Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pottery Marks of Prince Edward Island - Carl Phillis

Having studied under Ron Arvidson, at Holland College School of Visual Arts, Carl Phillis worked in both ceramic sculpture as well as being a potter. With his father, Christopher Phillis, who is also a sculptor working in metal they have executed sculptural commissions that included both media. One prominent one in located in Confederation Landing, on the Charlottetown waterfront. CBC Artspots featured Carl on their site. Carl Phillis Four Acre Farm Winsloe RR#9 Prince Edward Island.

Sadly, on Dec 4, 2019 Carl Phillis died at the age of 61. His obituary was published in the Guardian in the December 06, 2019 edition.

PHILLIS, Carl E. Peacefully passed away at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 of Carl E. Phillis of Charlottetown, age 61 years. Son of Christopher and Valerie Phillis. Brother of Paul Phillis. Loving father of Eliza and Thomas (Amanda). Predeceased by his brother Peter Phillis. Carl was a talented potter, sculptor and respected member of the Arts community. He was a member of A. A. and walked with others on their journey to sobriety. Resting at MacLean Funeral Home Swan Chapel from where the service will be held on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Interment in the Peoples Cemetery. No visiting hours by personal request. Online condolences may be made at

CBC also published an article on Carl's life and his work.

P.E.I. artist Carl Phillis dies at 61

'Carl was a real artist in the truest sense. He didn't do it for money. He did it for love'

Carl Phillis died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at the age of 61 on Wednesday. (Submitted by Gus Hillstrom)

Island artist Carl Phillis has died at the age of 61.

According to his obituary, Phillis died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Wednesday. He leaves behind his parents and two children.

Phillis was a potter and sculptor, with installations sprinkled about Charlottetown. Many of them are abstract sculptures that feature painted pieces of machinery, metal and ceramics. 

Friend Gus Hillstrom believes Phillis' last installation was for a historic Charlottetown property that he used to own.

"He used to walk by every day on his way down to Confederation Landing where I used to play Frisbee," Hillstrom said of how the pair met.

"A lot of days we were stopping, have great conversations and he was asking me about what was going on with me."

Honouring a P.E.I. inventor

At the time, Hillstorm was renovating and restoring the property at 66 Prince St. which was originally built by Watson DuChemin.

Gus Hillstrom stands in front of what he believes to be Phillis' last public sculpture, a dedication to 19th century P.E.I. inventor Watson DuChemin. It's titled 'A 19th century story in the 21st century.' (Nicole Williams/CBC)

DuChemin was a builder and inventor in the 19th century. His most famous inventions are the egg-carton and a type of roller bearing blocks. He also built several organs on P.E.I., including the one used at the Indian River Church.

Hillstrom said the story of DuChemin inspired Phillis to create a sculpture in honour of the inventor. Using various materials from the property on Prince Street and some of his own materials, Phillis installed the piece on the property's lawn last month.

Hillstrom said Phillis titled the piece A 19th Century Story in the 21st Century.

One of Phillis' sculptures located by the Charlottetown Farmer's Market titled 'Unlocking History'

"He didn't want any money for it. He just wanted the people to have it and I said 'why do you do this Carl?' He said 'the reason why I do this is for two reasons. I do it for the Lord and I do it for the people.'"

Work was 'always colourful. They make you happy'

Hillstrom said he didn't know Phillis as well as others but that he "was such a lovely, lovely man."

"When I learned last night that he passed away, I said 'I need to help tell his story and draw attention to this beautiful piece,'" he said.

This installation by Phillis can be found on Richmond Street across from Trinity United Church in Charlottetown. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Though much of Phillis' work was abstract, "they're always colourful. They make you happy," Hillstrom said.

Some of Phillis' other work can be found on Richmond Street across from Trinity United Church, Confederation Landing and The Charlottetown Farmer's Market.

A sculpture by Carl Phillis and his father Christopher called 'Celebration - Then and Now' can be found at Confederation Landing in Charlottetown.

Hillstrom said it was easy to sum up Phillis' legacy.

"Carl was a real artist in the truest sense. He didn't do it for money. He did it for love and I think that shines through in his work." 

A service will be held for Phillis at the MacLean Funeral Home's Swan Chapel on Saturday Dec. 7 at 11:00 a.m.

1 comment:

R Walsh said...

Will miss Carl's presence, he was a kind and interesting person. I have a beautiful large bowl of his that I enjoy. Sad day but it brought me back to your wonderful site Ian. Such a treasure to document the creative work of all these pottery folk.Thank you.

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