Thursday, August 23, 2018

Crystal Stevens - Redrocks Pottery - Summerside, PEI

An excellent article published by The Guardian on August 13, 2018 tell the story of how Crystal of Redrocks Pottery became an Island potter, and developed her signature fox mugs.

North Bedeque potter finding success and fulfillment with line of individualized fox mugs
Colin MacLean (colin.maclean@journalpioneer.com) 

In a cozy little workshop, down a pretty little road, lives a fox.
Crystal Stevens, of Redrocks Pottery in North Bedque, shows off Jax, one of the individually named creations from her PEI Fox Mugs brand. - Colin MacLean, Journal Pioneer


His name is Jax and he’s looking for a home.

He probably won’t have to wait long before he’s adopted. His siblings have proven quite popular lately.

Which is good news for Jax – and for his creator.

See, Jax is a PEI Fox Mug.

He was hand-thrown by Crystal Stevens, owner and artist of Redrocks Pottery in North Bedeque.

Stevens launched her PEI Fox Mug brand about a year ago and a combination of word of mouth and being featured by Made in the Maritimes, which has a huge social media following, has made the stoneware items a popular seller.


“People love them. I can’t seem to make enough,” said Stevens.

“I don’t advertise them a lot because when I do advertise them they tend sell out pretty quick.”

As a small business owner Stevens is happy to have a popular product she can build on. But even more so as a potter and artist, she looks forward to each new batch of PEI Fox Mugs.

She does a lot of what’s called ‘production pottery.’ Which means she gets contracted by larger pottery producers to help make their products so they can keep up with their orders. It also means she has to make those items to her buyer’s standards and dimensions. It’s repetitive.

She has her own line of pottery as well, making all manner of household items and beyond. But it’s with her PEI Fox Mugs where she truly gets to play at her craft.

Each mug is the same basic design, but each is also unique. Some are tall, others stout. Some have frowny faces, some have mischievous faces and so on. She’s even working on a line of silver fox mugs, in a nod to the area’s silver fox fur farming history, but it is still in the development stage.

Because each is unique she felt it was only right to give each a name to reflect their personality.

Hence “Jax,” with his worried little grin. 

Each mug comes with a card with its name attached and thank you note for adopting the mug.

Some customers also like picking out their own names for their mugs, or buying a certain mug because it’s personality matches someone they intend to gift it too.


“It’s kind of silly, but it makes me happy,” said Stevens.

“When I throw fox mugs, I just sit at the wheel and throw whatever I feel.”

The relative success of PEI Fox Mugs, and her other work as well, is a great source of pride for her. She started Redrocks Pottery in 2014 and only started at the craft in 2012, using old, second-hand, equipment in her spare bedroom.

That was a difficult time her in life, she said, and pottery gave her an outlet.

“I couldn’t control anything in my life at that time. But I could control that, I could make pottery,” she said.

“I was so happy that I found something I love to do.”

Anyone interested in adopting a PEI Fox Mug, which are $42, or checking out Stevens’s many other offerings, can do so online at her website www.redrockspottery.ca. She also regularly updates her www.facebook.com/RedrocksPottery page whenever there is another batch of mugs.

She also has open hours, noon to 4 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday at her shop at 120 Highview Rd in North Bedeque.

Colin.MacLean@journalPioneer.com

@JournalPMacLean

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bodine MacDonald - Keppoch Kraft

I recently came across two pottery tiles that I believe are both the work of Bodine MacDonald. Bodine Keene Forder met her husband Dr. Sandy MacDonald while he was undertaking a surgical residency at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. Operating under the name Keppoch Kraft, Bodine and Sandy were both active within the crafts community in the 1970's when I first met them through the PEI Crafts Council. These pieces show the use of found objects from nature to make impressions in the clay surface. An obituary for Sandy from 2003 tells of their retirement life together.

"Bodine and Sandy enjoyed many happy retirement years in Keppoch, PEI, where they both kept busy with hobbies and volunteer community work. Sandy developed an interest in silversmithing and became a skillful and artistic jeweller. He was pleased to accept a position as Chairman of the Board of the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown. After his wife's death in 1986, Sandy moved to Victoria, BC where he continued to enjoy his hobby of silversmithing well past his 90th year." Full obituary.


Unsigned but believed to be the work of  Bodine (Forder) MacDonald of Keppoch Kraft.
Keppoch, Prince Edward Island
1970's - size 3 inch in diameter

Reverse of item above
Unsigned but believed to be the work of  Bodine (Forder) MacDonald of Keppoch Kraft.
Keppoch, Prince Edward Island
1970's - size 3 inch in diameter

Ceramic tile by Bodine (Forder) MacDonald of Keppoch Kraft.
Keppoch, Prince Edward Island
1970's - size 3 inch in diameter
Reverse of above tile by Bodine (Forder) MacDonald of Keppoch Kraft.
Keppoch, Prince Edward Island
1970's - size 3 inch in diameter



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Marilyn MacLean - P.E.I. Potters Cove

Marilyn is a student of Ron Arvidson who attended Holland College School of Visual Arts pottery program in 1982 and followed Ron to the P.E.I. Potters Studio in Victoria Park where both have taught over the years. Her business operates under the name PEI Potter's Cove.


An article on Marilyn's work was published in The Guardian in 2018.

