We arrived in Sorrento on a sunny April afternoon in 2004 with a moving van full of pottery equipment and a few boxes of clay. Sorrento was a big change from Vancouver where things had been going well. Sheryl was creating sculptural ceramics and working at the Gallery of BC Ceramics on Granville Island. I was making all kinds of interesting stained glass windows for pubs and residential settings. Our creative juices were flowing. But, a rising real estate market and expensive rent on studio space set the stage for our exit from the city.
In January 2004 we started looking for a place in the Shuswap. On a trip home from Calgary to Vancouver the previous summer we both connected with Salmon Arm. The small lakeside town, surrounded by green mountains, with a fountian in the town park was a compelling picture. Eventually we found our place in Sorrento in a three bedroom house with a two car garage that could be turned into a studio. The garage even had a couple of pottery kilns wired and ready to go. That was the nudge we needed to take the leap and start a new journey.
Transforming The Studio
Our studio in Sorrento began as a two car garage with yellowing walls of unpainted plaster board. Sheryl’s parents, Ron and Loreli Willson, helped us tear out the old shelves and workbenches, and brighten the place up with on a few coats of white paint. Sheryl set up a wheel in front of the window, and soon she was selling pots at the local farmer’s market. This turned into a great connection for us because its where we have met so many of the people we know in Sorrento.
I began throwing pots in 2006. At first it was all about setting up the studio, but one day I sat down at the wheel and found I really liked the feel of clay. With two people making pottery we were able to go further afield to sell our wares. We have enjoyed developing relationships with people in the Thompson-Okanagan-Shuswap area, and with many others from BC and Alberta who spend their time here in the summer.
At this point we have found our niche in Sorrento, and in pottery. We’ve worked out what we like to make on a regular basis, and find ourselves in a position to explore other aspects of creating with clay. Sheryl has developed a love for vases that are becoming more exquisite each year she makes them. Our salmon mugs have been in demand each year since Sheryl first made them for the Sockeye run in 2011. And, that’s probably a good place to leave our story for now, looking ahead to the amazing things the Shuswap has to offer.