Weaver Jane Perry (left) and potter Joan Beck encourage people to embrace winter by enjoying indoor activities such as reading

Weaver Jane Perry (left) and potter Joan Beck encourage people to embrace winter by enjoying indoor activities such as reading

Artists find inspiration in ancient Christmas carol

The main gallery at the Station House is filled this month with a warm welcome to winter by weaver Jane Perry and potter Joan Beck.

The main gallery at the Station House is filled this month with a warm welcome to winter by weaver Jane Perry and potter Joan Beck.

Their show is called To Drive the Cold Winter Away, which grew from the spark of an idea for a three-part opening that combined pottery, weaving and music.

To Drive the Cold Winter Away is a 17th century Christmas carol that exemplifies the show’s theme and was played in a harp duet by Jola Jarecki and Joan’s sister Jean Wellburn during the jam-packed opening last Thursday evening.

Jarecki arranged the harmony for the carol and came down from Quesnel especially for the performance.

The show aims to help alleviate the annual dread of winter by embracing winter as an opportunity to gear down with more time indoors for reading, crafts and gathering with friends, the artists say in their statement.

“Wool blankets are cozy for wrapping up in, and scarves are warm and colourful,” Perry says. “We can also symbolically chase away winter with bright colours. Reds, purples, greens. These colours bring light into our winter world.”

The artists talked a bit about their work during the opening and shared thoughts about their work in their written biographies.

Raised in Toronto, Perry studied forestry at the University of Alberta. She learned to weave on a backstrap loom as a summer exchange student in Finland.

Back in Edmonton, she took an off-campus weaving course during her final year of university.

She has worked as a professional forester for 30 years, predominately in the Williams Lake area, while enjoying weaving as a hobby. She developed her craft learning from members of the Williams Lake Spinners and Weavers Guild and by taking workshops around B.C. and through self-taught trial and exploration.

She recently established Cariboo Handwoven, whose sales are based from Williams Lake and Ottawa.

Beck grew up in Penticton, and earned a teaching certificate and Bachelor of Education at Victoria College/University.

She took a pottery course while living in Yellowknife, and continued working in pottery while teaching and raising her family in Williams Lake.

She has built her skills with the support of the Cariboo Potters Guild and by taking workshops with many “excellent” instructors.

Travel to Europe, India, South East Asia, Canada, and the U.S. has influenced her life and work.

Her work in the show reflects the many avenues of exploration she has enjoyed as a potter including decorative raku pieces, whimsical masks and animals, brightly coloured wine goblets, to nature inspired dinnerware.

She says she enjoys designing pottery that can be used in daily life and also be decorative pieces for people to enjoy.

“Pots, that when not in use become decorative pieces in the home,” Beck says. “Plates on a wall, a bowl or a wine set on a table.”

Her work is influenced by her enjoyment of the Cariboo landscape.

“I glaze my dinnerware so the viewer will see the combining glazes as landscapes of places remembered,” Beck says.

“As the autumn season closes and the days shorten and darken into winter, I look to my pottery,” Beck says.

“I enjoy the rhythm of working on the potter’s wheel, turning a lump of clay into a bowl or mug. After a day of skiing or snowshoeing these hold the heat of summer in a hot winter soup or a good cup of coffee.”

In winter she says it is important to surround ourselves with things that brighten our lives and bring good cheer. A good meal, music, and good books are part that enjoyment.

“For the potter opening a kiln filled with bright coloured pottery, there is a remembrance of the spring garden and summer rainbows,” Beck says.