Pottery Sessions

Every two years, we have invited a local island potter to come and play with our Spring Leaves kids.  Nancy Silo has been working with clay since the 1970’s, and her enthusiasm for sharing her skills with our group is always a special treat for us.  This year, Nancy led us through the steps of making bowls in a very surprising and delightful way.  Photos taken by Kenta Kikuchi beautifully illustrate the two days we spent working on them- first decorating and shaping, and a few weeks later when we glazed the bisque fired bowls.

After rolling out a flat piece of circular clay, the kids decorated their clay with a variety of stamping materials, as well as freehand drawing into the clay.  Then Nancy demonstrated a very surprising and delightful way of making the flat clay into a bowl- by laying the slab on a piece of foam, placing a bowl on top of it (there were two sizes to choose from) and pressing down hard into the foam.  When the bowl was released, the clay slab underneath had been pressed into a ripple edged bowl of varying depth.

A few weeks later, after Nancy took the bowls home and bisque fired them, the kids glazed them with a selection of glazes that Nancy brought in with samples of their finished colour and shine.  When she returned a few weeks later after their last firing, we finally got to see the end result.  Often with pottery, there is a bit of surprise all along the way, as the variations between the elements involved in the process take on their own actions and results.  Thank you, Nancy!  Thanks also to Kenta Kikuchi for taking and sharing the photographs.

finished bowlsdetails




glazed bowlsspring leaves group

Glass Circle Star

Stained glass window by Tracy Calvert

Glass Circle Star

Circle star

you hold me intact

through the blazing of colours-

of heart and throat,

of cooling blue and the

pangs of crimson

a sweeping tone of

shadowed orange

presses against my temples

and pulls me into the

outward dance,

blueness like sky

blends into expression,

dissolves the time chaser out

from under my feet

shades and hues

shifting, blurring

over lapping into the ripple

and warp-

this is the passing through of colours.

White circle star,

bringing me back in,

horizon clear,

valley shaped, and still being so,

by the sliding-by of the lake

into the river

sky orbited by the pure lure

of magnetism and evolution-

I am swept into your landscape

and then I am swept away

at these imaginings,

of the brilliance

of where these roads might take me if I let them,

this vast, jewelled path

gleams, glimmers,


as long as I am listening.

I fall into this submission

of colour,

sink myself in-

and from the other side,

the light

lights my way through.

Tracy and I created this collaborative combination of poetry and art for a Verse and Vision art show that was organized by my mother Margaret here on Pender Island this summer.  She was inspired by listening to the readings by Pender writers at Speak Easy, an open mic night held once a month, and she began encouraging pairs of artists and writers to collaborate and create a show celebrating the word and the image.  Tracy and I have been working together through natural building for the past few years, and it was wonderful to expand into our other passions and connect on a deeper level that explored the process of our creativity and how that place of creating becomes a timeless meditation within a world of shape, colour, patterns, and unplanned, intuitive journeys that teach us about stepping aside and allowing ourselves to be moved without structure or judgement.  Tracy and her partner Jude have a beautiful little cottage that can be rented on South Pender.  Information for the cottage as well as natural building and stained glass creations can be found here…  www.woodandglass.ca

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