Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Sanaa" on Saturday

It's almost time for our annual open house sale.  This year we gave it a name, "Sanaa", which is Swahili for "art"--all kinds of art.  Janet, Peter and I have been exhibiting together for many years.   It's always fun to get together to see what sort of inspiration they've been drawing on for recent works.   We hope others enjoy seeing our various creations together in a cosy setting, as much as we do!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A bit of local publicity!

click on photo to enlarge

Our local neighbourhood newspaper did this nice article on Handmade Here.  I'll forgive them for getting the spelling of my name wrong!  Two gals are missing from the photo; the three of us are featured because we happen to live in the neighbourhood that the newspaper covers.  Nice group of women & a fun show!  As you can read, we plan to reconvene in the spring.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fisher Park Christmas Craft Show tomorrow!

Well, I'm all set up for what should be a busy day tomorrow at the Fisher Park Community Center Christmas Craft Show, held at Fisher Park/Summit School in their two gymnasiums.  Over 100 vendors, a great selection of food, art & craft, along with quite a few entrepreneurial kids selling things they've made to support worthy causes.  It's a fun community event!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Handmade Here is here!

I'm looking forward to spending Saturday with this talented group of ladies.  Kim, the silver jeweller, is once again hosting us in her lovely home.  Three of us live in the neighbourhood, with the other two close by.  So these unique gifts truly are handmade here!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ottawa Guild of Potters Fall Sale

Thursday, November 17 at 6 p.m. marks the beginning of this year's fall sale for the Ottawa Guild of Potters held at the Shenkman Arts Center in Orleans.  This year all of the potters will be displaying work in the bright lower level lobby.  It should be a great show.  I'm still firing my kilns but will have lots of colourful pots ready, including quite a few new designs this year.  I'll try to post a few photos in the coming days.  Details for the show are below.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thanksgiving Pottery Sale at Marlin Orchards, near Summerstown

Looking for a Thanksgiving outing?  Consider a trip to Summerstown, just east of Cornwall on Hwy 2, along the St. Lawrence River.  For many years now, potter Ann Marlin, of Marlin Orchards has hosted a pottery sale in the now empty greenhouses.  There are 18 of us there this year, many from the Cornwall/Seaway area, and others from Montreal, Ottawa, and areas in between.  Each year there are one or two new potters--always a great variety.

There are lots of pumpkins and colourful mums for sale this time of year.  And of course lots and lots of apples of many varieties.  Today I picked up some tulip bulbs too.

The sale begins Saturday, Oct 8 and runs through til Monday, Oct. 10.  I believe the hours are 10-5 each day.  More info at

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Richard Gill's Annual Fall Show Oct. 1-10

Richard Gill Fall Annual Show
See Us on Facebook
We look forward to seeing you,
Cheryl & Richard
Preview examples of Richard's work for the show here.

Preview examples of Richard's previous shows:
Slideshow 1
  Slideshow 2

Richard Gill sculpts amazing historical and contemporary clay relief images.  This year his annual fall show includes a series of images of the Ottawa Valley in recognition of Renfrew County's 150th Anniversary, and he has made a special series of works inspired by a Jamaican trip.  Bittersweet Gallery is in picturesque Burnstown, about an hour west of Ottawa.  More info is available at

Bittersweet Gallery is full of beautifully handcrafted works by over 40 world renowned artists who work in a variety of media.  I'm pleased to say that my pottery is now for sale at Bittersweet Gallery as well!

If you're looking for a charming destination for a fall colours tour, little Burnstown has lots to offer.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Summer in review (aka "Summer's over")

While I didn't spend as much time as I would have liked making pots this summer, I did sell alot of pots at craft fairs.  This year, the weather at these outdoor shows was stellar--helping to make it an enjoyable experience for artists and attendees alike.  Herbfest and the Bancroft sale were repeat performances for me and Strathcona Park was new.  A few images from each follow.

Herbfest in Almonte was a feast for all the senses.  Great food, nice music, fantastic variety of handcrafted goods  in  a relaxing environment (The Herb Garden and surrounding farm land) despite the crowds!
The Bancroft Art & Crafts guild puts on a smaller show the week-end of the Bancroft Gemboree, which brings thousands of folks to this mineral town in cottage country.  A two day event in Millenium Park.  The homemade baking on sale was a sweet bargain!

All these years in Ottawa, and I had to look up Strathcona Park on a map!  I'm usually on the bike path across the river when in this neighbourhood.  For a show in which vendors set up on a first come first serve basis, the flow of stalls alongside the meandering path works really well.  Kudos to the organizers who are raising funds for the Ottawa Mental Health Association.

