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PEI Potters Studio celebrates 20th year

In response to a brief note in The Buzz, a small group first met to discuss the idea of starting a cooperative pottery studio on PEI in July 1995. The founding members had all taken pottery classes at the former Holland College School of Visual Arts who had no place to continue to do pottery when the school closed and the pottery studio was dismantled in 1993. They wanted to gather together to provide an opportunity for others to enjoy the art they had grown to love.

After several months of organizing, in January 1997 the PEI Potters Studio was incorporated as a not-for-profit cooperative. They rented some of the old equipment from the former school, which had been given to the PEI Crafts Council to administer, and set up their first studio in a small space in an old warehouse on King Street. When they had to leave this location a year later, the City of Charlottetown offered them the former grounds keepers cottage in Victoria Park on a monthly rental basis. The new studio opened there in 1998 and since then it has become a vibrant and very busy place. 

A major goal has been providing pottery classes for the public. Professional Island potters are hired to teach the classes. Since it was established in 1997, over one thousand adults and children have taken classes at the PEI Potters Studio. Many of the students have developed a strong enough interest in pottery to become regular members, or make pottery a career.

Studio memberships are available for people interested in pursuing pottery as a more regular hobby. While people have come and gone over the years, there are usually about twenty active members involved at any one time. The members volunteer their time and work cooperatively to ensure the smooth operation of the studio and organization. This allows people to learn more about the art of pottery and to practice skills such as glaze preparation, firing kilns, and other activities. Although some members have been inspired to study pottery or to start selling their work on a more commercial basis, most just want to make pottery for fun and share their love of doing pottery with like-minded people.

The PEI Potters Studio also contributes to the arts community in Charlottetown, including doing pottery demonstrations at the PEI Crafts Council Christmas Craft Fair every year and occasionally coordinating or co-hosting workshops to allow both professional and recreational potters to learn new skills. Last year they had a popular display on bats in Victoria Park for Art in the Open and in October 2015 they plan to mount an exhibition of their work at The Guild in conjunction with a group of oil painters.

All former Pottery Studio students, members, teachers, friends, supporters and the general public are invited to an open house on the grounds of the studio in Victoria Park in Charlottetown on August 8 from 2 to 4 pm (raindate August 15). Light refreshments will be served and all are welcome to attend. For information on the PEI Potters Studio check or call 902-892-2701.

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