Monday, October 22, 2007

P.E.I. Potters Studio Co-op celebrates 10 years of clay creations

Passion for pottery
P.E.I. Potters Studio Co-op celebrates 10 years of clay creations

The Guardian October 18, 2007

The wheel just keeps on spinning for part-time potter Philip Hermann of Charlottetown.

Seven years have passed since this computer tech guy tossed his first lump of the clay onto a potter’s wheel at a Prince Edward Island Potters Studio class and he’s still turning out new pottery possibilities.

“I love it. It’s really therapeutic,” says Hermann.

“I do a lot of stuff on (the potter’s wheel) and when you’re throwing you have to focus completely on what’s in front of you. If anything else is in (your head) then your pot is not going to work because you have to keep your attention on it all the time.”

Ten years of time have passed since the P.E.I. Potters Studio Co-operative first met.

The closure of Holland College School of Visual Arts in the mid-1900s was the harbinger for this pottery co-op’s creation.

“Those of us who started the studio were all Holland College students at one time. Some were full pottery students, some were night pottery students doing hobby pottery,” says potters’ co-operative president Judy Cheverie.

“It was born from necessity and pleasure because we all liked pottery.”

Whether for a profession or pastime, it was the fun of clay creation as well as the social aspect and cost-sharing nature of a co-op that got things going in 1995, with the late Rosemary Faulkner then at the helm.

“You have to have a wheel, you have to have a kiln. It’s such a big, big process,” Cheverie says.

The co-operative became official in 1997. For the first two years they were located on King Street until Faulkner found the location of all locations, a cozy building smack dab in the centre of Victoria Park in Charlottetown.

“This the best spot in the world, this pottery studio,” Cheverie says with a smile.

“You look out the window and see the sailboats going up and down the harbour.

“You put your (pottery) out to dry on the front step and run down to the Kiwanis (Dairy Bar) and get an ice cream cone!”

The co-operative holds adult classes two nights a week and two children’s classes on Saturday. There have been some advanced classes with local pottery professionals sharing their skills.

“We’ve had kids coming since the studio started, and they still keep coming. They’ll soon be of an age to join (the co-op) as an adult if they choose to,” Cheverie says.

“The average professional potters on Prince Edward Island aren’t babies anymore. They’re getting ready to retire so anybody who may take that up as a business certainly will or can get a start here.”

Membership has grown from no more than to more than 20.

“And everybody (in the co-op) is still a hobby potter, although some people have grown to the level of being very good potters.”

Some of them sell at the Farmer’s Market in Charlottetown, while others bank their work to sell at the Christmas craft fairs or at the potters’ co-operative’s annual fundraising sale.

“For me, it’s more the process of actually doing it. There’s stuff I keep and I give it away gifts for Christmas (and such),” Hermann says.

“I do it anyway, the goal for me isn’t to end up with something. That’s a bonus.”

Come to a party. All past and present members and students of the P.E.I. Potters Studio Co-operative are invited to a 10th anniversary party on Oct. 27, starting at 9 a.m., at Wintermoor Orchard in York.

There will be a raku pottery workshop using a low fire outdoor homemade kiln. There will also be a potluck meal for this all-day event.

The public is welcome to drop by to observe how raku is done.

P.E.I. Potters Studio adult classes are on Monday and Thursday evenings. The children’s classes are on Saturdays in the morning and afternoon.

For more information, call Barb MacDonald at 368-3268 or Judy Cheverie at 892-9064.


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