Charlotte Barkowski

Let me start by saying that I honestly don’t understand why designer biographies are often written in the third person on their website.

There’s probably a really good reason…but I haven’t grasped it yet so I’m taking the risk of committing a blunder and continuing this text in the first person.

I am of mixed-blood, the result of the encounter between my half Russian father and my Belgian mother. As I was mostly raised in British Columbia, I am also of Canadian nationality on paper and more importantly at heart.

The blessed days of my childhood between Vancouver, Bowen Island and the open prairies of the Cariboo, marked me for life. Ever since, I’ve had an irrational need for open space !

Plunged into the Belgian fog at the age of 15 after my parents’ divorce, I only saw the « light » again when I entered St-Luc, a renowned school of fine arts in Belgium.

It was there that I acquired the technical skills and the theoretical knowledge that later benefitted my professional experiences.

Furthermore, I know now and after my years in Belgium, why Flemish painters are the masters of light…The « flat country » lacks it so cruelly that they had to reinvent and magnify it.

After my graduation, Paris, the city of light, seemed like the perfect spot for a young designer like myself to try and start a career.

Then came a romantic encounter, a journey to Africa, a new life in Marrakesh, a first child and a first company. Time was not wasted for me in the last years of the past century.

I spent 17 years in Morocco, in the mesmerising Marrakesh of oriental tales, the cradle of my apprenticeship.

My ceramic company « Akkal » grew with me, the range of products multiplied, the artistic lines strengthened and our horizons widened.

I am proud to have established this brand in the ceramic field and to have received over the years, the recognition of my peers, the press and customers.

Of course there were hopes and disappointments, successes and hardships along the journey, but in the end, they forged my character and refined my tastes as well as my creative desires.

Morocco is a magnificent, multi-faceted country. I am grateful for all I learned there and for the images engraved in my memory that will forever feed my imagination.

Now, settled in Montreal with my tribe, I have the distinct impression of having finally come home. Home to the majestic country of my childhood and to Quebec that I am learning to love.

My studies, my course of life and my professional experiences naturally influence my current artistic choices which I hope to share with you.