Our First Anniversary at Black & Smith Country General

Three years ago (as Facebook reminded me, with one of my "memories") we put an offer in on our first home.

I joke (only partially) that buying this house was both the best and worst decision that we ever made. The worst decision because it has been a HELL of a lot of work to fix up (and we're still fixing it), with just about every conceivable problem arising at some point in the process. It has been an exercise in patience, a challenge for our relationship, and continues to be a project that we spend hours on each week. We are two people who are driven by growth. Our home is growing, it's thriving, it's changing. It's not what either of us had expeceted. But that's why buying this place was also the best decision we ever made.

Though an exercise in patience, our workshop/store/home/garden has taught us a lot, and given us a purpose - many goals to work towards, milestones to meet, and barriers to break down. Sometimes when I look at pictures of this place when we first bought it, I don't even recognize it. I don't really recognize me at that time either.

Last year (after two years of paying commercial property taxes, and staring at a giant empty room) we decided it was time we did something with this space of ours. We opened a shop. It started as a showroom for my pottery and a space to highlight the work of some other local makers. We had organic jam and nut butters, soaps, pillows, some wooden toys, coffee and tea. That was about it.

Since this time last year, the shop has expanded to carry a wide and carefully curated selection of all the things we love, all the things that (I believe) will help you to live a more beautiful life. These objects bring joy to the everyday, delight to the mundane. They brighten up your living space, and (I speak from experience on this one) can bring hope to some of the darkest days in your life. They are made by Canadians - handmade by artists with families and homes of their own - lives they are supporting by creating beautiful things.

We're celebrating our first anniversary of being open, our "First Birthday" if you will, on December 3 + 4.

Please join us for the celebration. Help us to celebrate the good work that all our makers do.
Join us in celebrating Canadian craft.
Sharethe love of handmade this holiday season.

... and tell a friend! (:

Winter is Coming

Well, we can't really ignore it anymore - winter is coming. It's come to the time of year where the woodstove in the studio gets dusted off and tidied up, filled with wood and lit on fire. It's a cozy place to be on a cold and rainy day like today.

It's also been a really busy place! October is one of those months that doesn't have a TON of stuff going on in itself, but there is an incredible amount of winter prep happening. Wood being stacked for winter, making sure the furnace still works, and in my case the preparation for the holiday season could not be busier.

Woodfired plates, minimalist black and white.


I just unloaded another woodkiln this past weekend, with lots of fresh new work and lots of my favourite styles still at play. I like to always have something new in each firing, so this time it was stamping, and plates, and vases. And of course there were a ton of mugs. Lots and lots of mugs. And just in time for the start of the holiday sales! The first one is this weekend in Puslinch/Aberfoyle, at the Aberfoyle Potters Market. I'm looking forward to visiting with some of my pottery friends, and getting back into the swing of the show season. Hope to see some of you there! For details about the show, visit the Aberfoyle Potters Market Facebook Page.

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.