It was a really rainy morning last Wednesday. Some of the Raiders complained of hydroplaning on the Barnet Highway, there was so much rain. All good for the garden.
Mina Totino, Philippe Raphanel, Michelle Normoyle, Tamara Mills, Kate Metten and new Raider Mitch Kenworthy were my visitors for the day. Eric was missed. Seventeen plates were painted! It’s lovely to watch the concentration that sets in quite quickly. Each artist has an idea ahead of time usually, and sometimes that gets modified by the shape of a particular plate. Newbie Mitch admitted to feeling rather strange dealing with a curved oval platter. He missed the corners of a canvas.
The crew were able to leave their work for lunch. Mina created a colourful salad and served it on one of her flamboyant big round platters, Michelle and Mitch brought home-made salads, one with orzo and the other with cous-cous. Kate had made a spinach and feta quiche the night before and Philippe had baked an exotic crustless flan with apricots. We were obliged to have dessert after our lunch because Tamara had baked a blueberry loaf with lemon drizzle for tea-time!
Tea-time. The new tea-pot worked very well.
I took a photo of their work after they’d all driven home to Vancouver, and now, two days later the plates have been bisque fired for a second time. Philippe likes to apply underglazes, then wax resist and then layer another coat of a semi-covering white underglaze. It gives a surprising and impressive effect but it means that I need to burn off that wax before I can apply glaze. So I decided to re-bisque all the work, including one sent out with the group, by Elizabeth Mackintosh. Sealing the underglaze before glazing is a good thing. If they’re cool enough to work on tomorrow I’ll start glazing.
painted plates drying overnight
What did I do while they worked? I wasn’t ready to fish out my red earthenware clay after the excitement of the salt firing so I took the quiet time to make notes of what had happened with the flashing slips, liner glazes and salt on my new pieces.
For those who are wondering what salt fired pots look like, here are my sixteen examples. Jackie’s kiln and ten pounds of salt have resulted in consistent orange peel all around these pieces. There is a difference between salt and soda firings and I am pleased to have some more salty pieces for my record. Soda firings produce orange peel too but in those firings I find that potters make their work and apply flashing slips with a view to exploiting the variability of the effects. Most pieces will have some or lots of orange peel but the smoother areas may retain luscious colour, depending on the flashing slip recipe.
Seven cup teapot
blue jugbird with gold bill
When I make and spray pots for my next soda firing I shall take ideas from this salt firing and adjust my decorating ideas. As my brother would say ‘all grist for the mill’.
six cup teapot
The big tea-pot holds seven cups. It was just what I was wanting for when I serve tea to my Raiders .. next blog.
The next one holds six cups.
yellow jugbird with brown bill
lidded wiggle wire jar
Enjoy looking at all of them. Except for the terra sig/rutile slip on two bird beaks and a terra sig/green stain on the third, all the work was sprayed with Jackie Frioud’s spraying slips. She has dark blue, red, orange and yellow. I’ve made notes of all and am comparing the colours with some I have from my time at Medalta and with some that Shadbolt offer.
Beastly Bird Rhyton
tumbler & yunomi
Green still seems to be elusive – so if anyone can advise me on exactly what Jane Hamlyn does to get her green swooshes please tell me. I’ve tried a spray of titanium dioxide.. nothing. rutile, yellow slip, green slip. Jackie has a yellow slip but it did nothing over blue. It is actually more glaze-like than a slip.. see the taller jugbird. I really like the contrast between the beak texture and the body. That jugbird found a home yesterday.
By 8am on the Tuesday, just over a week ago, we five were taking out the inner brick door of the kiln. Nancy and Gordon joined us to watch and later Jan and Ron, the local wood-firing potters, came to see our results too.
first peek as we started to remove the door bricks
We were pleased with the orange peel and colours overall but I expect we reserved real study until after we each got home. Very quickly the pieces were lifted out, from both front and back, and set on the long table. There was some time to consider other people’s ideas, shapes and colours, but amazingly we were on our way to the first ferry by about 11 am.
Just as we do at the Shadbolt soda firings, we donned masks and gloves and speedily tackled the scraping of shelves. Kiln wash was applied to them and to door bricks and left to dry. Jackie was making fresh cone packs for her next firing while we packed up all our goodies. Jackie took Helen’s pieces back to West Vancouver for her.
