My journey with pottery started at the Yellowknife Guild of Arts and Crafts in the year 2000. I saw an advertisement for a pottery class and decided to sign up. I fell in love with the craft and have been making pottery at the Guild’s studio ever since. I eventually became an instructor and I’ve been a board member at the Guild several times over the years.
I usually make functional items such as plates, bowls and mugs, even though I like to make abstract decorative pieces occasionally. A lot of my recent pieces are northern themed, as I tend to get all my inspiration from the outdoors. I especially like to use natural colours. My designs usually consist of trees, landscapes, sunsets, sunrises, ravens, and ptarmigans. We have two ravens that visit our home regularly and I love to watch them closely to try to recreate what I see in my artwork. It’s tricky, but it’s fun!
There are a few different phases to pottery: throwing, trimming and glazing. My favourite part is glazing because you never really know how the pieces will turn out until that time. It’s so exciting when it’s time to open the kiln to see what will come out of it. That element of surprise is so interesting to me!
I tend to go backwards in my creative process. I start from what I want the end product to look like and I figure out how to make that idea come alive. I love to go for walks, where I’ll take pictures of anything that peaks my interest. I’ll reflect on what I want to create and what it will look best on — whether it’s a mug or some other dish. I will then try to recreate what I have envisioned once I’m glazing the pieces I have prepared at home on my wheel.
I’m a teacher by profession, so I always love to figure out how to teach people new skills. Being able to guide beginners through the process of making a small pottery item by the end of a class is very rewarding. I love to witness the excitement from students learning these techniques for the first time, especially when they see the final result.
Pottery is something that I truly enjoy doing. Creating art makes me feel peaceful, and I’m glad I get to share my passion with the community. I sell most of what I make, but I even keep the pieces I can’t sell because I don’t want to throw them away. I made all the dishes that I use at home, and my daughter has a cupboard full of mugs that I made! All these pieces have character, even if they’re not perfect.