Clay Culture: Populace

An installation invites the Ottawa community to reflect on Canada’s founding and experience ceramics as an art form.

1,2 The Ottawa Guild of Potters and the community’s Populace, 49 ft. (15 m) in length, 9000 steel rods, 3000 feathers, 3000 fleurs-de-lys, 3000 roses, Mid-Smooth Stone clay fired to cone 6, gloss white glaze. Photo: TopView Photography.

The Ottawa Guild of Potters presented Populace, a ceramic art installation that marked Canada’s 150th year as a nation, acknowledging the three main cultures present in the Ottawa area at the time of Confederation. A total of 9000 individually crafted ceramic sculptures were installed on the east grounds of the Canadian Museum of Nature: roses to recognize the British, fleurs-de-lys to recognize the French, and feathers to recognize the Indigenous people. Each flower and feather was handbuilt out of clay and then glazed, fired, and installed on individual steel rods, forming a contemporary populace that transforms the landscape into a public art garden. The scale of the installation, its monochromatic color scheme and the repetition of flowers and feathers invited viewers to reflect on the significance of Canada’s history as a nation. Visitors were invited to walk through the installation’s meandering paths, share photographs, and become immersed in this powerful visual experience.

the author Kim Lulashnyk is the Media and Communications coordinator for the Populace project. Learn more about the installation and see more images at,,

  • Thank you so much for your interest in our project. We had an incredible opportunity to work with our clay community, arts organizations, our fellow potters and the Public during this Canada 150 project. Thank you Ceramic Monthly for sharing our endeavor!

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