Thanks to those of you who made it out to these sales.  I enjoyed being reacquainted with customers from years gone by, and making new acquaintances.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Midsummer Herbfest

NEW Camambert/Brie Bakers
 This Sunday, July 24 is the 16th Annual Ottawa Valley Midsummer Herbfest, a huge and popular festival "celebrating a healthy lifestyle".  Held on the grounds of the Herb Garden in Almonte (3840 Old Almonte Road) from 9:00 a.m. til 5:00 p.m. rain or shine. 

There will be chef cook-offs, demos, herb garden tours, henna tattoos, tea sampling, music/dance, meet the author, outdoor market (100 vendors), face painting, presentations, cheese samplings and more!  Herbfest has a great new website with lots of details about this year's three participating chefs, schedule of events throughout the day, a map, etc.  Check it out at or you can call them at 613-256-0228.

I'll be there once again with lots of pottery you can use in the kitchen or dining room--or in a special place where you can enjoy it all the time.  Sounds like the weather will be lovely for a day in the countryside.  Looking forward to meeting you there!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

NEW! My pottery is now available at The Tea Party Cafe

Somehow, after all these years in Ottawa, I had not yet discovered The Tea Party Cafe, 119 York St. (near Dalhousie).  I met the owner at Artsfest last month and he invited me to sell in his cafe.  As the name suggests, there is lots and lots of  tea available--over 100 varieties!  They also carry some fair trade coffee, lots of teapots, tea and coffee paraphanalia, and now a range of my pottery too.  They have a comfie looking cafe with a relaxed atmosphere where they serve lunches and of course tea/coffee and desserts.  You can check out their website at

Monday, June 6, 2011

"Handmade Here" Saturday, June 18

Hope you can join the four of us for the debut of "Handmade Here" in Westboro.  Kim, the silver jeweller, will be hosting in her lovely home at 516 Brierwood from 10 - 4PM.  Gail will be showing her unique felted bags, and Lise's richly coloured paintings will grace the walls.  I'll be there with my pottery, including some of the new textured & decorated pots, a variety of small pots that would make great teacher gifts, and perhaps that perfect mug for dad's Father's Day coffee!  Hope to see you in Westboro!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ArtsPark at Parkdale Market this Saturday!

Isn't this a great poster?  This will be my first time at ArtsPark.  Sounds like a great line-up of crafters and musicians.  The newly opened & refurbished park and market are worth a visit, too.  Check out the new Field House, a joint venture selling the produce from 10 area farms.  We're enjoying the fresh eggs we picked up there last week.  Hope to see you on Saturday at the local market!

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Oval Bakers

I'm loving those geometric stamps and using several glazes together on each piece.  These bakers are about 15" L x 10" W x 3.5" D

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ottawa Guild of Potters Spring Exhibition & Sale at new location!

Potters in the lobby of the Shenkman Arts Centre

My display in the Richcraft Theatre
The Shenkman Arts Center is the new venue for the Ottawa Guild of Potters sales.  Thanks to all of you who made it out to Orleans to enjoy the grand and spacious facility at Shenkman.  All in all, it was a good sale, and volunteers will be busy in the coming months to tweak areas that could be improved for the fall sale.  The majority of potters were in the Richcraft Theatre (otherwise known as the Black Box Theatre, for obvious reasons) with the rest in the lobby, alongside the juried Exhbition. 

My platter that was included in the Exhibition.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Plates for Ottawa Food Bank volunteers

Each year the Ottawa Guild of Potters holds a fund raiser for the Ottawa Food Bank, called "Great Bowls of Fire".  Potters donate soup bowls, Ottawa restaurants donate soups and bread and the big event takes place at the Glebe Community Center.  It's a popular event; all 500 or so tickets sell out within days.  This year over $14,000 was raised for the Food Bank.  You can read about it here:

This year the Ottawa Food Bank asked if some of the potters from the Guild would like to make plates that they will give to some of their volunteers at their annual Volunteer Appreciation Lunch.  Five potters were asked to make 50 plates.  They all have the phrase "may you never hunger, may you never thirst" written on them.  Here are a few of the plates I made.

