Meet the Crafters: Anna Bald

December 3, 2015 | Halifax Crafters Society

Ever wondered about the talent behind the 2015 Winter Market poster for the Halifax Crafters? Meet Anna Bald. She makes ceramic drawings, functional ware, watercolours, acrylic paintings, and notes she also has “bit of a background” in silk screening.


“I started making this version of ornaments after I took a workshop with my neighbour, Vaughan Smith,” Anna says, “he taught me a sgraffito technique”. Sgraffito, which in Italian means “to scratch,” has an extensive history, but notably arrived in Europe from the Middle East, where it played a significant role during the Renaissance. It involves glazing leather hard pottery in layers of contrasting layers of color and then scratching lines, patterns and texture into the surface, revealing the clay color underneath. Palace facades in Rome and other cities were decorated using this technique.

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“I really like how I can get a sharp definition on a fine line and have it make it through this cooking process with ceramics;” says Anna, “it comes out as this fragile piece that has more of a lifespan ahead of it than something that I’m going to put down on paper.”

How would you describe how you work?
My process is definitely exploratory. I always feel like I am in the constant practice of making things, and I don’t think I am ever decided on what it is that I’m working towards. I think that is what makes my work unique. I try not to repeat myself. I’m not interested in production lines, I am interested in practice.

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What are you most excited about seeing at the Crafters’ Winter Market this year?
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s work. It’s like a timeline. Checking in with other people in my field — my peers — who have been cooped up in the same sort of manner that I’ve been. Everyone is showcasing what they’ve been up to, which is an exciting opportunity in and of itself.

What inspires you to make work? Do you think it’s in relational to your setting?
I’m going to say the internet inspires me (laughs). I live in a very majestic, beautiful, bucolic rural setting and I don’t like to look at it, at all. I’m on the internet every day. It’s Facebook. It’s all Facebook based. (laughing)

cecropiaIn this bucolic space, where do you do most of your work?
We’ve got a studio apartment.

Is that what it’s called?
Yes it’s a studio apartment because we can’t afford a studio and an apartment, so it’s both. Yes, I have a very patient roommate who lets me take over the apartment for a period of time, but I try not to get too obnoxious about it.


What do you do when you’re not busy getting ready for Halifax Crafters?
I have about six jobs.
I’ve been apprenticing with my friend Barbara Holzmark. She’s my mentor right now. She has been teaching me how to become a cobbler. I work on a farm sometimes with my partner and his family. I also work at the LaHave Bakery about one day a week. It’s very demanding (laughs). I’m just project-based: I paint signs, I do tattoos, I have drawn a children’s book in my past. I like to do a lot of random projects that don’t turn into anything right away.