Drahanchuk was oriented to an honest expression of the natural world. He used glazes as ‘accents to good design only where function demands.” Whether making a studio piece or a commissioned mural, Drahanchuk imbued his work with a distinctive surface energy and muscularlity, hallmarks that make it instantly recognizable. He worked in stoneware and experimented with relief decoration and wax emulsion, which provided a fine sensitive line in his work.
Ed Drahanchuk ran a successful independent studio practice (Design Associates, est. 1963) in cooperation with his wife, Ethel, and architectural sculptor Bob Oldrich. They began the studio in Calgary, moved to Bragg Creek and then in 1975 moved to British Columbia. The studio is still in operation. Over the years the Studio benefitted from involvement with Government sponsored trade shows in various parts of the world, which led to purchases from Canadian embassies and government buildings as well as ceramic orders from Europe and Japan. In 1974 Drahanchuk received the “Canadian Design of Merit Citation, Craft Award” from the National Design Council.
Drahanchuk was born in Calgary and graduated from the Provincial Institute of Technology & Art (now Alberta College of Art & Design), where he had studied under his older brother, Walter Drohan RCA (1932-2007), in a department heavily influenced by its first instructor Luke Lindoe RCA (1913-2000).
Drahanchuk and Drohan collaborated for an exhibition in 1965-6 under the auspices of the Western Canadian Art Circuit, and both participated in Canadian Fine Crafts, an exhibition juried by Daniel Rhodes and assembled and toured by the National Gallery for Canada’s Centennial Year. He received the top ceramic prize for work in a second Canadian Fine Crafts exhibition in the Canadian Pavilion at Expo ’67 Montreal.
Public Commissions: Rhythm One, 1970, University of Calgary; Alberta Foothills, 1970, Royal Bank of Canada; Fossil Theme, 1973, University of Calgary; United News Building, Calgary; Mercantile Bank of Canada, Edmonton.
Ainslie, Patricia & Mary-Beth Laviolette. Alberta Art and Artists. Calgary: Fifth House Ltd., 2007, p.124.
MacDonald, Colin B. Dictionary of Canadian Artists Volume 2. Ottawa: Canadian Paperbacks, 1977, p. 278-9.
Townshend, Nancy. A History of Art in Alberta 1905-1970. Calgary: Bayeux Arts, 2005.