Don Chester

About the Artist

Donovan Chester attended the University of Regina, in Regina, Saskatchewan with the intention of becoming a school teacher. One of his last course requirements for the Education degree was an art course, which hooked him into a life-long career of exploring the challenges and enjoying the creativity and freedom of art-making. Born in 1940 near Carievale, in the south-eastern corner of Saskatchewan, Chester moved to Regina in 1965. He was associated with the University of Regina for many years as a student and a teacher before branching out on his own as a self-employed artist.

A communications officer at the Mendel Art Gallery, Natalie Kallio, recalls that “Donovan Chester was introduced to  clayMud; moist, sticky dirt. In ceramics, clay is the basic material, usually referring to any of a certain variety of mixtures of such ingredients — fine-grained, firm earthy material that is plastic when wet, brittle when dry, and very hard when heated. There is a temperature with ceramic clays at which their particles fuse (vitrification), and this is most commonly controlled by heating (firing) them in a kiln. The most common types of ceramic clays are earthenware (terra cotta when fired, terra cruda when not), stonewares, and porcelain. (Artlex.com)  in 1965 by Jack Sures at the University of Regina. Despite some early recognition in clay, Donovan spent the early part of his career, with some success as a painter. He returned to  clayMud; moist, sticky dirt. In ceramics, clay is the basic material, usually referring to any of a certain variety of mixtures of such ingredients — fine-grained, firm earthy material that is plastic when wet, brittle when dry, and very hard when heated. There is a temperature with ceramic clays at which their particles fuse (vitrification), and this is most commonly controlled by heating (firing) them in a kiln. The most common types of ceramic clays are earthenware (terra cotta when fired, terra cruda when not), stonewares, and porcelain. (Artlex.com)  in the mid-1970’s and soon began to teach. In 1977 he became the Head of Extension Pottery at the University of Regina, a position he held until 1987. Since that time, Donovan has worked as a professional artist and craftsperson in Regina.” (Kallio 2001)

Chester has won the Excellence in Clay award at the Saskatchewan Craft Council’s annual exhibition, Dimensions, on three separate occasions. He is a master of the techniques of Raku  firingTo fire is a process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  and his elegant works and  functionalRefers to the intended use or purpose of an object. The term is often applied to manufactured products, particularly crafts, and when discussing designs for architecture. Though sometimes said to be non-functional, art is expected to function in various ways, including: to beautify, to adorn, to express, to illustrate, to mediate, to persuade, to record, to redefine reality, to redefine art, to provide therapy, to give unselfconscious experience, to provide paradigms of order and/or chaos, and to train perception of reality. Anything that is not functional is called nonfunctional. Often the decorative qualities of a thing are considered nonfunctional. (Artlex.com)  pottery are represented in many collections.

In a 1974 artist’s statement he wrote: ”…[i]t is the finished work that is important, not the method, tools or media…” (Schoonover 1987)


Craft Redefined
Don's Raku Cooling Technique
Every Potter Should Know How to Draw
I Became an Artist by Accident
Raku Pottery
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning