Choo Choo

I've been away from the blog for a few weeks, as I was at a conference, and then studio reno-ing (more on that another day) and then Supercrawl. A start of a busy September indeed!

Hamilton mugs! 

Hamilton mugs! 

Now that I'm back in the swing of things (and the fire bans have been lifted), I've stuffed my van with pots and have headed up north to start firing for the holiday season! This is my first time firing a train kiln, a kiln design that looks like a train car, and when fired correctly should make that warm and cozy chugging sound. My kind of sound. 

Pots unpacked and ready to be loaded

Pots unpacked and ready to be loaded

This firing is particularly special, as it is the last firing this kiln will ever see! After unloading next week, Duncan Aird and I will be tearing her down, and giving the bricks a new life in our very own kiln back down in the Hammer! Buildings are underway and we're hoping to have the beauty built before Christmas. 

So I'm up here toasting this sweet kiln many thanks, with good company, and good food, and looking forward to many firings ahead!

Jeff Martens, loading the kiln like a boss. 

Jeff Martens, loading the kiln like a boss. 

Stacked.  

Stacked.  

1001 Pots 2016

This year, I was invited to participate in the annual 1001 Pots in Val-David, Quebec. After many years of visiting the show and admiring the talent of these artists, I took the plunge and was an exhibitor there for the first time this summer.

The community at 1001 Pots is INCREDIBLE. Not only did they put up with my poor excuse for French (I'm going to take classes before next year guys, I promise! ;)) but they are among the most welcoming and caring people I have had the pleasure to be in company with.

On top of an insane amount of pottery in one place, 1001 Pots is located on a stunning property, at the home and studio of working artist Kinya Ishikawa. The buildings are immaculate, the gardens are beautifully kept, and the atmosphere is warm and relaxed.

1001 Pots ceramic mosaic path

The highlight of the property is the "Jardin de Silice" (Silica Garden) - a magnificent cathedral made from intricate metalwork, filled with ceramic shards. Exhibitors bring their scraps and seconds to the event and the next year will find them renewed, tediously placed into this curious piece of architecture, whether it be an addition in the growing labyrinth of walls, or mosaic tiled walkways. The peace and serenity of this space is paramount.

Kinya's Japanese heritage and artistic sensibility are apparent in everything he does - from ikebana arrangements in the quiet corners of the garden, intricate chandeliers and poetry readings, patterns in colour and form, and of course his Furoshiki paintings. I have admired these fabric paintings every year at the show - his brushwork, sense of space, and softness are breathtaking. The smallest piece speaks volumes.

Emma Smith 1001 Pots Furoshiki

I was delighted to be voted by my fellow artists for the Potter's Choice Grand Prix for 2016. Kinya made this stunning piece for me, with reflections of my forms and drawings. I was SO shocked to be considered, let alone to have won.

I am already looking forward to next year - to new friends, the great outdoors, and a beautiful life.