As 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. 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. 2022 took 3 classes at MISSA with Fredi Rhan, Elaine Brewer-White, and Charmaine Nimmo. Last year I stayed the full two weeks at MISSA and took classes with Alan Burgess, Arlen Nobel, Cathi Jefferson and Marney McDiarmid. 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 making curets. In my previous classes with Cathi, we worked on teapots, use of ribs, lids, pitchers, altered forms, sawdust firing, square bowls and plates. During COVID, Cathi’s classes have helped to keep me inspired and would have been lost without them!
Last year I joined the Tozan Society, and have enjoyed learning about wood firing. A friend and I build a gas kiln on my property and we have been experimenting with high fire. After Christmas we will be building a Salt/Soda kiln, which will bring learning to a whole new level
When not in classes, I live in Errington on a 10 acre hobby farm with my husband Terry, two dogs, two cats, turkeys, 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.
September's featured Potter of the Month is Barb Strachan...a member of Arrowsmith Potters Guild since 1997 and a founding member of the Train Station Pottery Shop. Barb finds inspiration in nature, particularly the ocean, and this is often reflected in her pottery.
This year I have enjoyed working on functional pottery and some carved vases. And my ‘Sand and Beach Mugs’, bowls and cups continue to fill my kiln.
My philosophy as an artist is simple: that anything that you create should be pleasing to the eye as well as being fit for purpose. Form and colour are what make a pot useful and pleasing to the eye. What I want is that when someone picks up one of my pots, that he or she wants to use it, look at it . I’ve used these ideas throughout my career as an artist and most particularly in the years since I started working with clay. I try to achieve this balance in each of my pots.
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 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.
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.