Over the past three decades I’ve learned that building a collection of anything takes time and requires patience and a willingness to learn. When I first started to bring home the Canadian pottery I found, I would bring home literally anything. My enthusiasm for the various shapes, sizes and colours was matched only by my interest in the marks and stories of the people who made them. As time passed I developed an eye for good design, and a feel for the piece that was thrown.
Ever mindful of the line between collector and hoarder, I found it necessary to narrow my focus - there is simply too much great work by Canadian artists to have it all so I decided to limit myself to keeping work by B.C. artists. Even that has proved challenging, as B.C. has produced so many talented potters with so many interesting stories.
This has been a process and the journey led me to settle on the work of Wayne Ngan as my absolute favourite. To me, he stands shoulder to shoulder among the giants of Canadian pottery - the Deichmanns, the Harlanders, Folmer Hansen and David Ross, the Groves, Walter Dexter, etc. As I’ve written before, I believe him to be Canada’s Shoji Hamada… our own national artistic treasure. Many agree with that sentiment.
Unusual example of Wayne Ngan raku. It takes on a sculptural feel with a pushed out side, some heavy texturing and some impressions. Circa 1970s (12" x 7").
Born Ngan Guey Wing, he immigrated to Canada in 1951 from Guangdong province in China. Settling in Vancouver, it was his grade 9 art teacher who first recognized his artistic talent and encouraged him to pursue his talents. Dropping out of high school, he enrolled at the Vancouver School of Art (now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design).
Several examples of Wayne Ngan salt glazed work. Cobalt blue glaze and some heavily applied hakeme (far left). Various dates and sizes.
Mr. Ngan proved to be the rising star of his class, graduating with honours and winning several prestigious awards. Exhibiting throughout the 1960’s he eventually settled on Hornby Island alongside his friend and former classmate Heinz Laffin. His career would span the next several decades and see him produce some some wonderful examples of Canadian art. Wayne Ngan passed away on June 12, 2020 at the age of 83. Fortunately for us, he left a fantastic and prolific legacy of his work.
Fine examples of Wayne Ngan hakeme tall vases with faceted sides. Various dates and sizes.
I am always interested in learning more about Wayne Ngan’s career and his body of work. I also purchase fine examples of his pottery to add to my collection. If you have knowledge to share or a piece (one or many) to sell, I welcome connecting with you.