By Lory MacDonald
I have a confession to make. I am a pottery fanatic, and have been for many years. My home is filled with beautiful pieces I have collected in a variety of styles over my 35 years as a craft show attendee. Having also exhibited in hundreds of shows as an artist, I’m fortunate to have traded for much of this eclectic mix. The colour blue is one of my favourites - it matches my kitchen - but I have to admit that I own every colour in the rainbow. After all these years, my addiction is still alive and well. And, now that I am a craft show organizer, I get to peruse the work of all of the pottery artists instead of racing by to use the washrooms and then scurrying back to my own booth.
I am particularly attracted to bowls and mugs…and small little dishes, and plates of course, because they’re so functional as well being beautiful. Which brings me to the real story here, which is the wonderful selection available at Artfest Port Credit.
I have been admiring Cris Cacioppo’s serving platters for a while now. He makes that beautiful cobalt blue colour that I particularly love. Baily-Brown Pottery, from the Kingston area, offers large casserole dishes, festive wine goblets and more.
New this year to Artfest and from Port Credit, is Gillian Sych of Piatti with gorgeous decorative pieces that would suit any contemporary décor. She has three themes to choose from: colourful fruits and veggie designs; hand carved black and white designs; and her new passion, taking inspiration from nature, is an all white ‘bird’s nest’ style.
I love hearing about what makes each ceramic artist’s work distinctive. For Deb Chandler it’s the surface decoration that makes it really special. Deb decorates her pieces when the clay is at the leather-hard stage (with a consistency like firm cheese). Sometimes she carves into the clay with metal hand tools, sometimes she using slip-trailing, a process in which watered-down clay is piped like icing through a nozzle to create surface relief, and sometimes she impresses the clay with beautiful objects. By adding that element of surface texture, the pieces are wonderful to touch and to hold, enhancing the experience of using handmade pieces.
Whatever styles attract you most, there is a wonderful variety of ceramic art at Artfest Port Credit where you are sure to find the perfect piece for your home. Or if you are like me, you will likely find several. Good luck with the hunt!
For more stories about our artists check out our Artfest Port Credit Magazine. You can download it here, or pick up a copy at local libraries, cafes, art stores or galleries.