Joan Irvin

Sessional Faculty

Craft + Emerging Media

Instructor, Jewellery + Metals

“As an artist, I feel a certain kinship with the mythological phoenix bird. The transformative power of fire has always played a role in my artistic practice; whether I’m creating a body of work in clay, expressing myself through fiery flamenco dance (kinetic sculpture at its best), or fashioning jewellery creations with a torch flame. My work pays homage to the lineage of craft, while embracing new technologies and materials. The phoenix is thereby continually reborn.”



Joan Irvin is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, curator, and educator. Her artistic career began with ceramics, detoured into dance, and currently focuses primarily on jewellery and small-scale sculpture. Irvin’s metal works have been exhibited across Canada, in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. She is affiliated with numerous national and international Arts organizations, and is a member of Calgary’s Hand Made Here Artist Collective.

Irvin's research areas of interest include:

  • exploration of colour & imagery on metal (involving processes such as anodizing, enamelling,  etching, and simulation)
  • crossovers between ceramic and jewellery technologies (use of ceramic materials with jewellery enamels, and work with sintered metals/metal “clays”)
  • community cultural development (outreach workshops throughout Western Canada and the NWT; informed by years spent as Supervisor of  Calgary’s Wildflower and Northmount Pleasant Arts Centres)

Member of ACAD Faculty since 2003.


BFA with Distinction (Jewellery + Metals), Alberta College of Art + Design.

Visual Arts Advanced Studio Program (2 Years Independent Study in Ceramics), The Banff Centre School of Fine Arts.

BFA with Distinction (Visual Arts – Ceramics), University of Calgary.

Selected Professional Activity:


60 Years of MAGC and The Year of Craft, Metal Arts Guild Cross Canada Travelling Exhibition, 2007.

All About Alberta, Canadian Embassy (Alberta at the Smithsonian, Smithsonian Folklife Festival), Washington DC, 2006. (This exhibition subsequently travelled to various Canadian destinations, and to the Cheongju International Craft Biennale, South Korea, 2007.)

Crossing Borders:  Joint Exhibition, American Jewelry Design Council + Calgary Jewellery Designers, Jewels by Design, Calgary AB, 2005.

Musings on My First Nine Lives (Solo Exhibition), Sun Life Plaza Atrium, Calgary, 2004 & Alberta Craft Council Gallery, Edmonton AB, 2005.


Refurbishment of the Revolver Challenge Cup, presented by Field Marshall H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught & Strathearn, K. G. to the Royal North West Mounted Police in 1912 (fellow artists: Charles Lewton-Brain & Carl-Eric Lindgren), 2005.


Outing the Body & New Art Jewellery (model/performer), numerous venues, 1999-2003.

Opening Ceremonies – World Police & Fire Games (dancer for Spain), McMahon Stadium, Calgary AB, 1997.


Public Art Competitions, City of Calgary & Urban Youth Worx/Carma Developers, various venues, Calgary AB, 2004-2012.

Artist Talks/Workshops

British Columbia:  North Island College (Campbell River Campus), Kootenay School of the Arts at Selkirk College (Nelson)

Alberta: Red Deer College Series & Summerscapes, The Leighton Arts Centre (Calgary AB), Calgary Public Libraries, Calgary Board of Education, Calgary & Area Regional Fine Arts Council, Rockyview School District, City of Calgary (Arts & Culture)

Saskatchewan: Neil Balkwill Centre (Regina)

Northwest Territories: The Northern Life Museum & NWT Industry Tourism & Investment (Ft. Smith & Hay River), The Artists of the South Slave Society (Ft. Smith), Hay River Artisans (Hay River)

Selected Publications:

Irvin, Joan.  “Freedom to Create, Spirit to Achieve??”  Alberta Craft Spring 2011: 3.  Print.

 ---.  “In View:  Precious Metal Clay.” MAGazine Winter 2008: vol. 23, no. 3: 8 9 28.  Print.

 ---.  “David Kim: ‘Mosaic:’  Identity and Cultural Hybridization.”  Current Projects Contemporary Fine Art Review  No. 3, April 2002: 7, 8.  Print.

 Meilach, Dona. Teapots:  Makers & Collectors.  Atglen PA: Schiffer Publications, 2005: 30, 49, 108, 137, 168, & 245.  Print.

 Owen, Tara.  “Exhibition Review:  Musings: Joan Irvin.”  MAGazine Fall 2004: 19.  Print.

Selected Awards:

Perpetual Calendar, Alberta Craft Council commission, intended for the Legislature, Edmonton AB (fellow artists: Bee Kingdom, Voyager Art & Tile, Doug Haslam, Simon Wroot, & Charles Lewton-Brain), 2013.

Award of Honour, Alberta Craft Council Fine Craft Awards, 2009

Visual Arts Project Grant (Art Production), Alberta Foundation for the Arts, 2003

1st Prize, 10th Annual Writing Competition (Jewellery), Parlement Lycéen Européen, Porto, Portugal, 2002

Award of Excellence, ‘Fun and Games’ Category (presented to Shaw Community 10 for Art in Action, Producers: Noni Boyle, Joan Irvin, & Patrick McAneeley), Best of the Northwest Video Festival, Washington State, 1995.

Featured Work