Potter likes getting hands dirty

CARROT RIVER, Sask. – Connie Reavie never tires of throwing pots.

The Carrot River potter starts with a wet brick of clay loaded onto a spinning circular tabletop in her bright home art studio.

Within minutes after transforming the clay into a jug, she will move the dry piece to an adjacent building for painting. It will then be fired in a 1,000 C kiln.

“I love getting my hands in the clay,” said Reavie, who called pottery a wonderful outlet for the creative ideas and projects constantly filling her head.

Many of these ideas can be seen in the sprawling gardens of her farmyard, a good place for the “earthy, natural” pots that are dotted among arbours, stone walkways, water features, shrubs and flowers.

“I allow clay to take me down a path. I go where it’s going to take me.”

Reavie started throwing pots in the early years of her marriage to her husband, Terry, who operates a 1,500 acre grain, oilseeds and forage farm and lends a hand in the studio.

In turn, Reavie helps with his leafcutter bees and other farm chores as needed, but her main preoccupation remains pottery.

“I had to play at it as a hobby or turn it into a business,” said Reavie, citing the need to make many pots to develop her skills.

She started flogging her wares through trade shows, but now also sells to upscale pottery shops and galleries, which take sales commissions of 25-40 percent. Other pieces are sold on-line.

In addition to cooking containers, tableware, vases and bird baths, Reavie also creates urns and communion goblets.

She combines function with the natural beauty of designs featuring leaves and wheat.

“I like people to really enjoy using pottery every day,” she said. “I don’t want them to be set off in a cabinet and looked at.”

Cracked or defective pieces are smashed and turned into mosaic tabletops and wall plaques, examples of which adorn the patio and farmyard entrance.

“It’s a good use of something that would get thrown away.”

Although her love of gardening calls her outside many days, Reavie maintains a schedule of mornings and some afternoons spent in her art studio.

“Because it’s my own business, I can work longer or take time off to garden.”

Pottery has helped augment the farm income in poor crop years and could by itself provide her with a modest living, she said.

It also fit well into her family life while raising two sons and a daughter, now grown and living away.

“It allowed me to have a business and feel productive and still be at home and raise children.”

Now approaching 50, Reavie sees in her immediate future more international travel and community work for the horticultural society and local church. She also plans to keep throwing pots.

“I have no regrets. I like this journey we’ve been on.”

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