What's so special about pottery rather than another art-form?
I'm not entirely familiar with the insides of all other art forms in particular, but I can say that pottery is interesting in the range of possibilities it provides and caters to. It's infinite. It really is an art form and lifestyle that needs a lifetime to get to know it. I was recently chatting with a well-known potter from here, in Ontario, and she told me that she has been in the industry for over 20 years and just now feel like she understands it. Hearing that made me so happy, yet so sad. I do, however, feel honoured and proud to know a minute amount about it; there are a countless different methods and perspectives on the craft and I'm sure my own story will evolve quickly and vastly.
As a potter, what are some of your greatest challenges?
Oh boy. Goood question. I would say my greatest challenge has always been defining and navigating the business side of things. I've tried for a long time to find the right line between Speck and Stone being a business that sells a product and also being my chosen art form. Even though each piece is made with my two hands and look to it, I do understand that having consistency is somewhat necessary when making functional ware. Trying to reconcile these two contradictory needs and wants of small batch pottery is a battle, although, I think I'm slowly settling into some sort of resolve with it. (Or, perhaps, I'm just accepting that it is what it is as long as it is pleasing for others and myself.) I am always making new and varying pieces, but I have rarely veered from my instinctual aesthetic or glaze pallet for the shop. I'm at a good place right now where I finally understand firstly, what I am physically able to produce within the hours of day and secondly, understanding that sometimes with ceramics it is just impossible to replicate the exact same outcome more than once. I have come to know that this is truly part of the beauty and awe-inspiring thing about pottery and as long as people continue to enjoy and want my work I’m a happy camper!
What about accomplishments? Anything you’re most proud of?
I'm proud to have learned what I have learned and I am honoured to have a very little toe in the ceramic world. Every time I open the kiln door and see things in one piece that are interesting and pleasing to my eye, I feel over the moon. There are so many things that can (and do) go wrong with making pottery that you learn to find great joy in the little things and gain respect for the process. I would, also say that having pieces in people’s homes and hands still blows my mind and I think that is my favourite thing.
How do you keep things fresh?
I keep things fresh by having bi-annual life crisis's where I freak out, shut down and doubt everything past and future! (Doesn't everyone have these?) I'm being a little dramatic, but it's also the truth. These times make me rethink, and refocus everything that I do have. As soon as I feel like I'm not making good work or enjoying my work, my first instinct is to leave it and get out of that space physically and mentally. Aside from escaping, which obviously isn't always possible or realistic, I am always trying new things and reading and researching methods and materials that I can introduce or even simply familiarize myself with. The world of pottery is such an infinite learning opportunity I usually find new knowledge keeps me curious and fascinated enough to stay in love with the craft. My super savvy and wise husband also plays a huge role in listening patiently to my illogical feelings or expectations. He always manages to whip me into a good place again with some fresh outside perspective and encouragement.