Who am I?
I’m a potter, living in a clearing in the woods, surrounded by native plant and fern gardens, supervised by a tetchidy cat, about to become the (happy) slave of another in a long line of Border Collies…no, seriously, I really am a potter and I really am living my dream in the woods!
The story started a long time ago in the Netherlands where I was born to parents who liked a new country every year. Apparently, as they often told me, I was always the family member who didn’t want to move! When I was very small, maybe 3 or 4 years old, I decided to cover all the sidewalks in Paris (France, not Ontario) with chalk drawings. When I was about 7 years old, we arrived in Kingston Ontario. After a few years living there, and with the addition of a second and much younger brother, we made our way to Northern Ontario. Getting out of the car at our new location, I wandered away into a stand of tall pines and thought ‘they have finally done something right’.
I’ve loved the North woods ever since.
As a teenager, drawing and painting was briefly pushed aside by a sudden interest in Mathematics and Men. A stint at Queen’s University led to Marriage, and soon, a lovely daughter. By this time, I had learned that all the dangerous things in life start with the letter ‘M’. The Mathematics fell by the wayside, the Marriage lasted 50 years until this past summer, and my daughter really is a wonderful daughter.
Gardening was added to the mix sometime in the Marriage, probably because I needed something to connect me to the woods I was secretly longing for. I also discovered that drawing flowers was too slow, photography was much quicker, and hey, I could do all sorts of other stuff with this new toy… Courses in photography followed. A move to Toronto followed (187 rose bushes), then a move to Calgary. Gardening in Calgary is not impossible, just highly unlikely. When it comes to Calgary, Banff is nice. When my high-tech job was down-scaled due to the economic recession brought on by the National Energy Plan, I enrolled at the University of Calgary and worked towards a Fine Arts degree.
One of my courses at the U of C was pottery. I talked my way in by telling the prof that I had the department’s permission, and the department that I had the prof’s permission. I had a grand time. Cooked pizza in the kiln, helped fire the huge gas kiln (flames 3 feet long shooting out, wow) and got a ‘C’ mark. I was horrified. A move back to Ottawa followed. My pottery prof told me to ‘Go. Make pots with integrity’.
I have been trying to do so ever since. His rather zen advice has stood me in good stead, helping me resolve more than one ethical question, and guiding me to a life of integrity in the pursuit of a very challenging artistic medium.
Thank you, Santos.
My inspirations? My garden, native plants, ferns. Other artists. People who like my pottery.
My favourite things? Too many to list, but top of the list are my garden, native plants, ferns, certain artists….
My dream? To go on like this for as long as possible. Oh, and a new puppy this Spring, please.