Thirty year passion for pottery turns into side business for P.E.I. artist
Mitch MacDonald (mitchell.macdonald@theguardian.pe.ca) 
Published: Feb 19, 2018
Marilyn MacLean, of P.E.I. Potters Cove, shows some of her work during a craft fair at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. MacLean, who has 35 years of experience making pottery, has seen the demand for her product grow rapidly since creating a home studio last year. MacLean plans to sell her products at local craft shops, the Colonel Gray craft fair and Farm Day in the City before she makes it a full-time job in her retirement. MITCH MACDONALD/THE GUARDIAN

Marilyn MacLean’s successful pottery business appears to be fate.
MacLean, who has nearly 35 years of experience making pottery, has seen the demand for her product grow rapidly since starting her side business P.E.I. Potter’s Cove about a year ago from her Clyde River Home.
The name has an interesting story behind it, said MacLean.
According to the community’s website, a previous MacLean family that lived in the area in the 1850s had a property boundary marked by a cove named “Potter’s Cove” because of the brick kiln that was once located there.
I thought it was fate, it was like it was meant to be,” said MacLean, whose business previously went by “pottery by Marilyn MacLean”. “I’ve had a passion for pottery for over 30 years and finally I realized my dream of having a home studio.”
MacLean said she fell in love with pottery by accident after applying for Holland College’s graphic design course. 
However, the course was filled and MacLean didn’t want to put her education on hold for a year.
“I thought I’d try another medium and pottery was in the course catalogue,” said MacLean. “The rest is history.”
MacLean later worked at The Dunes before taking business at Holland College.
She has worked at Bell Aliant, formerly Island Tel, for the last 25 years, but has never stopped creating pottery.
Once the college closed its fine arts program almost 20 years ago, several former students formed the P.E.I. Potters Studio Co-op in Victoria Park and MacLean was invited to be an instructor.
MacLean is still one of the co-op’s three instructors and teaches both adults and children pottery.
However, last spring saw MacLean realize her dream of making her own home pottery studio.
Starting with a few items for sale, MacLean’s products were in New London’s Village Pottery all last summer.
While she has had orders from as far away as Oregon and British Columbia, MacLean has seen much of her sales come from other local craft shops as well as through individuals at craft fairs and Farm Day in the City.
With somewhat of an overwhelming demand for her products, MacLean said she hopes to keep her production on a lower scale until turning it into a new full-time job once she retires.
“I’ll do my best to make everybody happy and enjoy the success and I’d imagine it will just get better,” she said.

MacLean said she feels her involvement in pottery was fate and noted that she is a “medical miracle.”

When MacLean was born, she spent two years in the hospital while on oxygen, which resulted the loss of sight in one eye.
“It’s odd that life is just, it’s so special and I don’t take it for granted,” said MacLean. “That’s my purpose in life, to spread the love and passion of pottery.”
More information on MacLean’s work is available through the P.E.I. Potters Cove Facebook page.
Mitchell.macdonald@theguardian.pe.ca
Twitter.com/Mitch_PEI


Marilyn MacLean's pottery is sold through Village Pottery in New London, PEI.

Pottery by Marilyn MacLean


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Martha Carver Pottery

Active in the 1970's and 1980's Martha Carver sold her pottery at craft fairs organized by the Prince Edward Island Crafts Council.

This example of her work, a tiny potpourri jar was unsigned but indicates the reddish clay body and glaze technique she used.

Any additional information on the work of Martha Carver would be appreciated.



Patricia Richardson - Patsy Pots, Charlottetown

Patricia Richardson operated her studio under the name Patsy Pots, working out of her home workshop on Queen Elizabeth Drive in Charlottetown in the 1980's.

In retirement she has devoted more time to painting and continues to enjoy summers visits on the Island along with her husband Tom Richardson, while maintaining their main home in Nova Scotia.

Her work was in a white stoneware and used a number of different bright coloured glazed. She signed her work Patsy Pots PEI



Arden Howard Pottery

Arden Howard established her pottery on PEI in the 1980's and benefited from a time when Holland College School of Visual Arts was providing pottery training at that time.

Arden and her husband Bill Howard relocated to Alberta where she continued her pottery work.

While on PEI her work was signed Arden as well including PEI.

Daphne & Ian Scott Family Collection


Daphne & Ian Scott Family Collection

Daphne & Ian Scott Family Collection

Ramsay Pottery, Summerside, PEI

Charlotte Ramsay operated Ramsay Pottery in Summerside, PEI during the early 1970's. She also operated an antique shop along with her husband Lorne. Her pottery, made of red clay, used underglaze techniques where oxides were used for decorative purposes with a clear glaze over the top to produce a shiny red clay surface and black figures and illustrations showing through the glaze. The location of  Ramsay Pottery and antique business was the historic MacLennan-Hunt house.

The work was signed with the Ramsay Pottery mark on the bottom along with the location Summerside P.E.I. - on some pieces the year is also included. Charlotte was also a weaver and studied at Holland College School of Visual Arts.

Charlotte M. Ramsay died in 2010 at the age of 89, according to her obituary.

Research is ongoing on this work and any assistance is appreciated.






Courtesy of Blue House Antiques & Collectibles, 22 Brackley Point Road, Charlottetown - 2016

Crystal Stevens - Redrocks Pottery - Summerside, PEI

An excellent article published by The Guardian on August 13, 2018 tell the story of how Crystal of Redrocks Pottery became an Island potter,...