Packing our belongings and clearing out the kitchen was done efficiently and all that was left to do was say our farewells.
kiln dog Abby
Thank you Jackie for including me in this, your ninth firing of this kiln. You know I’ve been hoping to have some more pieces fired solely in salt for a while, and I shall treasure these pots. Most are intended just for me, or for gifts – although some may find their way to Circle Craft one day soon. Today I checked my notes and have learned more about which of your sprayed slips produce which colour. Coincidentally I heard from Fredi at Shadbolt that I can register for a soda firing in November so I will now have a number of new ideas to try out in that kiln, with soda. I did enjoy the workshop, noting Jackie’s meticulous process in preparing work, kiln loading and the firing, as well as the throwing demonstrations. The required waiting time for the kiln to cool was not a hardship in such a beautiful setting. I feel as if I have had a great getaway, fine food, really comfortable accommodation, plus we fired a salt kiln. Sounds like the perfect holiday!
Thank you also to Tidal Art Centre founder and owner Nancy Jeakins and her husband Gordon. I did enjoy getting to know you, and really am awed by the beautiful art centre you have created. I hope I shall have an excuse to find it again one day, to see a show in the gallery or check out the evolution of the clay facilities.
My drive home was fine. I only stopped in at Sliammon village to see the canoes lined up for races, found a store selling locally made clothing in the ‘townsite’ market by Powell River mill and met the other potters at each of the ferry line-ups.
It’s been a busy week here in Port Moody, which included the bisque firing of a dozen plates, and today six ‘Raiders’ were here all day to paint said plates. Some will need to be glaze-fired asap to be included in our upcoming show on Bowen Island in August.
Tomorrow I’ll try to find time to post good photos of all my sixteen salty pieces. Glad Al took them as I have allowed one to go to its new home in Strathcona this afternoon!
Our last full day in Lund had nothing scheduled so we took advantage of the sunshine. The active folk took the water taxi over to Savary Island for a long walk, Elizabeth continued her search for driftwood and I had a serious plan to find a beach to read my Kate Morton novel. Jackie put a handle on her teapot and recycled most of her demo pieces before she left for a meeting in Refuge Cove for the day.
Jackie’s teapot now has a handle
TAC print-making studio
After some clearing up, and a peek into the kiln with a flashlight I opted to have lunch at the Boardwalk cafe in Lund. I chose a children’s portion of sturgeon and chips. It was my first taste of same and it was delicious. All locally caught I’m told.
Lund from Boardwalk Cafe
I drove south to the village of Sliammon for the nearest gas station so that I had a full tank for tomorrow’s drive home. Just south of there I found Gibson’s Beach and I settled there, on a log, to admire the ocean and read. Later I stopped on Klahanie Drive to see Sliammon Welcome Figures and other poles beside the smart new Government building.
poles by Government building
Sliammon Welcome Figures
Gibson’s Beach (not in Gibsons but north of Powell River)
We cleaned out the kitchen for supper, with a Carol-made frittata to use up lots of eggs and Elizabeth brought ice cream to go with fruit various.
I drove in to Lund to collect Jackie and her daughter, brought back by boat from Redondo Island by her son and his friend.
Lund harbour. The moving boat holds Jackie and her kids
The three tired ocean travellers suggested a swim to end the day. I drove them to Divers’ Rock and we scrambled down the slope in the fading light. What a spectacular sunset for our last evening in Lund! I took this photo while the others swam. It’s now my screen-saver.
I thought I’d try to compress the two waiting days into one blog but what’s the point of taking photos if no-one sees them? On the Sunday the more energetic members of our group took off for a major hike, Elizabeth headed south to a beach to look for suitable driftwood for garden furniture fabrication. Me, I opted to drive the short distance across the peninsula to find Okeover Arm. Al and I were last there aeons ago, camping in our van after being taken by boat out to Desolation Sound and back for supper with off-the-grid friends. On this visit I found said campground and admired the misty view. On the public dock nearby I watched amazed as a huge school of tiny baby salmon (were they, Don?) was being raided by marauding harbour seals.
For lunch I treated myself to a bowl of seafood bisque and good bread at the famous Laughing Oyster restaurant. I gather the best idea is to go there for seafood buffet supper on Wednesdays.
At the high point between east and west of the peninsula I found an entrance to the Sunshine Coast Trail. It meanders all along the coast from Gibsons to just north of Lund. All alone, mindful of bears! I contentedly wandered as far as I felt was a good idea. How exciting to find several ‘Ghost Pipe plants’. So peaceful!
Ghost Pipe plants
Back at Tidal Art Centre Jackie worked on the final assembly of her thrown pieces, rasping edges, fitting lids and inserting kanthal wire for handles.
