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Debbie and Grahame Wales & Jenn Mills - Earth & Fire Pottery

Pottery and Jewellery

Who we are:

We are Grahame and Debbie Wales and have been actively potting for 40 years. We feed on each other’s expertise, making suggestions, brainstorming techniques and methods to solve design problems, experimenting with glazes, and critiquing each other’s work as we strive for excellence in both design and function. Our excitement and enthusiasm is never far from bubbling up to the surface as we explore different methods and techniques to keep our work fresh and alive.  We like to think that our best pots are yet to come!!

We are thrilled that our adult daughter, Jennifer Wales Mills has become part of our studio as she satisfies her creative instincts by experimenting with different forms and designs to create interesting wall art and unique clay jewelry.

Where we live and work:

Our home and studio are both located in the woods overlooking Little Boshkung Lake near Carnarvon in Haliburton County, Ontario, Canada.  A few years ago an addition was added to our log studio, which we built in 1980, to increase the work and display areas. Our studio is spacious and inviting.  Visitors will see demonstrations and are encouraged to ask questions and explore the gallery.  We are happy to explain the many steps needed to take a lump of clay and turn it into something useful as well as beautiful.

What we do:

Using both porcelain and stoneware clay and a wide range of rich, luscious glazes, which we make ourselves, we create every day, functional pottery, such as mugs, teapots, egg cookers, bowls, brie bakers, garlic keepers, butter dishes, butter keepers, casseroles, vases, pitchers and platters, and clay jewelry, as well as custom-made dinner ware and one-of-a-kind wall plaques depicting the scenes of beautiful Haliburton County. Everything is made in our studio and fired in our outdoor propane-fired reduction kiln.

How we do it:

Grahame, aka the HAIRY POTTER, specializes in wheel thrown pieces and loves to do functional production work. He amazes visitors with his ability to throw large amounts of clay with alacrity, while regaling them with his humorous anecdotes. Debbie has branched off to create thrown and altered work, slab built square and rectangular functional pieces and one-of-a-kind sculpted wall hangings that depict the beauty of the Haliburton Highlands.  Daughter, Jenn has recently started to produce her own unique designs in clay, such things as earrings and pendants as well as interesting mosaic wall plaques.

How we fire:

Our firing technique differs from many potters who fire in an electric kiln. We use propane to fire our large outdoor kiln which allows us to “put the kiln in reduction” which simply means that we  reduce the oxygen in the environment, causing the kiln to pull out oxides from both the clay body and the glazes, giving the finished product the distinctive  look of a reduction firing. The end result is rich and luscious, with a depth of colour that cannot be reproduced in an electric kiln. The firing process also differs in that it is quite interactive. We need to closely monitor the kiln for the entire 20 + hours of firing, making adjustments as the kiln fires to cone 10, approximately 2300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Want to try it?

We love to conduct “Play with Clay” workshops in the Fall and Spring where participants experience both wheel work and hand-building techniques. These half day workshops of 4-6 people are tons of fun and everyone gets to make several pots both on the wheel and using slab construction.

Alternatively, Gone to Pot, Adventures in Clay is organized by Barrie Martin of Yours Outdoors, to be part of a day long, hands-on experience in 3 different potteries.  Participants become familiar with many of the stages involved in creating pottery.

Visit our website or give us a call for more details.

e-mail: walespottery@sympatico.ca
website: www.earthandfirepottery.ca
705-489-3177

1234 Crooked House Road, Minden
Directions: Located 3 km. West of Carnarvon, off Hwy.118

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