Sunday, 13 October 2013

Feast of Pottery Feeds the Eyes and the Soul

A week where the first Canadian, Alice Munro, won the Nobel Prize for literature; a brilliantly sunny long weekend in the Fall that seems almost uncanny in Newfoundland; what more could you ask for?  Well, the Festival of New Dance brought a bumper crop of delights for the senses: pig boys, acrobatics, percussive tappers, cheerleaders, and an enchanting couple who mingled tuning forks, and a double bass into a most unusual ménage a trois.  What, you still want more?

Then try The Feast of Pottery complete with inspiring floral arrangements.  Masterminded by Alexis Templeton the 2013 incarnation showcases the work of sixteen potters laid out as a banquet table that stretches the length of the exhibition hall of The Plantation at Quidi Vidi.  This is the fourth time the annual event has grabbed the attention of potters and pottery collectors alike.  It is a commercial event that combines the intensity of a pop-up event that lasts only 3 days but far outstrips the quality of many gallery shows mounted by public or private organizers.  The architectural pleasures of the building combined with its multiple views of the invigorating landscape are a welcome bonus to an already rich visual event.

This year the metaphorical table stretched further than it ever has, incorporating stunning tableware from both sides of the Canada- U.S.A. border and stretching from coast to coast within the country, from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador.  What caught my eye was the quality of the plates, bowls, etc the potters had sent to Alexis Templeton for the event.  I am very familiar with work of the husband and wife team, Ray Mackie and Deb Kuyzk, known as Lucky Rabbit, having curated it in exhibitions and seeing it at craft fairs and commercial shows over the years in at least two provinces.  With confidence, I can say that the stunning heron dinner set that represented them on the epic dinner table at The Plantation was head and shoulders above much of their earlier work.  Whoever purchased these pieces, and I understand they sold early, has obtained some important examples of Lucky Rabbit work.  Form, function, decoration –every detail, in every aspect was attended to with evident love, skill and expression.

Ray Mackie throws the forms and Deb Kuzyk decorates them.

The Feast of Pottery combined a startling and satisfying range of work from Inge Vincent's whisper-thin, elegant white lanterns and vessels from Denmark, to Katrina Chaytor's trademark lobed platters, to King's Point Pottery's warm and sensual salt and soda ware.  Speaking of King's Point Pottery, I found it interesting to see details such as button adornments on a cream and sugar set succeed where in past years I felt they undermined the authority of the work.  King's Point Pottery, who is the collaborative team of life partners Linda Yates and David Hayashida, have clearly refined their work.  Isabella St. John's most recent tableware also set a new standard providing fresh evidence that her skills are not limited to vases and sculptural work.  It is a delight when us clay-hedonists can get to use what we so admire.  Excellent functional ceramics is almost like having your cake and eating it too.


  1. Excellent write up! It certainly was a wonderful display.

  2. Thanks! I was not prepared for the expanse. We should find out how many feet the table ran.

  3. Alexis has just told me that the Feast Table runs 44 feet. That's a whole lot of excellent pottery.