Jackie’s demo pieces
Artist Prashant Miranda was an artist-in-residence here for the last little while, his stay culminating with a show in the gallery. Unable to leave this idyllic place he seized the opportunity to stay a last weekend in a nearby spot and he invited Nancy and Gordon, and we potters to bring a drink and see Coyote Cove. Oh my, can you fall in love with a location? The house is built on rocks, above the tide line, surrounded by arbutus trees, with eagles flying overhead, rusted metal coyote sculptures roaming the undergrowth, and a house filled with art. Prash was encouraged to play his guitar and sing to us while we perused his illustrated journal of his time in Lund.
framed poster for Prashant Miranda’s recent show at TAC
Wayne Ngan pot
The sunny evening ended with all of us deciding that there was enough food in the fridge and garden for another feast back at TAC.
I left Madeira Park around 9am for the wiggly half-hour drive to Earl’s Cove and was in good time for the 10.35am ferry to Saltery Bay, a fifty minute run. With only a brief stop at a viewpoint just south of Powell River it took just over an hour to arrive at the end of the road in Lund. The sign says it all.
Actually Finn Bay, the home of Tidal Art Centre, is a few minutes further north on a minor road. After that the roads are gravel. Parking is a problem in the hamlet of Lund as any further travel is by water taxi, to nearby Savary Island and to Redondo, Cortez and other islands further north.
Transforming a dilapidated Forestry station into a fabulous, best quality Arts Centre has been a project of its owner Nancy Jeakins for some twenty years. With the help of highly skilled woodworkers, concrete formers, metal workers and a gardener Nancy has now begun to inhabit her dream art space with visiting artists, workshops and a gallery. She invited her friend, well-known salt potter Jackie Frioud, to build her own salt kiln as the first kiln in a renovated and fire-proofed garage/kiln shed. It is Jackie’s personal kiln and is not huge, so we five people who registered for her workshop are very privileged to have had the chance to have some work fired in her well-controlled salt kiln, in its 9th firing. I believe there are plans to install a gas kiln and some electric kilns along with a group of wheels. So there will be further workshops in the spanking-new ceramic room in the future.
back shelves filled
front shelves filled. Everything was fitted in!
When I arrived Jackie had the kiln all ready to be filled, with the shelves kiln-washed and cone packs and draw rings dry. I was shortly joined by Carol Demers, Anthea Cameron and Elizabeth Claridge, all of whom work out of Eagle Harbour Community Centre ceramics department and have known Jackie for years. Missing was Helen Weiser who was, sadly, unable to join us but Jackie had brought her pots along. We had all had our pots sprayed with Jackie’s flashing slips at her Mergatroid building studio in Vancouver and she’d bisque-fired them. I had brought mine back home to apply liner Shino glaze and brought the sixteen pots up the highway with me.
Jackie and her loaded kiln
l to r. Anthea, Jackie, Elizabeth & Carol
We quickly unpacked our pieces, arranging them according to height, and in no time we had loaded everything into the kiln and were ready for a cuppa. Made with my loose-leaf English breakfast tea in one of Jackie’s large salty tea-pots it was time to get to know each other and admire the incredible facilities in the main building. There’s a well-equipped kitchen, large eating/meeting area, lounge, big print-making studio, bathrooms and MY bedroom! That’s upstairs. The lower level houses offices, the clay room and a gallery. A tower structure houses an elevator so Nancy has considered everybody’s convenience for future workshop participants. Rose cottage next door has single bedrooms and is where the others stayed. All this is set on a little plateau well above the tide line but with a splendid view of Finn Bay. While we drank tea a sudden, fierce and loud storm passed over but we were cosy.
fabulous Gordon Smith painting in the big room
After bricking up the kiln with two layers of bricks and Jackie testing the burners (four) we withdrew to the main building again for welcoming ‘negronis’ made by Anthea and the first of potluck suppers. Jackie had brought a home-made lasagne, so with meatloaf contributed by Nancy’s husband Gordon and salad, wine or cider and fruit our four days were set to begin.
Finn Bay with a visitor’s donated sculpture
Next blog will show photos of the firing and some of Jackie’s wheel-throwing demonstrations.
When long-time potter friend June MacDonald heard that I needed to be in Lund by noon on Friday July 5th she suggested I head out on the Thursday and spend the night at their rural home in Madeira Park. So that was my destination on the first day of my big salt-firing adventure!
I left Port Moody early and was able to get on the 9.50am ferry for the 40 minute ride from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. In no particular hurry, I enjoyed stopping for whatever took my fancy. First stop was in downtown Gibsons where I parked behind the Gibsons Public Art Gallery. Inside I enjoyed a show of 1950s photos of Canadian Indigenous people (now ended) and the gift shop. Yes, Georgina Brandon, I was amused by and bought some of your cards!
