My first ever pottery class was in Haliburton ON at the Haliburton School of the Arts. The program was fourteen weeks long, with a new instructor every week. After intro to handbuilding, drawing and art history class, we finally got to try THROWING (such a romance there is with the potter's wheel)!
The display cabinet outside the ceramic studio housed a porcelain tea set with perfect little blackbirds on a line - it was a welcoming and inspiring collection to pass everyday as I came to class. The tea set was made by April Gates of Blackbird Pottery - and my first throwing teacher ever.
Coming up on six years after that first class, I stopped into April's studio on my way home from a family camping trip in my-old-school-stomping-grounds of Haliburton. The city was the same (though many more people in the summer), and I immediately remembered how much I loved living there. This would be the perfect place to live a beautiful life, and open a studio. This is exactly what April has done.
Blackbird Pottery is set out of town just far enough away that the bustle of summer cottage life has quieted, but close enough that a day trip out of the village is more than possible (and encouraged!)
April's shop and studio are housed in a beautiful old schoolhouse where visitors can feast their eyes (and hands) on wonderfully whimsical porcelain ceramics while also getting to peek into the life of a working artist. The space is tall and bright and airy and.. beautiful. Perfectly designed and decorated, with an aesthetic that translates into her work. Colourful, woodsy, a little moody... delightful.
We all left with happy pots for our homes, and I'm already looking forward to going back.
If you haven't been over to April's website, please do. Better yet, get yourself to Haliburton and visit her shop for yourself. It's a treat.