I have set up a studio and gallery in the town of Sundre, Alberta. It offers a wonderful view of the mountains and the Red Deer River flowing through town. Many people have commented on the beauty of this area. I strive to portray the beauty of the river and the Rocky Mountains in my hand made pottery. From this, I have learned to see and appreciate the wonder of nature.
Not only am I an artist, but I’ve spent 30 years working outdoors, rafting the Upper Red Deer River as a tour guide.
The interest in pottery came about in a roundabout way. I have an education in the sciences and a career working outdoors as a professional river guide. This has given me a unique point of view. I try to produce work that has a natural, organic look yet has some excitement to it. I use a combination of electric, gas, and wood kilns and primitive firing techniques to produce a unique style and range of pottery.
My work has been featured in many of central Alberta’s newspapers. It has also been for sale in several galleries, museum and art shows. From my studio sales, I have pottery that has travelled around the world.
The most recent interests in pottery are in the making of functional pottery. They are both beautiful and usable daily. I don’t think anyone can have too many coffee mugs.
I have worked in clay for 20 years or so. I just found a pot I signed in 1996. It might have been one of my first or second years’ attempts. I have explored Barrel Firing, Raku, Earthen Ware, mid-range and high fire clay’s. I have also used wood and soda firing for both stoneware and porcelain. It has been an exciting journey. I have explored many ways of creating work. I’ve tried extrusions, wheel throwing, casting, pinching, slab and coil building. There is so much to explore and not enough time.
I have finished building a wood fired kiln. So far, I have had two successful firings in this kiln. I didn’t expect the first firing to work out but, amazingly, the results were good. I didn’t know if we could reach the high temperatures for vitrification of the pottery. We hit 2230 degrees F, more than enough! This is a whole new area of exploration for me and a new level of excitement.
In the field of pottery, there are many different avenues to pursue to get different effects. These can include decoration, type of clay and firing temperature. The type of kiln can create different effects by the firing environment. Whether the pots are surrounded by oxygen (like in an electric kiln), some combination of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and a variety of nitrogen by-products (occurring in a kiln heated by combustion), all the work looks different. In a wood kiln, there are added effects of a buildup of fly ash, wood ash and the actual flame licking the pots. For even more variety toss in some salt or baking soda and a totally different look again!
By enrolling in a wood-firing course in Ontario in May of 2016 my work has speeded along in this new direction. Being largely self-taught, I found the course an excellent method to learn a lot in a short time. If I only had more opportunities for further course work.
Don’t all artists wish they had more time to explore their medium?