MY STORYOur Grade Three class was shown “The Story of Peter and the Potter” [NFB 1953]. The film showcased potters, Erica and Kjeld Deichmann, who pioneered studio pottery in New Brunswick. The film followed them demonstrating the processes of throwing, glazing and firing a pot. As the story progressed I could see that this family of potters lived and worked seamlessly. Their lives made sense to me and the materials and processes were enticing.
When I was 16, I started taking pottery classes and I read “A Potter’s Book” by Bernard Leach. Leach’s philosophy reinforced the notion of an integrated personal and working life. From 1973 – 79 I spent six years working in a self-directed apprenticeship as I ran a large pottery school, learning as time went on, and intentionally isolating myself from outside influences. In 1979 I enrolled in the Vancouver School of Art. At least one teacher stated that women should choose either a family or a career. It was an infuriating and typical statement of its time, challenging my resolve for an integrated life as witnessed and still fondly recollected in the little NFB film.The ceramic practice is akin to living with an extended family, crowded by unruly characteristics and peopled by complex processes. The material [its characteristics] and my intention to create an integrated life, all connected with my innate drive – to be a maker [and that included making a family.] During the childhood and teenage years of my children, with tremendous support given to me by my husband, Terry, I snatched work hours during naps, school hours, and long nights. As it turned out both endeavours responded to and transformed each other.