The Potters Place Gallery is thrilled to be able to highlight two of our amazing potters throughout the month of August. Come on in and check out our featured windows to see beautiful examples of both wood firing by Maeva Collins and Soda firing by Sue Taylor. We are truly lucky to have such stunning representations of both kinds of firing, right here in our valley… and at The Potters Place Gallery throughout the year, but we thought you should really get to know these two artists, up close and personal, so we are featuring them both throughout August. Come in and enjoy this feast for your eyes and your soul.
The creative process has always been an important part of my life. In the past, I have danced, taught classical ballet and contemporary dance, painted, ridden in dressage competitions, coached dressage and have been an Equine Canada dressage judge.
Although quite different, they all require an eye for good form and an appreciation for beauty and movement. Clay for me has been a truly free form of creativity. It’s mesmerizing to watch a ball of clay transform into a beautiful vessel. Throwing on the wheel is my favourite part of the process and the amazing sensation is still with me every time. During the first few years of creating with clay, I enjoyed making tableware but now I love to create large pieces that are somewhat sculptural.
Throughout my experience with clay, I have never felt the need to save a pot but instead have felt that the next one will be better. Because of that, I have been able to push the envelope; take one more pull, trim closer and not worry about the chance of losing it and with that comes better understanding and better skill. Inspiration comes from my surroundings. I live in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island surrounded by the ocean, rivers, mountains and rain forest. I have always felt a deep connection to the ocean and find the ocean a spiritual, emotional and physical inspiration. Living on a small acreage allows me the freedom to pit fire and wood fire my creations. In both cases I rely on the firing process to produce dramatic patterns that draw the viewer in; nature never leaves the same mark twice. Both pit firing and wood firing give me the opportunity to have an intimate experience in the process from the beginning to the end. Following a firing, I have
found, in spite of the careful planning and preparation, there are always more questions than answers.
In our predictable world, primitive methods of firing result in a creative spontaneity. Potters make the pots and the flames that dance throughout the pit or kiln, create texture, patterns and visual magic. I derive great joy in creating my vessels and my hope is that others will find as much pleasure in viewing and touching these pieces as I have in the making of them.
Sue is a long time valley resident and a co-founding member of the Potter’s Place Collective. She lives and pots on her rural property in Merville. Sue and her husband have built a sprung arch gas fired salt kiln which she uses to achieve the traditional “orange peel” effect on her porcelain work. Sue creates both functional and one of a kind carved pieces.
Her work reflects her many years of making pots in Canada and her degree work at the University of Western England with work displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London
To call ceramic artist/potter Maeva Collins one of our own, is such a coo.
She creates some of the most magnificent pit fired ceramic vessels in Canada and she lives right here, among us in the Comox Valley.
Her woodfired pieces all begin on the potters wheel and then many of them are alterred in shape, either to a square, rectangle, or in some cases, just a little attidude is given, as in her tea pots.
In The Spirit of Fire, an exhibition at the Potters Place Gallery for the month of July featuring Maeva Collins’ pit fired and wood fired ceramic art. Maeva lives and works in Courtenay on 3 acres which gives her the ability to fire her ceramic art creations with wood. These methods of firing serve as a link to ancient techniques and civilizations of the past.
Pit firing produces surfaces that are warm and sensual with patterns reflecting the natural world. Wood firing is an ancient method with a sense of ritual. The wood kiln is fired for 36 hours and stoked every 5 to 10 minutes.
In our predictable world, primitive methods of firing result in a creative spontaneity. Potters make the pots and the flames that dance throughout the pit or kiln, create texture, patterns and visual magic
The Potters Place is so happy to have Shirley Phillips as our featured artist for the month of June. Please come by and see what Shirley has been up to in her studio lately.
Here is what Shirley has to say about her pottery and her process:
Clay allows me to create with texture, colour, and oodles of shapes.
I love to see where ” What If ” experimenting will take the clay.
I fire my pottery pieces using 3 separate methods:
* Smoke Firing – Layers of sawdust, pottery pieces, branches, dried plants, seaweed, along with sprinkles of salt and colourants are placed in a metal barrel. The top layer of kindling is set aflame and the contents smoulder for 24hrs. or so. Results are mottled grey to black surfaces with flashes of colour.
* Wood Firing – Placed in Gordon Hutchens Anagama firewood burning Kiln, pottery pieces will collect wood ash on their surfaces during a 3 day firing. Luscious shades of salmon, green, yellow and toasty browns will grace their surfaces.
* Digital Electric Kiln- My Stoneware pottery pieces are glazed in vibrant turquoise, green, gold, chocolate brown and other colour combos. I also fuse Beach Glass on wee dishes.
Nature always inspires with constant changes.
Feature Artist Joe Stefiuk – December 2016. Joe Stefiuk has created a new batch of work, functional and sculptural with new themes for this month’s Feature Window.
He has introduced some new glazes and has used old ones in a different way.
This holiday, we encourage everyone, to think local – supporting local economies, local artists, and handmade/handcrafted works for your gift giving.
Come into the Potterss Place Gallery for Mugs and bowls with a west coast theme, and the most wonderful soda fired animal and bird masks.
You will find Joe’s ‘One of a kind’ tea bowls, Japanese beer mugs, owls, bears (like the one in this image), wolves and of course whales tails.
Now… Don’t fret, included in Joe’s holiday work, will be some old crows, fish, and cows. He has even made the perfect stocking stuffers… shooters (lots of them).
The Potters Place is located in the 5th Street Courtyard, 5th and Cliffe, Downtown Courtenay. 10 – 5 pm Monday-Saturday.
Parking located at rear of along the fence.