In the Beginning…

I started fiddling around with pottery in the summer of 2006, shortly after getting a job at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador’s retail shop. The Craft Council is located in a big old Victorian house in downtown St. John’s, in which you’ll find offices, a gallery, the shop, and a clay studio. I found out that you could get free studio time by volunteering as an Open Studio supervisor, and decided to dive in. I’ve always been fascinated with how things are made, and have dabbled in as many kinds of art and craft as I have managed to get materials and time for. The chance to use a fully-equipped studio for the cost of some clay sounded too good to pass up.

I spent the first little while poring over the books and magazines in the reference library down there, and finally tried my hand at the wheel. The results were wobbly and uneven, and several collapsed in on themselves before I was finished, but I had a great time and kept at it. After reading a lot more, and occasionally pestering the more experienced (but very helpful) potters around me with questions, I started to get good enough not to feel embarassed about showing people my work.

Last spring, I started getting products juried and started selling pendants through the Craft Council shop. Over the summer, I expanded into small sheep figurines, and two lines of dinnerware. I held booths at Fresh Fish[1] and at the Folk Festival[2]. Just a few days ago, I went to my first Real Grown Up and Professional-Like Craft Fair, where I had a blast, and made enough money that I decided to try and stick it out for the long term. I don’t know whether I’ll end up a wildly succesful artist, or if I’ll just have to settle for a self-supporting hobby that distracts me from my boring job. We’ll see.

[1] A fair meant to showcase local craft by under-thirty producers. I made a small profit, and felt very much encouraged.

[2] Wildly unsuccesful. And damp. And cold. And muddy. And did I mention the damp?

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