Fonds - John Reeve and Donna Balma fonds

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Title proper

John Reeve and Donna Balma fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on content of fonds.

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Fonds

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Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1951 - 2004 (Creation)
    Creator
    Reeve, John
  • 1951 - 2004 (Creation)
    Creator
    Balma, Donna

Physical description area

Physical description

33.25 cm of multiple media

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Name of creator

(1929-2012)

Biographical history

John Reeve, born in Barrie, Ontario in 1929, married Donna Balma, born in 1934 in Victoria, British Columbia. They were artists, John a potter and Donna a self-taught painter and writer. John studied sculpture and later ceramics at the Vancouver School of Art in 1955. John became part of the Bernard Leach-influenced British Columbia modern pottery movement when he and Donna went to England in 1958 so that John could study under Bernard Leach and his wife, Janet. They, along with the others studying and working there including Glenn Lewis and Michael Henry, become pivotal and famous for the sort of artist collective that grew and developed out of this study under Bernard Leach in the Cornish fishing village of St Ives. Donna had two children, Hannah, while at St. Ives and Soledad, born in Victoria upon their return to Canada.

At this time in art history in Canada, pottery began to be looked at as art and not merely as functional craft. After his two and a half year apprenticeship at St. Ives Pottery, John and Donna returned to Canada and John taught at UBC. They returned to England in 1962 where he established a Pottery with Glenn Lewis and Warren Mackenzie called Longlands, which was closed a few years later due to financial difficulties. In 1966, John and Donna again returned to England upon invitation from Janet Leach to oversee the Leach Pottery.

During the 1970s, John taught at the Vancouver School of Art and while there published two pivotal books on pottery glazing. Later he commuted from California to Vancouver to a Granville Island pottery studio which he shared with two of his former students, Sam Kwan and Ron Vallis. During this time, John’s work was featured in many Canadian galleries.

Donna and John separated shortly after November 1974, when they left England for the last time and returned to the Sunshine Coast, BC, where both worked at Michael Henry's Slug Pottery. John Reeve lived in New Mexico where he lectured and taught, and he had moved from functional ceramics to large sculptures. John Reeve passed away on June 28, 2012 at his home in New Mexico. Donna Balma, a registered massage therapist and self-taught artist, was and still is known for her bold, complex, illustrious and dreamlike paintings (often dubbed surreal in genre). She is also a published writer of fiction and art history. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest rainforest of British Columbia.

Name of creator

(1934-)

Biographical history

Donna Balma, born in 1934 in Victoria, British Columbia, married John Reeve, born in Barrie, Ontario in 1929. They were artists, John a potter and Donna a self-taught painter and writer. John studied sculpture and later ceramics at the Vancouver School of Art in 1955. John became part of the Bernard Leach-influenced British Columbia modern pottery movement when he and Donna went to England in 1958 so that John could study under Bernard Leach and his wife, Janet. They, along with the others studying and working there including Glenn Lewis and Michael Henry, become pivotal and famous for the sort of artist collective that grew and developed out of this study under Bernard Leach in the Cornish fishing village of St Ives. Donna had two children, Hannah, while at St. Ives and Soledad, born in Victoria upon their return to Canada.

At this time in art history in Canada, pottery began to be looked at as art and not merely as functional craft. After his two and a half year apprenticeship at St. Ives Pottery, John and Donna returned to Canada and John taught at UBC. They returned to England in 1962 where he established a Pottery with Glenn Lewis and Warren Mackenzie called Longlands, which was closed a few years later due to financial difficulties. In 1966, John and Donna again returned to England upon invitation from Janet Leach to oversee the Leach Pottery.

During the 1970s, John taught at the Vancouver School of Art and while there published two pivotal books on pottery glazing. Later he commuted from California to Vancouver to a Granville Island pottery studio which he shared with two of his former students, Sam Kwan and Ron Vallis. During this time, John’s work was featured in many Canadian galleries.

Donna and John separated shortly after November 1974, when they left England for the last time and returned to the Sunshine Coast, BC, where both worked at Michael Henry's Slug Pottery. John Reeve lived in New Mexico where he lectured and taught, and he had moved from functional ceramics to large sculptures. John Reeve passed away on June 28, 2012 at his home in New Mexico. Donna Balma, a registered massage therapist and self-taught artist, was and still is known for her bold, complex, illustrious and dreamlike paintings (often dubbed surreal in genre). She is also a published writer of fiction and art history. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest rainforest of British Columbia.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of 31.25 cm of photographic and textual materials. Records contain correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, memoirs and ephemera dating from 1951 to 2004 relating mainly to John and Donna's work and life in England at St. Ives. The fonds is divided into five series: biographical, publications/manuscripts/articles, Leach Pottery, ephemera, and Donna Balma.

The majority of records were created by/collected by John Reeve. Some series, (specifically the "Leach School of Pottery" and "Collected Ephemera" series), are undesignated in their origin or belonged to, were created by, or maintained by both Reeve and Balma and are inseparable in their provenance. Donna Balma has her own series within the fonds, containing sketchbooks and correspondence and other records whose provenance (responsibility of origin) clearly lies with Ms. Balma.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Records have been maintained by Donna Balma and were donated to the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery archives in 2005.

Arrangement

The original order of the fonds may have been chronological at one time, but it seems as if the records were somewhat split after the separation of John and Donna, and some of the records may have been misplaced and the remaining records out of chronological order. Also, the records may have also been disrupted when they were used an exhibit. The order in which they are now filed is the order that has been preserved, as this new order is now the most accurate and representative of John and Donna’s lives and the lives of the records.

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Finding aids

Series and box/file lists available.

Associated materials

Glenn Lewis fonds and the Michael Henry fonds.

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Accruals

No further accruals expected.

Physical description

Includes: textual records, photographs and ephemera.

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Status

Final

Level of detail

Partial

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created December 18, 2010.
Revised by BCANS Coordinator, January 7, 2011.

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