November Weekend

This was a packed weekend! Another group of Raiders had asked if they could come out on a Saturday so we booked this one, but I didn’t realize that the East Side Culture Crawl was also on. Alan and I like to go, and I’d missed at least the last two so we decided to see some of it on Friday evening and Al would go again for much of Saturday. We chose to go to the densest area of studios, Mergatroid Building and 1000 Parker, partly to avoid the incessant wind and rain. Our son Mike and Al’s SFU colleague Eldon joined us.

Al and Mike and graffiti behind 1000 Parker street studios.

I thoroughly enjoyed finding so many potter friends in both buildings, admiring their new work and feeling a little envious of the camaraderie of having studios near other artists. We were pleased to find half a dozen food trucks parked at 1000 Parker so supped before climbing the four floors to find the many idiosyncratic work spaces and wildly differing types of work. We stayed until they all closed at 10pm.


On Saturday Mina Totino, Michelle Normoyle and new Raider Kate Metten arrived here at 10.30am so there followed a full day of painting, eating and chatting. In the afternoon we were joined by Port Moody resident Hilary Hunt Letwin. She works at Burnaby Art Gallery and was interested in seeing how and where the Raiders work, and in particular Mina, with whom she has curatorial plans. It didn’t take long for Hilary to pick up a paintbrush and become absorbed with painting a plate of her own.

Mina painted a large round platter that she’d asked for earlier, then chose a boat-shaped dish and a largish platter. It turns out she’s becoming rather interested in all things clay, especially after devouring Edmund de Waal’s ‘Pots’ book. So much so that she has purchased a pottery wheel from Kate (a painter and potter) and has her over weekly for pottery lessons. Kate teaches a pottery class at the Roundhouse and shares a studio with well-known Vancouver potter Gailan Ngan. But she was interested in the underglaze painting that Raiders do so for this day she chose several different, smaller plates and tried various painting techniques on them. I am interested, as always, to see how they turn out.

Michelle had previously brought out some Italian, bisque-fired white manufactured pieces from her workplace window display. I agreed to risk having them painted with underglazes, bisqued them again and then clear-glazed them. They had all turned out just fine so on this day she brought out some more and, oh my, she painted them all, plus several of my platters.




Meanwhile I worked on painting some yunomis and jugbirds.


They were still here when Al returned from ‘crawling’ and I’m astonished at how much work was completed!

Then yesterday, Sunday, Al and I went back in to Vancouver – this time through huge puddles and drenching rain all the way out to UBC for an opening at the Museum of Anthropology. ‘Fabric of Our Land: Salish Weaving’ is a fine new exhibition of mainly contemporary Coast Salish weavings being shown alongside wonderful robes and rugs that were collected from this area in the 1800s. Pieces have been brought in from museums in Finland, Scotland, Oxford and the US. They have been the inspiration for the revival of this ancient local tradition in recent years. The show’s opening featured a formal welcome by the Musqueam weavers, a proud explanation of the importance of bringing this collection together, thanks with gifts for being witnesses to the occasion and a light lunch.

So today, on the only day rain is not forecast, I have taken all the painted work, from pre-my-England-trip Culture Days, last week’s Raid, this week’s and a very few of my pots down to my kiln shed. The kiln is loaded, warming the pots slowly all day and this evening is clunking along for a bisque firing. I didn’t get everything in, so now my job is to finish painting my remaining pieces while the kiln cools tomorrow, mix up some more clear glaze G1916G, and plan on more firings right away.

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