Bradley Keys

b. 1968

The artist enjoys the interplay of his work with clay and the 3D aspects of our surrounding geography. As we move within our environment, so we interact with his works, taking in all the various viewpoints and responses that involvement in place offers. The forms and glazes of Bradley’s hand-built ceramic pieces incorporate the rhythms and colors of the prairie and the mountains. This artist loves the land and offers us opportunities to take a bit of it home to enjoy and cherish.

With his trademark touch of whimsy, Bradley examines the kindred intersections of nature, humans, and our connections to place.

Artists Statement

Ceramics has a long history as a recording device for culture and historic events. As well, it is the perfect medium to interpret the landscape, as it is comprised of the earth itself.

My recent work is a reaction to my environment and our relationship with it. The underlying concept is the idea of a stone raft. To borrow a metaphor from "The Stone Raft" by Jose Saramago - Nobel Laureate for Literature 1998 - what if all our borders suddenly broke off and started to float away? Like a boat at sea, we’d instinctively start to take care of the land and realize its life sustaining potential. To visualize the metaphor I take voluminous clay forms and raise them on wooden stands. This is my Trestled Series.

The ceramic is earth-like in texture and colour. The forms allude to the familiar yet are ambiguous enough to allow the viewer to bring their own interpretation. The ribbed understructure balances the ceramic components between the natural and mechanical. Further, the wooden stands raise the pieces and protect them from the space around them. Together they create a curiously recognizable yet oddly unidentifiable object that invites the viewer to make their own associations.

My process is a constant exploration of form, surface, and glaze. I try to balance these elements to create something that begins to tell a story; a story that is revealed over time through use and mutable observation. The Eastern Slopes Bowl evokes the memory of the Canadian Rockies. A slightly rippled edge of a bowl that suggests a gentle breeze, the drip of a slip line that looks like a furrowed field in the foothills, the waffled edge that echoes a ridgeline along the Sawtooth, or the transition of a glossy to a matte glaze surface that alludes to a shoreline in the Crowsnest Pass. These are some of the narrative elements that I am seeking to expose in my work. For me as an artist these pieces are a collision and distillation of all of my interests, which inevitably connect with the viewer.


1992-1994     Alberta College of Art and Design (BFA with Distinction).
1990-1992     Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
1985-1989     University of Calgary, B.Sc. in Zoology.

Solo Exhibitions:

2012, Grounded, Willock and Sax Gallery, Banff
2010, As the Crow Flows, Willock and Sax Gallery, Banff
2008, iPot, Willock and Sax Gallery, Banff National Park
2005, Elevators of Alberta, Willock and Sax Gallery, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta.
2001, Terra Sections, Willock and Sax Gallery, Waterton Lakes National Park

Selected Exhibitions Group:

2011, The Makings II, Willock and Sax Gallery, Banff
Clay 2010, Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Alberta Craft Council Travelling Exhibition
The Makings, Willock and Sax Gallery, Banff
2004, Clay Creates Culture, Alberta Potters' Association, VAAA Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, Honourable Mention.
2003, Mugs and Jugs, Vessels of Libation, Alberta Craft Council Gallery, Edmonton
2002, Art vs Craft, The Great Debate, Alberta Craft Council Gallery, Edmonton
         Bradley Keys Pots, Generations Gallery, Stony Plain, AB
2000, Artwalk 2000, Eclectibles, Calgary, AB.
        Home on the Range, The Station Cultural Centre, Okotoks, AB.
        Cover Stories, Alberta Craft Council Gallery, Edmonton, AB.
1999  Vanishing Icons, Provincial Museum, Edmonton, AB, travelling
        Tea for the Taking, Alberta Craft Council Vault Gallery,   Edmonton.
1998  Clay Invitational, West End Gallery, Victoria, B.C.
        Clay, Spirits from the Earth, Alberta Craft Council Vault Gallery, Edmonton.
1997  Artwalk 97, Provenance Gallery, Calgary.  
        Quality Trademark Show, Alberta Craft Council, Edmonton
1996  Vessels in Celebration, APA 25th Anniversary Show, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, travelling.
1995  Treetop Art Walk, Invermere, B.C.
        Half Dozen of the Other, Marion Nichol Gallery, Invitational ACA Alumni show, Calgary.
        Made in Alberta, APA juried show, Karuna Gallery, Calgary.
1995  Earth Shines, Sunlife Plaza, Calgary.
        Birthday Show, Provenance Gallery, Calgary.
        FLUX, Ceramics Department Graduating Show, Art is Vital, Calgary.
        ACA Graduating Show,  Alberta College of Art.


1994 The Board of Governor's Award, Nominee; Louise McKinney Post Secondary Scholarship, Nominee; 1993 Louise McKinney Post Secondary Scholarship for Academic Excellence; Culpepper and Mile-Hi Ceramics Prize; Dr. J. C. Sproule Memorial Scholarship; 1985 Alexander Rutherford Scholarship;


2005, “Making Marks”, Robin Hopper, KP Books
         “500 Cups”, Lark Publishing.
2004, “ Profiles, Alberta Craft, Culture in the Making," January
2000, “Contemporary Potters”, Rockport Publishing.
1999, “Where Magazine”, Rocky Mountain Edition, Summer 1999.
         “Albertans”, Alberta Report, Feb. 1, 1999.
1998, The Best Of Pottery 2, Rockport Publishing, U.S.A
         “Fete of Clay”, Legacy Magazine, Nov. to Jan. 1998.
1995, “Defining Design”, City Scope, March/April.
1993, “Throw and Altered”, Contact Magazine, by Bradley Keys, Autumn 1993, 94


Alberta Foundation for the Arts
University of Lethbridge
Private Collections: Canada, United States, Australia, Japan, UK

 Bradley Keys

"Maybe when they're holding something, a mug or a little pot or something, to notice this couldn't have been made in a mold, it really can't be mass produced, which is kind of one of the things I try to go for." (Bradley Keys in "Ceramicist sees fundamental shifts in social interactions" by Dominique Carrier (Rocky Mountain Outlook, 28 August 2008. Bradley in his studio, 2008.