A teapot created by Sarah Pike, 2017. Photo submitted by Sarah Pike

Local potter, Sarah Pike, breaks into American market

On August 5, the Charlie Cumming Gallery in North Carolina showcased 60 pieces of pottery made by Fernie’s own, Sarah Pike.

This served as a milestone for the potter who has never had her work showcased in an American gallery. Typically, her work is displayed in galleries in B.C. and Alberta.

By August 10, all but 16 of her pieces had sold.

Work included a variety of designs; from teapots, cylinder mugs, tall mugs and funnels, to vases, pitchers, creamers, sugar pourers, bowls and plates. Some of these pieces, such as the teapots, contained multiple parts. They were finished with either a gold or bone (tea green) stain that she mixed herself.

The Charlie Cumming Gallery is a ceramics-focused gallery known throughout the United States and Canada.

Two years ago, Pike submitted five pieces of pottery in the Intimate Object show, hosted by the Charlie Cumming Gallery. She was invited back this past January as a feature artist, and what followed was the request to host a solo show in August.

“It feels good to have work out there,” said Pike.

Since her first Instagram post on November 30, 2012, Pike has gained over 30k followers.. Her original goal was to get over 1000.

“I’m not really sure how it’s exploded like that, I think part of it is, that there’s a pretty amazing community of artists out there, so we support each other, internationally,” she said.

In 2015, Pike was featured on the front cover of the March/April edition of American pottery magazine, Pottery Making Illustrated. The article was titled, “Sarah Pike’s Textured Teapots”. This boosted her online presence.

“All of a sudden there was a thousand likes on a photo, and after that I was getting 100 followers a day,” said Pike. “It’s kind of crazy how quickly it was escalating.”

Pike likes to challenge herself with new designs and ways to create her work. Her teapots are currently the most complicated pieces of work she makes, as there are many components that require separate creation and assembly.

She believes that her motive to create new work all the time is sometimes challenging, but she feels this is all a part of the creative process.

“I hope I can always keep some element of challenge there,” she said.

Pike graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary in 1998. She then completed a post bachelor semester at the University of Colorado and then went on to Minneapolis for grad school in 2001, but left to start a family.

Her partner, Sebastien Stewart, remembers when Pike was in art school.

“When she was in school, and I met all the professors, they would all tell me that Sarah’s going to have a great future,” he said. “But I don’t think she really ever paid attention to it or believed it”

Now that she has expanded her audience, this has opened up new doors for the Fernie local.

Pike is looking forward to several events next year. In September, the creators of Pottery Making Illustrated will be flying Pike down to Columbus to shoot a video of her process. She was also invited to teach several workshops, internationally. In the fall, she will be teaching three in Pennsylvania, and one in Utah.