When I was 16 years old I began to white water kayak.
The Kootenay River, where I learned to paddle is a surge of glacier-melt turquoise, water. It winds down through a valley of unfathomable beauty, flanked by hoodoos and river rock. My body learned how to move in and out of rapids, my heart discovered joy.
It was on one of these beautiful stony beaches that I became a maker. I had decided to become a stone mason. I was obsessed by giving homage to the simple beauty of those river stones. Later that summer I was introduced to a book called Handmade Tiles by Frank Giorgini. With bold contrasting designs, Frank Giorgini made simple forms beautiful and timeless. His book initiated my journey with clay.
Almost 20 years later, mountains and rivers have remained my most passionate muse, and craft my strong and sure footed life partner. I work as a potter as well as a carpenter. Pottery allows me quiet time alone. My hands form clay pots made by the contrast of centrifuge, compression and tension. Carpentry on the other hand is loud, rough and all extraversion. My head slips and slides over numbers and sequences while I visualize, translate and organize wood into precise cuts. My body leans into my movements, trying to add force to my actions, muting the noise of the other saws and hammers on a job site.
It is said that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master craftsman. I would love to think that a house I build, a teapot I create or a mixing bowl I throw will become a person or family’s life long companion, and provide thousands of hours of use and enjoyment. For sure, nothing lasts forever. The mortar of every arch will begin to crumble, wood will weather and decompose and pots do eventually crack. But quality is timeless.