Williams Lake potter, Anna Roberts is hosting a two-day show and sale of her burnished and glazed pottery on Sept. 27 and 28 at her home on Grebe Drive at the end of South Lakeside.
Roberts, who arrived in the Cariboo 55 years ago, started making pots in 1965. That’s when she discovered the region has many naturally-occurring materials useful in pottery-making.
“I started doing my pottery outside,” says Roberts, who began using local clays for making earthenware, stoneware and burnished ware creations. “Then when my son, Kim, was in Grade 11, he built me my studio.”
Anna still uses that studio today, firing her creations in an electric kiln.
Anna acquired her skills from several expert potters who passed through the area. In 1967, she assisted Zelko Kjundzic in a pottery-making workshop in the Sugar Cane Village, and Kjundzic encouraged her to organize a workshop in Williams Lake and the response was overwhelming.
“Thirty people registered for the workshop and we had to hold two sessions,” says Anna.
At the conclusion of the two workshops the enthusiasm of the group continued, and they decided to form a local potter’s guild and elected Anna as the first president.
Anna says her work as a naturalist has influenced her use of natural forms, textures and colours in her potter-making.
“I like to leave the outside of my pots unglazed to show the interesting colour of local clays,” she says.
She also imprints the outside of her hand-moulded pots with natural objects like beetle-carved wood or bark, gnarled wood shapes, and other interesting things she finds in nature.
Another of Anna’s trademarks is her smoke-fired burnished pottery pieces. First she hand-rubs the leather-hard clay with an agate. This is a very time-consuming process that takes many hours of work.
“During the second firing, flames are allowed to flow around the pots, enhancing the effect of burnishing, and give colour variations. It might take me two hours to rub one burnished pot, whereas I could do six or seven glazed pots in that same time.”
She says burnished ware is quite porous and will not hold water, but are highly prized as unique decorative pieces.
Anna Roberts’ one-of-a-kind outdoor show and sale will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days, Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 28.