Incorporating my love of drawing and developing new glaze effects keeps me excited about ceramics. My work is predominantly hand built tableware for everyday use.
I had never considered myself “artistic”, but I always felt the need to be creative. Over the years I tried many crafts, and although I enjoyed them, nothing really captured and held my interest. When I took my first pottery class, I knew I’d found what I’d been searching for. At the time I was working full time as a shopping centre manager, so it was difficult to find the time for my new hobby. I retired from my job in 2004, and started working on pottery as often as I could. In 2007 I joined Pyromania Pottery, and my life as a full time pottery began!
I love creating functional pieces of pottery….things people will use in their daily lives. I’m inspired by the thought of someone enjoying their morning coffee in one of my handmade mugs because it feels just right in their hand! My work tends to reflect the beautiful nature that surrounds us on Vancouver Island, such as starfish and the Great Blue Heron. I also love teaching classes and sharing my love of pottery with others.
I was raised in Yellowknife, NWT and when I was around 25, I married and began a family. At that time, along with two friends, I decided to take a pottery
class. It was 40 degrees below zero, so there wasn’t much else to do? We took the class and I immediately fell in love with working with clay. I decided that when I retired, I would get back into pottery.
When I retired and settled on Vancouver Island I read an ad from Arrowsmith Potter’s Guild that offered classes. I was in. They welcomed me immediately and not just for the classes, but to become a member of the Guild and enjoy all the benefits. I am now a lifetime member at Arrowsmith and have my pottery for sale in the Train Station Pottery Shop.
To me, pottery to me is more than a hobby – it is a release from whatever ails or motivates me at the time. It also keeps me in touch with a wonderful group of potters on Vancouver Island.
I took my very first pottery lesson here at Arrowsmith Potters Guild in 1998. As crazy as I was about throwing on the wheel, handbuilding was calling my name. The last 20 plus years have found me playing with clay on hand built projects only. These include funky functional tableware, as well as decorative raku pieces. I have come to love woodfiring in the Tozan kiln, as well as raku and electric firing.
s a child I was always making little bowls out of mud and letting them dry in the sun. Who knew that my love of mud would lead me to where I am today.
I didn’t get serious with clay until my first official pottery class was in 1989 with Ruth Porter at Beban Park in Nanaimo. I loved it! I practiced for a few years at the Beban Park Pottery Studio until life moved me away and my time was no longer my own. In Fort McMurray in 2002, I briefly reconnected with clay for two years, but it was until my two girls were older that I was able to afford more time to play in clay.
In 2016, I signed up for a beginners pottery class at the Arrowsmith Potters Guild with Barb Strachan followed by an intermediate class with John Shauer. I was hooked. Since then I have spent countless hours playing with clay. In 2017 my girlfriend and I signed up to go to Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts where we took a Mask Making Workshop with Bob Kingsmill. I had so much fun there that I returned the following year for three workshops with Allan Burgess, Victoria Christen and Marney McDiarmid. In Marney’s class I learned to make hand built bowls with pieces and today still enjoy making that style of bowl on a regular basis. 2019 I took three more workshops at MISSA with Clive Tucker, Linda Doherty and Richard Burkett. After Richard’s class, I started experimenting and making my own glazes. I love taking classes, learning, and then using my newly acquired knowledge when playing with clay. I also took classes with Katy Fogg in Comox every winter from 2017 to 2019.
At present, I am taking a class with Cathi Jefferson where we are revisiting ribs. In my previous classes with Cathi, we worked on teapots, use of ribs, lids, pitchers, altered forms and plates. During COVID, Cathi’s classes have helped to keep me inspired and would have been lost without them!
When not in classes, I live in Errington on a 10 acre hobby farm with my husband Terry, two dogs, two cats, two horses, a pony, chickens, and two loose peacocks. While my little studio was being built the peacocks would hang out and still do – and that is how the name Loose Peacock Pottery came to be.
I have always loved art, all the way through school to my present day. My first experience with clay was in my Junior High years and it almost got me suspended. The Art teacher I had in Grade Seven tried to give her students as much experience with various mediums and clay was one of them. Although boys at the age of thirteen are not very smart when thinking about what might happen as the ball of clay, thrown at the culprit who threw it at me, rolled across the teacher's desk as she was showing a student what to do. My aim was never very good.
Thank goodness she changed her mind about removing me and I have enjoyed working in clay ever since. I took art in High School and University; especially enjoying sculpting in clay at University level. My first teaching job was in a small country school in Alberta. I taught a split Grade 3-4 class but also taught Music to Grades 1 to 6 and Art to Grades 1 to 9. I always made sure to have clay projects as part of my curriculum. When I moved to another school. I again taught a split grade but also taught Art to Grades 7 to 9. I wanted to become more knowledgeable about clay and so took some Community Education courses at Red Deer College. I joined the Red Deer Pottery Club and was an active member until we moved to Qualicum Beach in 2010.
I then became an elementary teacher in Red Deer City where I taught Grade 4 for five years. I continued to take numerous Art classes at Red Deer College. I was asked to be the Art teacher at Eastview Middle School, where I taught only Art for 14 years. I always made clay one of my major components in my Art program.
After I retired, I worked for friends who have an artistic tile business, Voyageur Art and Tile, just outside of Red Deer. Brian and Dawn both have Masters Degrees in ceramics. Their knowledge and artistry have inspired me.
My wife, Karen Donald, who is a ceramic artist, and I have a studio in Qualicum Beach. We both have completely different styles and bounce ideas off of each other. We both are members of the Arrowsmith Potters Guild and have been for several years.
My true love in clay is Raku, which is an ancient Japanese style of firing clay pieces. I am currently working on large bowls with wave shapes carved into them and finished in a Japanese style design.
It is funny that my experience with clay started with throwing it in Grade Seven and some fifty-five years later, I'm still throwing it. Hopefully a little more creatively.