On the back of each plate, the event is noted.
We all delivered our plates last week.  It was great to see the variety that were created!  Sarah at the Food Bank gave us a tour of their office and warehouse.  Very impressive work that they do.  You can read about them here

Here's one with a crystalline glaze by Deb Mcleod

Plates by Carrie Leavoy

Monday, April 18, 2011

Good Table Manners in Westboro!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the first Table Manners pottery show last week-end.  It was a relaxed, fun show for the potters, and we all heard plenty of positive comments from customers....lovely open space, decent lighting, nice size, great variety, yummy and inexpensive treats at the tea room, etc.  The photo doesn't really do it justice, but you get a sense of the space.

The hall has been booked for next year, so watch for Table Manners 2012.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Table Manners" a new west end Ottawa pottery show!

I'm very excited about this new pottery show in Westboro!  I will be one of 24 potters showing & selling new works on April 9 & 10 at the Churchill Seniors' Center, 345 Richmond Road (a few doors west of Churchill Ave., right beside the church).  The potters will have a tearoom on site as well, featuring home baking and fair trade teas and coffee which you can enjoy being served from the potters' own teapots and mugs.

It sounds like a good excuse to come out and enjoy spring in Westboro.  Remember, there is some parking available one block north of Richmond Rd. (accessed off Churchill) on Madison Ave.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Texture and slip-trail

I used to do alot of slip-trailing (a calligraphic-type "trailing" of coloured clay or "slip") and I miss it.  I've been thinking of ways to add decorative interest to platters.  Lots of ideas, including slip trailing, come to mind, so I've been trying some of them--thickening up the edges, adding texture by scratching into the surface, or by imprinting with stamps, spraying several overlapping glazes.....Here are a few results from the first kiln load.  I'm looking forward to developing these techniques.

Here are a few mugs with imprinted border patterns.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tony Clennell workshop

Tony making a teapot
Last week-end Tony Clennell, professor at Sheridan College in Toronto and owner, with his wife Sheila, of Sour Cherry Pottery in Beamsville, ON, came to Ottawa to present a two day workshop.  It's always a priviledge to see how other potters work, and to hear what inspires them.  Tony had lots to offer us in terms of his own insights, technical expertise and anecdotes, lots of anecdotes. 

Tony is comfortable throwing large, robust pots which are often constructed in several pieces.  He likes surface texture and at the workshop he decorated pots with impressions from wooden stamps.  He is also well known for his handles--  they seem fluid, luscious, spontaneous, and they are numerous.  There are lots of different ways to make handles but his love of the traditional "pulled" handle was evident. 

Applying texture with wooden stamp on casserole dish
Tony's many comments and observations on the state of pottery, and handcrafted items in general, have stayed with me this week.  I have recently felt, like him, that the last decade or more has seen a decline in the appreciation of well-crafted items, for a variety of reasons.  He noted that Sheridan is the only pottery degree granting institution in all of Canada!  So where do our craftspeople learn their craft?  And what kind of standards do they follow?  What sort of clay artists does this background breed?  We don't have a tradition of monitored apprenticeships as do some EU countries, nor do we have the numerous pottery schools, from teaching studios to graduate degree programs, as in the US.  We do have plenty of fine craftspeople; how do they survive and thrive? 
It's good to feel challenged in one's work and it's probably a good thing to have to struggle to do what you want to do--challenge and struggle can be good motivators.  So, too, are acceptance and recognition.  Hopefully there's a balance in there for the dedicated craftsperson.                  

One of those "juicy" handles

The workshop was inspiring.  I have been experimenting with texturing some of the pots I've been making this year, and am happy to add a few wooden stamps to my toolkit.  I had also returned to pulling handles after years of coiling them and I'm enjoying the look and feel of them.  Such workshops are a great opportunity to reflect on one's own work and I look forward to processing some of the ideas Tony's workshop presented in the weeks and months to come.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A new year....a new beginning

Thanks to everyone who made it out to one of the pre-Christmas shows, and especially to those who were able to make it to the open house.  Crowded as it was at times, Janet, Peter and I really enjoyed meeting you in what, hopefully, was an inviting atmosphere.  For those of you who couldn't make it at that busy time of the year and asked if I would consider having an open house in the spring or fall.....yes, I'm definitely considering it.  I'll post upcoming shows, open houses, etc. on this blog as they come up.

For the time being, you can find my pots at the 3 stores listed in the sidebar--none, unfortunately in Ottawa.  However, you can always contact me to make arrangements to come to the studio at any time of the year.

I've started experimenting with some new forms and textures and will post photos when they're ready.  I find these first months of the year lend themselves to reflection--on many levels, personal and professional.  The great thing about working with clay is that the possibilities are only bound by your imagination and determination--not quite endless possibilities, but pretty close.