Take a Peak: Kathleen Scott

West coast environment inspires Texada Island potter

Ceramic artist Kathleen Scott creates functional and sculptural ceramics in her small batch ceramics studio in Van Anda on Texada Island. Her work has been recognized with a number of awards, including the installation of a 3.7 metre ceramic art wall at the Vancouver Island University campus in Nanaimo, honouring the 14 women killed in the École Polytechnique Montreal massacre in 1989. She works in many mediums, including clay, painting, drawing, photography, stone, wood and metal.

Can you describe what type of art you create?
I am primarily a ceramic artist and I make functional pottery. I use the west coast environment as my inspiration for colour, design and themes.

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How and when did you first get into making pottery?
I originally fell in love with clay work in school as a kid, then took some private lessons in my teens. I then took a pottery class in my 20s, but it wasn’t until I went to Vancouver Island University in 2000 that I decided it was the medium I was most passionate about.

Who or what first inspired you?
No one really inspired me. I was driven to make art as long as I could remember. I grew up in a household where my artistic bent wasn’t really encouraged. It was that cliché of being told, “That’s fine and dandy, but what are you going to do for a living?” So I kind of left art behind along the way, but eventually I learned if I didn’t create, I would create trouble.

What is your training and background?
My first completed education was horticulturist with a landscape design major. I also have a bachelor of arts in visual arts and creative writing from Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo. Then I went on to be a potter’s assistant for Braemar Pottery in Whiskey Creek. I tried to start up Mud Otter Pottery in Port Alberni in 2008, that proved to be bad timing economically, then took a job as the gift shop and gallery coordinator at Rollin Art Centre in Port Alberni.

Are you originally from the upper Sunshine Coast?
No. I was born and raised on the west coast, but have never lived in one place very long. In my 20s I lived on Texada for a couple of years, and in Powell River. I always wanted to come back to Texada, it was more like home than anywhere else I had lived. Four years ago, my husband, now retired, and I moved to the island.

What is the process involved in creating your art?
Right now I make most of my work using soft-slab handbuilding and plaster moulds. I make and develop my own glazes and prefer bright but natural looking colours. I am what they call a small batch ceramic artist. Most of my runs are about 12 pieces of a kind at a time. I don’t seem to make the same style or design for long and am always eager to try new ideas.

What else do you do for fun or work?
Painting, photography, and crochet. I am a board member of Texada Arts, Culture and Tourism and I  organize the annual Texada Paint Out during the first weekend in September as part of the International Plein Air Painters Worldwide Paint Out.

Where can people find your work?
I have my own small retail space in my studio at 5271 Coleborn Street in Van Anda and I have a display of my work at the Texada Island Inn. This summer people can find me at Roots and Blues Festival and at Sandcastle Weekend on Texada. I have Mud Otter Pottery Facebook and Instagram accounts where people can follow along with my process and see what is currently being worked on. 




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