Potter Buff Carnes

Potter Buff Carnes

Smart 55: Retirement affords potter time to hone craft

Buff Carnes said her interest in pottery was rekindled after she retired from working as a teaching assistant for 25 years.

Buff Carnes said her interest in pottery was rekindled after she retired from working as a teaching assistant for 25 years at Williams Lake Secondary School.

“We had a neighbour in Victoria who was a renowned potter,” Carnes recalls. “Hanging out with her I learned how to throw a pot, but then I went off to university and never had time for pottery again.”

Then in 2006, Carnes enrolled in a pottery course through Elder College with local potter Bev Pemberton.

Now she attends workshops, clay events and clay festivals presented by local and international potters through the Metchosin Summer School of the Arts and  Medalta, the historic clay centre in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

“I like getting mucky and I like the fact you can be loose with it,” Carnes says of why she enjoys doing pottery.

“Sometimes even mistakes look good,” she adds with a chuckle.

She also enjoys the friendship of men and women in the Cariboo Potters Guild and the community.

“Everyone is willing to share, guide and help.”

Carnes likes to work with different clays.

She has retrieved some from a creek near her home and in the Quesnel area.

“At the moment I am experimenting with some clay from Terrace that my nephew sent me,” she says. “It is black in colour but when opened the kiln the pieces I’d made with it were red. There’s a lot of chemistry involved in understanding the minerals.”

During the summer Carnes has been working on some pieces for an upcoming show at the end of August at the Gecko Tree restaurant.

“The pieces will mostly be for wall display,” she added.

Aside from doing pottery, Carnes loves to read, kayak, knit and spend time with her grandsons.

She also taught archery and canoeing for 12 years at Gavin Lake Forest Education Camp as part of the Grade 6 fall school program.