Walter Gibson Dexter

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  • "Our condolences to the family. We enjoyed many happy hours..."
  • "Walter you shall be were a wonderful man, a..."
    - Byron Johnstad
  • "I was so privileged to know Walter for over a decade. He..."
    - Lauri Nerman
  • "I remember Walter from UVic - a lovely, gentle man and a..."
    - Rachel Hellner
  • "The old order changeth...and yet, Walter and Rona will..."
    - Monika Ullmann
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DEXTER, Walter Gibson October 3, 1931 - June 2, 2015 When clay and life become art Walter Dexter is one of Canada's top award-winning ceramic artists. He contributed significantly to the ceramic field both nationally and internationally. This Canadian potter and artist expressed life through the medium of clay and art as the ultimate ideal in life. His affinity with the material inspired him to create bold, new ways to make clay the canvas for his art. Walter experimented with contemporary technologies and the use of surfaces to convey his painterly and artistic ideas. The result is an exceptional legacy of stoneware, raku and torso vases. After a life spent teaching, exhibiting and engaging with his art, Walter passed peacefully in Victoria, British Columbia, on June 2, 2015. Walter was born in Calgary, Alberta, the second son of Margaret Duncan (Smith) Dexter and William Crews Dexter. His older brother William (Bill) was born in 1922. Walter attended the Alberta Institute of Technology and Art (re-named Alberta College of Art and Design). While there, Luke Lindoe, an instructor and his most influential artistic mentor introduced him to clay and glaze. Walter subsequently discovered art in Europe and acquired knowledge about discipline that laid the foundation for his career as a teacher and artist. In Nelson where he worked at the Kootenay School of Art he met, and later married, the poet Rona Murray, his companion and muse whose own aesthetic sense undoubtedly influenced him. In the mid '70s Walter and Rona moved to Metchosin, BC, where he continued his innovative work in copper red stoneware, figurative sculptures and raku, all enhanced with his signature style and interpretation. In 1995 he began producing bottle sculptures, or the tall rectangular torso vases that are the subject of a monograph. The textured surfaces and brushed glaze shapes are the ultimate expression of the marriage of form, colour and image that is now widely associated with this beloved ceramic artist. Walter is survived by Anne Dyer, his daughter by a previous marriage; son-in-law Blair Thompson-Jendrysek; grandson Jason; nephew John Dexter; and cousin Pam Chang. He is fondly remembered by Rona's offspring by a previous marriage, Michael Haddon (and spouse Marjorie Luce-Haddon), Rosemary Haddon, Jonathon Haddon (and spouse Louise Field). His grandchildren had a special place in his heart: Veronica, Craig, Julian, and Inanna, as did his great-grandchildren, Amanda, Anthony, Kirkland and Elliott. The wider family includes Dawn Ruthven and her children: Mark, Ticki and Hugh. The family is grateful for the excellent care provided by the staff at Berwick House and the Royal Jubilee Hospital. A celebration of Walter's life will be held at 3825 Duke Road in Metchosin (Walter and Rona's former home), 11:00AM - 2:00PM on July 25, 2015.

Published in Victoria Times Colonist from June 13 to June 14, 2015