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Profile 3 - Marney McDiarmid

.By Christine Hamelin with photography by Randy deKleine-Stimpson

Political activist and community builder Marney McDiarmid is a self-taught ceramic artist who transforms her experience of life and nature into complex, whimsical pieces of art.

Marney had a rich childhood. Her mother, Lynn, had emigrated from the UK, and her father, Ralph, was in the Canadian military and worked for NATO. “They moved 14 times before I was 20,” says Marney, but she and her younger sister thrived. The family lived in Germany when she was in Grade 5; they moved to Norway until Grade 9, when they moved to Ottawa and Marney attended Gloucester High School until graduating. “My parents saw being in the military as an opportunity to travel,” she explains. “It was amazing. We travelled through Europe, going to fantastic galleries or exploring farmhouses in the French countryside. My dad would always make things fun. In the summers, I spent time with my grandparents in the UK.” Marney has loved travelling ever since. “I get energized when I go to a new place,” she says.

An outgoing girl, she enjoyed school and extracurricular activities. In high school, she and her peers were passionate about social justice and environmental issues. “I was part of a network of Ottawa students who got connected to David Suzuki and organized a national conference and a huge march on Parliament Hill.” Her political activism put her slightly at odds with her family. “We’d have lively debates at the dinner table. . . ."

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