week.   

What do you think makes art important: Art is a means of record keeping and communication which can be more powerful than words. I find beauty, art and design in everything around me. If you start to look really closely at nature and see the light and shadows, geometry and negative space, these principles of design are soon reflected in your work. 

What is something most people don’t know about you: Most people don’t know that working large scale has always intrigued me. At Emily Carr the huge car-kiln and seemingly unlimited supplies allowed me to create life-sized sculptures of a butler and maid that still reside on Granville Island and I made a large coil built pot that still lives in my garden. I soon realized that it wasn’t very practical to make only large pieces in my home studio where one piece took up an entire kiln, so I experimented with seeing how small I could make work that was still satisfying to me.  I would still take on some challenges over the years. and have created many large scale wall installations such as a 3D heron sculpture for a client in Kelowna, a large “Swimming Loon Mosaic” for a client’s bathroom at Heffley Lake and the large clay mural in the lobby of the Kookaburra Lodge at Sun Peaks. That particular project took over the whole floor space of my studio during the months of construction. It can be daunting to take on these commissions, and often backbreaking, but it is extremely rewarding when the piece is finished and installed for a happy client.

Why are you a member of the Kamloops Arts Council: I first joined KAC fresh out of art school as I started my raku pottery business in order to participate in Art in the Park. As the years went on I travelled through BC and Alberta displaying my artwork at juried and invitational shows and discovered that Art Councils were often behind many of the successful art events or did other amazing community projects that I thought Kamloops might also enjoy. The more I got to know about KAC and the projects and artists that they supported, the more I understood the value of this organization. I’ve found KAC to be a great information source and vehicle for artists to show their work and connect with each other and the community. 

How long did you work for the KAC: 8 years in total. I had spent many years creating collaborative art shows and sales for fellow potters and artists prior to working for KAC. When the position of Events and Programs Manager came up it seemed like the perfect fit and I took on the challenge of trying to make each event and program better each year. I became Outreach Coordinator in 2020 while helping to transition new staff to take over events. Finally this year I was able to retire from KAC and will be on to new adventures in this next phase of my life.  

What was your favourite part: Being surrounded by art and artists and helping others through a mutual love of art.  

What will you miss the most: Day to day connections with other artsy people. 

What is something working at the KAC taught you: Art has always been an anchor in my life and I found it an honour to be able to help others learn through art to build life skills, find joy in what they can create with their own hands and be brave enough to take the step of showing their work.

What are you looking forward to the most in this upcoming year (A special show or project you’re working on): I currently have a selection of my work on display at the Sun Peaks Grand and am focussing on home renovations and landscaping while I change focus from a “real job”. I plan to jump into new art projects and teaching in the fall. Many thanks to the outstanding staff, board members, artists and art appreciators I have had the pleasure of working with over the years!

The Grand Lobby, Sun Peaks

The Grand Reading Room, Sun Peaks