...and some as recent as three years ago.
Fire and earth have been lifelong attractions for me. As a child I discovered searching out mud puddles after a warm summer rain in bare feet - it was wonderful. Later in life when I had the satisfaction of getting my hands into the fragrant clay it was reminiscent of the earthy mud between my toes; I can’t think my mother was too pleased.
The following year, with his PhD in hand, Doug accepted a research position with Westinghouse Canada. So off to Ontario we came and we stayed – this area has since been our home and it has been a wonderful place to raise our growing family. Peter and Richard joined our active household and then our daughter Kathryn. I pursued nurturing my family, supporting my husband and volunteering. Part of my volunteering was as a long term member of the McMaster Women’s Club, and even at one stage its President. During this time I began classes at the Dundas Valley School of Art and was soon hooked on clay. The clay’s magic did it’s work and here I am today a reminiscing Potter.
Perfecting centering and throwing clay on the wheel was very satisfying. Anne Sneath at DVSA was my primary mentor and teacher, although I have done many workshops with Bodil Pearson, Bruce Cochrane, Wayne Cardonelli and others. My style is simple, focusing mainly on shape with minimal decoration, bordering on the Japanese simple elegance. I worked in red and white stoneware as well as porcelain with preference to white, oyster, grey and blue.
Shortly after Textures opened her doors I was accepted as a collective member. Co-op’s are dear to my heart and part of my heritage. I soon became a core member and found learning and teaching in the group very satisfying. One of my favorite spots has been behind the counter, curious to achieve customer satisfaction and support the other members by selling their work.
One of my involvements in P.R. for Textures was to be spokesperson in interviews on video or television.
Several years ago , I was nominated for Best Customer Service for my work at Textures in the 2011 Tourism Hamilton Awards.
Hamilton Potter’s Guild also awarded me a scholarship to develop a progression or series of pots which continued to inspire my later work. The white casserole and footed bowl on display was part of that series.
I had many commissions of dinner sets, large decorative pieces, and many communion sets for various churches.
I still participate in jurying potters work who apply to Textures. My husband and I have travelled extensively over the years and I am fascinated by the ancient and varied pottery wherever we travel.
While in Japan I was privileged to have a demonstration by a “National Treasurer”. He was an elderly man and so very highly respected. I challenged him to a long necked bottle and of course no problem. I seem to have inherent Japanese leanings but this trip was no doubt influential too.
When asked how long it takes to make a bowl it is difficult to answer because basically I would keep working on it until I was satisfied. Being satisfied is iffy too because I was always trying to improve the clay body, the glaze or both. Many steps follow, like trimming, bisque firing, glazing and the final firing.
I also found that the process of creating something new and desirable helped me to understand more of life. I was approached by a nun at a course at Mohawk to make a video of forming and firing a vessel for an order to use to attract nuns and priests. This was symbolic of shaping a life with guidance and purification.
Another example; when throwing on the wheel, sometimes the clay has a mind of its own and one criterion I found was that respecting the clay is critical to working with it and so with all relationships. Before clay I learned to be aware and nurture others. The 40-year journey with clay helped me to be aware of self as part of creation.
I am so grateful for a life that has included such a variety of interests and challenges and for the years of support from my husband, family and friends.
This all contributed to enrich my 40-year journey with clay.