Local potter, Sarah Pike, has been crafting pottery most of her life. She started while growing up in Vancouver before earning her degree in ceramics, and now making pottery is her full time profession.
“I pretty much grew up in an arts centre in Vancouver, just going to classes all of the time,” she said in an interview with The Free Press. “I went to ACAD [Alberta College of Art and Design] and majored in ceramics, so that’s when I really, really got into it I guess.”
Now, she works full-time out of her studio at her West Fernie home, and her work is showcased across B.C. and Alberta and some in galleries in the United States.
“I sell in town at Clawhammer, and I have work in Edmonton, Vancouver, Banff, Calgary, I was just in a show in Florida,” said Pike. “It feels like it’s expanding. It was just Kootenay based. It feels like it’s spreading out.”
Pike is a part of a Calgary-based artist collective called the New Craft Coalition, which she said is great for networking and exposure. Her work has been well received, and with the help of social media, she has a large demand for her work.
“The whole social media thing has expanded it too. It has created a lot of opportunity around the States and Canada,” she said. “I can’t keep up, actually, which is a really nice problem to have.”
Pike does a different kind of pottery that is a slightly longer process.
“Last week was a mug week for me and I had a goal of making a hundred mugs in a week. I think for some production potters, they would probably do that in a day, but my pottery is kind of different. I don’t make it on the wheel. It’s slab belt, which means I roll out slabs of clay, push textures into them and then form them into pots, so it takes quite a bit longer,” she said. “I think it’s probably not the most time economical way of making pots, but it’s one that I find really engaging.”
Her goal of a hundred mugs in a week made for a challenging week of long days, and doesn’t produce finished products.
“That’s just making them, that’s not putting them through the kiln and then glazing them and then putting them through the kiln again. It’s a pretty time consuming process,” Pike said.
Her pottery is a collection of mugs, teapots and larger decorative bowls and platters, among other designs.
“Lately, I’ve been getting into these Saki sets, which are super fun. I make wine buckets and cream and sugars and I make a lot of large, really big decorative bowls and platters and vases as well.”
Pike hosts a Christmas sale called Hearth, where she invites other artisans to showcase their art in her house for a local craft sale.
“It’s usually the opening weekend of the ski hill, so the first weekend of December. We empty every thing out that doesn’t work for a gallery and keep everything that you could use as a display in and invite people for a couple of nights to check out some local artist work. It’s actually a super fun event.“
This year marks the fifth annual Hearth, and will feature local artists Michael Hepher, Leanne Stothert, Katherine Russell, Janet McIntyre, Holly Kimola and Pike herself, showcasing leatherwork, printmaking, jewellery, pottery, painting and more artistic mediums.
Pike moved to Fernie with her husband five years ago. After visiting a handful of time, the family decided this is where they wanted to live.
“We knew we wanted to move to a small community that was sort of community-oriented but was also interested in the arts and interested in a lifestyle. And whenever we came to Fernie, I just remember walking down the street and everyone would just smile, and I remember saying to my husband, ‘people here are so happy, I want to live here’,” she said.
Pike’s work is visible online at Sarahpikepottery.com and on Facebook and Instagram.