Debra Kuzyk & Ray Mackie: The History of Us

Deb Kuzyk and Ray Mackie recall their history of creating together and individually

Artist Profile - Debra Kuzyk and Ray Mackie

  • In one of their pottery studios, Deb Kuzyk manipulates a ceramic hare while Ray Mackie holds it up.

    Debra Kuzyk is a Nova Scotian artist who completed a BED at the University of Saskatchewan and a BFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where she studied ceramics and printmaking. Kuzyk also studied at the Banff Centre, the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, and the Alberta College of Art.

    In the early 1990’s she began collaborating with Ray Mackie, and in 1999 they moved their studio to Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia and established Lucky Rabbit Pottery. Together they produced functional ceramics and exhibition pieces. They have received numerous grants and awards, including from the Canada Council for the Arts, Arts Nova Scotia, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council. In 2008, they were awarded the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council Established Artist Recognition Award, and in 2022 the Industry Leader/Supporter Award from the Atlantic Canada Craft Awards for Excellence. In December 2022, Debra and Ray closed their shop and are currently pursuing independent careers.

    Debra’s solo and collaborative work is held in numerous permanent collections, including the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Rooms, the Gardiner Ceramic Museum, The Permanent Collection of Contemporary Ceramics, Burlington Art Gallery, MSVU Art Gallery, the Canada Council Art Bank, and the Nova Scotia Art Bank.

    Her work has been exhibited throughout Canada and internationally. Debra continues to live and work in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.


    Ray Mackie was born in 1949 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He studied at the University of Saskatchewan, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1977, his Master of Fine Arts from Indiana State University in 1980, and his Bachelor of Education from Memorial University in Newfoundland in 1990.

    Mackie taught art in Halifax through Memorial University’s Extension Service, Dalhousie University, and Mount St. Vincent University. In Stephenville, Newfoundland, he served as instructor, department head, and program co-ordinator at Westviking College of Applied Arts. Mackie left the college in 1999 to move to Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, to operate Lucky Rabbit Pottery with partner and fellow artist Debra Kuzyk.

    Mackie’s ceramic and installation work is influenced by styles from ceramic’s history, including those of the Jin Dynasty in China and of 14th century Turkey. Describing his artistic philosophy, Mackie says “My general aim is to faithfully reproduce my personal responses to image-symbol-idea complexes. I generally feel impelled to reduce forms to some kind of essential format. These forms are then elaborated through my involvement with materials and processes. I am equally concerned with the idea struggle, and the sensuous making process which serves as its vehicle. The exact nature of the relationship between the two is, for me, mysterious and productive.”

    Mackie’s work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including a 1999 retrospective of his installation work, called “Coda,” at the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador. Mackie’s work is represented in several public collections including the Canada Council Art Bank (Ottawa), Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia Art Bank, and the Massey Foundation. He has also received several awards including the 1976 NSCAD Award for Excellence in Crafts, the Atlantic Craft Trade Show Industry Leader Award (1999) and the Government of Nova Scotia Artistic Achievement Award (2008).

    Ray Mackie continues to live and work in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.