In Roberts Creek the mandala hasn’t been repainted yet so was merely the scuffed version of the one Al and I saw last year. A stroll on the ‘pier’ reminded me of how much ‘I do like to be beside the seaside..’
Roberts Creek beach
Finding the Sechelt Community Arts Council Gallery was a challenge. It’s off the main highway and is a custom-built log structure. Inside was a fine show of work by local artist Bill Wilkinson, due to open on Saturday, of painted 2D forms, looking as if they are folded boxes. I was pleased to see them and noticed how well they fit in to the unusual building. Here are several photos of his pieces. ‘Evolution of a Series’ runs until August 4th.
On then, I took Redrooffs Road, instead of the main road and found the country getaway belonging to Allyson Clay and Greg Bellerby. Sally has been one of the regular Raiders, joining us very recently, and Greg came one time. We chatted about Greg’s writing and he showed me a copy of his recently published book about an Arthur Erickson house in West Vancouver. This March 2019 review in the Globe and Mail gives an excellent explanation of Ericksen’s design and the context of the 1980s building.
When he told me about his next project, a possible show of work by members of ‘Slug Pottery’ which was based in Roberts Creek in the seventies, he took a lovely bowl out of their kitchen cabinet and told me that he’d bought it from Mick Henry back then. Nice salt bowl! The S is for Slug Pottery.
Greg with his Mick Henry bowl
and Sally with the bowl
By late afternoon I’d found June and Don’s home in Madeira Park, and relaxed with a cuppa on their deck which overlooks a little tidal inlet. We watched kingfishers and other birds in this delightful setting. Thank you MacDonalds for a little drive around that part of Pender Harbour, a tour of your studio, a comfortable evening and a fine meal. Next morning saw me heading north to catch another ferry.
When I left for Lund, BC, a week ago I had a large group of photos on my desktop awaiting their insertion in a blog about my visit to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. So, although I’d rather be telling all about the fabulous salt-firing workshop with Jackie Frioud at Tidal Arts Centre, I would like to keep things chronological.
I was impressed to find a show of pots at AGGV. As you’ll see in the text accompanying this show the gallery had hosted a major show, ‘Back to the Land: Ceramics from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands 1970-1985’ in 2012. This generated the donation of many more pots and the current show features ones that have been acquired since then. Most are from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands again, with a few from other parts of Canada.
As usual I felt the need to take photos of most of the pots so I’ll just post them here so that you can get an idea of the gallery’s collection. It’s fun to see work by well-known potters, made at different stages in their careers. Who’d have recognized Greg Payce’s bowl? Alexandra McCurdy’s work from Nova Scotia is so different in colour and firing range from most of the Western pots.
Mas Funo, Byron Johnstad
Ed Drahanchuk, Glenn Lewis
Bertha Martin, Adrian Saxe
Enjoy your ramble through this selection of Victoria’s pots, see if you can guess who made what. The pieces are labelled with names from left to right.
John Chalke, Bertha Martin, Cheri Sydor
Frances Morris, Kjeld & Erica Deichmann
Terry Ryals, Peter Powning
Now that I’m home again, first from this little trip to Victoria and now, this week, from Lund, I have already bisque-fired some more plates for a planned ‘Raid’ next week and tomorrow we plan to take photos of the 16 new salty pots.
Very soon I will try to find time to assemble an account of loading and firing the salt kiln and add photos of the beautiful scenery around the end of Highway 101.
Alan needed to consult and socialize with archaeology colleagues in Victoria last week so we opted to take the ferry over there for two nights and stay with friends Denis and Kim.
While Al was at the University of Victoria, recently-retired Kim offered to be my chauffeur for the morning. We drove first to Oak Bay Avenue so that I could deliver a new selection of earthenware pots to Eclectic Gallery.
There were some jugbirds left after the Shuffle and the owner asked for yunomis, bowls and plates as well. The photos show what I took in. Astonishingly, when Al and I dropped by to meet Chris the next day, most were carefully placed around the gallery alongside complementary pieces, and more fun, FOUR had sold in 24 hours!
Kim and I gallery-hopped along the avenue, finding lunch in an Italian deli next door to Winchester Gallery. Outside there was a delightful and enormous Joe Fafard Rooster and inside I stole a photo of this fine Fafard Moose and his shadow. There were jars of ceramic pickles by Vic Cicansky, elegant forms by Mary Fox and much more. On the way down the back staircase I found these colour woodcuts by WJ Hughes. We are always enchanted by his work.
