A wide variety of exciting forms, styles and decorative techniques make Denman’s annual spring pottery tour a truly fascinating exploration into the world of clay!  A total of ten unique venues will be welcoming visitors between 10 am and 5 pm daily on Saturday and Sunday, May 19th and 20th. This year the free event is pleased to welcome two new young artists to its impressive roster.
Vasilia Wees will be showcasing her work alongside mentor Bentley LeBaron in the senior potter’s magical gallery setting. Nestled in a grove of tall cedar and fir trees, a menagerie of otherworldly clay creatures abound here – tawny dragons and loveable cats, polar bears, owls, ravens, cows, beavers and more! Wees is apprenticing with the master sculptor, learning his techniques with a flare for the art form all her own. Another first time participant on the tour, Ember Hutchens is juggling her own passion for clay with raising a family too. In just three short years this prolific artist has gained recognition for her innovative style. Also naturally adept at both sculpture and wheel work, many of her latest pieces will have been wood-fired in the Tozan Anagama (climbing-hill-dragon kiln) on father-in-law Gordon Hutchens’ nearby land. Swirling smoke and ash kiss the pots carefully packed inside the kiln chambers, adding surprise embellishments to the clay surface.
The Tozan Anagama is twenty years old this year, and a number of Denman potters on the studio tour have participated in its recent firing. The dragon requires round-the-clock feeding for two to three days (several cords of wood are involved!), with master potter Gordon Hutchens over-seeing the week long process. Tour-goers can expect to enjoy the senior Hutchens’ most recent wood-fired pieces in concert with other stunning wares incorporating very different decorative techniques in the artist’s showroom. Jewel-like crystalline glazes sparkling alongside deep purple-blue matt glazes on vessel forms rimmed with gold are but two outstanding examples.
Winding one’s way down picturesque country lanes is part of the Denman spring pottery tour experience, and Beardsley Pottery is another treasure-trove to be found positively brimming with great gift ideas. Human and animal figures, insects and birds are deftly rendered through delicate brushwork or added in bas relief on to the curved surfaces of beautiful pots and platters. At the opposite end of the island, a long meandering driveway brings visitors to the Lake Farm. It is in this peaceful setting that Tom Dennis produces an extensive line of functional wares for every day use in a colour palette ranging from golden brown with flashes of copper red to mauve, moss green and sky blue.
 Hanne Christensen, Dante Ambriel and Tashi Draper of Flowing Art Studio, Shirley Phillips of Lilac Sun Pottery and Marjo Van Tooren of Down to Earth Pottery will also be unveiling innovative new works on the May long weekend. From hand-painted casseroles, to sturdy dinner sets, one-of-a-kind coffee mugs, ceramic jewelry and decorative sculptural pieces for indoor or outdoor display, there is truly something to be discovered to suit every taste!
Pick up your free map pinpointing all participating artists on the 2018 tour at the Buckley Bay ferry booth, or on Denman at the General Store or Craft Shop near the top of the ferry hill. And be sure to sign up at each studio for a chance to win one of several door prizes courtesy of regional business sponsors! For a colourful sneak preview, ferry schedule info and more visit www.denmanpottery2018.blogspot.ca , or call 250-335-1209 for further details.

Denman Pottery Studio Tour