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.
Ian took his first pottery course in 1975 and has been involved with clay ever since. He has taught children, teen and adult classes and workshops in both Alberta and British Colombia and in Mexico. His work consists mainly of functional ware. In addition to throwing on the wheel, he uses a slab roller and an extruder to allow greater flexibility and variety in his work. He has served to promote ceramic arts in several organizations, Parkland Potters Guild in Alberta, Nanaimo Potters Guild, Arrowsmith Potters Guild and the Tozan Cultural Society.
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 discovered ceramics as a student at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver, BC. It wasn't until my retirement and empty nest that I found the time to return to this art form. I love ceramics, it offers a unique opportunity to create art that gets used every day, in all the things we do to make a home for ourselves.
Initially, my interest was in form and colour. I focused on wheel thrown pots and experimenting with glaze chemistry in my home based half baked ceramics studio. Recently, I think like many people during the last two years, I found myself wanting to strengthen my connection to nature. Working in my garden, watching things grow and mature, I started drawing and using those images in my pottery. People have always used nature as an inspiration for art, especially in past less technologically advanced times. I like the idea bringing that back into my work. As well, I'm hand building my pots, appreciating the experiences of this new technique.
As of August 13, 2021, the Train Station Pottery Shop online store has closed. Please visit our shop at 600 Alberni Hwy, Parksville, BC Canada V9P 1J9 to browse our selection of locally made pottery.
I began my pottery journey by taking a wheel throwing and then a hand-building class at Arrowsmith Potter's Guild in 2010. I was hooked and since then I have been an active volunteer at the Guild. Raku firing is also a technic that I was able to learn at the guild.
Many of my pieces are incorporated with local drift wood and are available for purchase at the Train Station Pottery Shop.
Visit the Train Station Pottery Shop at 600 Alberni Hwy. to view Brian's creations.
I have been throwing pots for over twenty years. After retiring nine years ago as a music teacher I have had much more time to spend in my pottery studio. And I have had a lot more time to pot these past 14 months with the COVID stay-at-home policies. The pots in my picture show the different techniques that I have been working on during this COVID year as I watched Zoom webinars taught by potters from across North America. From Canada I took Zoom classes from Sarah Pike and Naomi Clement with their unique textures and layered surfaces. From the United States I took Zoom classes with Deb Schwarzkopf on combining thrown and hand built ceramics, Catie Miller with her monoprint colored slip transfers, Lorna Meaden on baskets and lidded jars and Diana Fayt showing her tyvec stencil techniques.
I have been an active member of the Arrowsmith Potters Guild since I joined in 2008. It is nice to be around so many talented potters. I have been on the Board for many of those years and now contribute as the membership coordinator and sell my pottery in the Train Station Pottery Shop.