Walter J Phillips Siwash House Posts 1928 colour woodcut
Walter J Phillips Totems, Alert Bay 1936 colour woodcut
After leaving Oak Bay Avenue Kim and I drove to the nearby Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, along leafy streets of elegant homes. My next blog will show photos of pots, yes, pots in a municipal art gallery!
Since we came home I’ve had to turn around and prepare for my next adventures. First I needed to get some more slab plates made so that they can be drying and perhaps bisqued very soon for a hoped-for Raid in mid-July.
Then I wanted to get some more Shino glaze mixed up as a liner glaze for my upcoming salt firing workshop in Lund. Tomorrow I’ll pick up my bisqued stoneware pots from Jackie’s studio in Mergatroid building, bring them home to be liner-glazed and carefully packed. On Thursday I’ll take an early ferry to the Sunshine Coast, stay in Madeira Park, then take another morning ferry further north to join the others in Lund to get that salt kiln packed.
This was Canada Day weekend. I hope you all had a fine holiday!
It’s almost the end of June and a month since we had family visitors here in the Lower Mainland. It was a busy time and I was happy to postpone some of my everyday activities like making plates, firing the kiln and gardening in favour of spending time with folks who made the effort to travel from afar to see us. So, unlike my usual habit of showing photos of and writing about things ceramic I have selected photos of our visitors (with their permission), just so that you, my ‘followers’ can know that Alan and I do more than work in his study/my studio. It’s also a way of letting other potential family visitors and friends know what a great outdoor holiday you can have here.
McMillans & Taylors
First our Hamburg-dwelling nephew Robert, his wife Frieda and their almost one-year-old daughter had taken advantage of paternity leave to rent an RV in Seattle, camp all around the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, explore some of Vancouver Island and then ferry over to here. They parked said RV in the drive-way of our offspring in Pitt Meadows and enjoyed getting to know their cousins Steve and Jen and the three little boys. On one day they took skytrain into Vancouver, rented bikes and rode all around Vancouver with babe along too. Another day saw the two families enjoying Rocky Point Park and the micro-breweries (I said they are from Germany, right?) before a farewell visit to the old uncle and aunt nearby. In these two photos you’ll see Robert and his family and our two sons.
Just a few days later niece Tasha and her husband Gerald and their daughter Gabriella flew in from Austin, Texas for four days. Their days were packed with exploring and spending time with their cousins. It was wonderful! Mostly I’ll let the photos tell the story, but the weather cooperated and they took the chance to enjoy the gentler weather than they have back at home.
We took the trio down to Rocky Point for ice cream, a stroll on the pier and a sample at Moody Ales before a barbecue in our backyard.
Next day we encouraged them to take our car up to Grouse Mountain. Gerald’s research on google had suggested the Grouse Grind.. and they did it! We thought it would be a great chance to see the view of Vancouver, but that day was misty so they saw the rescued grizzly bear instead. They found Chinese food for lunch on Robson street.
That afternoon we were all invited to join the Pitt Meadows family for a swim in their pool and a barbecue. My birthday was coming up so we enjoyed the first of my cakes!
with the other 2 grandsons
with one grandson and son
McMillans, Oettingers & student Andrea
A trip in to Vancouver itself was arranged for the next day, Al’s and my 49th Wedding Anniversary. We chose to visit Queen Elizabeth Park and the Conservatory there. The tropical birds are fun, and the rhodos and dogwoods were at their best.
Oettingers & seventies sculpture
Queen Elizabeth Park
Then Granville Island beckoned.
Tasha & Henry Moore sculpture
We walked around the island, I spotted that extraordinary Vancouver building, I showed them Circle Craft and my pots there and we wound up having a fine dinner at the Sandbar. Our other son Mike joined us. The evening ended with a walk on Kits Beach. What a beautiful city this is.
Family on Granville Island
For their last day we arranged to meet the Pitt Meadows family again, this time in Belcarra Park, 15 mins from here. There are wild trails to explore, a rocky beach where turning over rocks reveals crabs and starfish, a pier to watch crabs being trapped and lots of shady tables for a picnic lunch. Some of the group even jumped into Indian Arm!
Gabi & her cousins & Jen on the Admiralty Point trail
On June 1st, which just happened to be my birthday, we had to take Tasha, Gerald and Gabi to the airport and say good-bye. But there was one more treat for me. Son Mike and his friend Robin met us for a late lunch after Robin had finished playing trombone in the Impressions jazz band on Burnaby’s Hat day on Hastings street. We found Brown’s Social House on Lougheed Hwy was a perfect spot on a hot day.. and I was surprised with another treat to share.
In my next blogs I’ll get back to recording all sorts of upcoming or past clay events but I did want to share some of that busy and happy time with you.