My work is largely thrown on the wheel. I only make a few forms, but I like exploring variations within the constraints of the forms: shape, texture, surface treatment. Generally I work in series. I’ll sit down and make a number of pots and explore differences in each piece: the shape of the belly of the pot, the way the rim ends, the foot, the surface texture. I glaze them in different colors, and fire in one of the three kilns I use, getting a variety of results in gas, salt, and wood.
Family comes first to us and to reflect that, we’ve named the workshop "pottery by dave & family”.
I’ve been quietly making pots on and off since 1975. I live in Abbotsford with my wife Val, daughter Aisa, and our 2 cats. During the last 20+ years we've concentrated on raising our 2 daughters, Alexa and Aisa. Val and I have spent a lot of time doing the usual things you do when raising kids. Both girls played ice hockey, soccer and baseball, and swam in swim club during the summers. We spent many weekends at swim meets in the summer and in many cold hockey rinks during the winter. Lots of fun & we both enjoyed that time with our daughters.
I grew up in the Abbotsford area and was able to work with a local potter, Herman Venema, who encouraged my interest. My training took me to Georgian College in Ontario, where I studied with a British potter, Roger Kerslake. After school finished, I set up a pottery and ran a retail pottery store in Ft. Langley for a couple of years. I then travelled, and finished a degree at SFU. Val and I met and got married and we raised two amazing daughters.
I worked at Greenbarn Potters Supply for 20 years while the kids grew up, the last 15 years as manager. We supplied potters in BC with clay, kilns, and all the supplies they needed. I enjoyed my time there and really liked the customers and staff. Working with Stan Clarke, who started Greenbarn in the early 1970's, was particularly enjoyable. Stan was a great guy, friendly with everyone and very generous with his time and knowledge.
Now, that the kids are older, I am able to spend time in the studio and Val and I attend farmers markets and shows. We enjoy meeting everyone and doing the markets together.
All pieces are made by hand in our workshop here in the Fraser Valley, on the west coast of Canada. All the work is dishwasher and microwave safe. Glazes are made from scratch by hand, & they are lead free and food safe. Although we mostly sell at various farmers markets in the lower mainland, we also sell at a few stores, and do some craft shows during the year.
Over the past number of years as we’ve sold at farmers markets we’ve found that I'm free to make what I like. Market shoppers seem to like a variety of work and repeat customers often come looking for what’s new. So now we make a small range of items, but with lots of variety in glazes.
I fire in atmospheric kilns because of the fired results and glaze effects that you get from these kilns. Currently I fire in 3 different kilns: gas, salt, and wood; each of which gives a distinct result. Most of my work is fired in a small gas kiln built on my old friend Herman Venema’s rural farm property here in Abbotsford. A salt/soda kiln there is used once a year or so for salt firings, and occasionally I have access to a wood kiln located elsewhere.
Gas-fired: With gas firing, there is an interaction between the clay, glaze, and atmosphere in the kiln. Iron in the stoneware clays interacts with the glaze, causing a speckling in the glaze. I use a variety of glazes in the gas-fired pieces.
Salt-fired: At the end of the firing, a salt/soda mixture is thrown in the kiln, and this fuses with the surface of the clay, with a distinctive orange-peel effect, often bleaching out the glazes and giving some interesting and varied results.
Wood-fired: In wood firing, the kiln is fired with wood only and this produces a beautiful fired result where the flame hits the pot and wood ash is deposited on the surface of the clay. Variations produce different effects as the fire and ash flow around the pot.