Cathi Jefferson – Potter

Cathi Jefferson is a ceramic artist who lives in the Cowichan Valley near Duncan, on Vancouver Island. We went to the Out of Hand craft fair last weekend largely to see her work and chat with her, as we do every year. Cathi is a terrific potter, who has been at it for more than three decades, and until a few years ago was based in the Greater Vancouver area. Now she has a studio and gallery on the banks of the Cowichan River in a patch of forest in which grows many of the plants that inspire her work. Its a lovely place to visit and she is very welcoming.

This blog is supposed to be about my surroundings and you may be wondering where this fits. Well, this is ‘burnt embers’ so that might be enough on its own for pottery, but it is also fair to say we are surrounded by Cathi’s pottery. We use one of her teapots several times a day, drink from her cups, have breakfast from her bowls, and so on. Every year we add a few more pieces as presents to each other and sometimes a family member gives us another. Our interest in her work started many years ago when I bought one of her mugs in a thrift store. We could not read her signature on the base and had never seen another of her pieces. Then she moved to Vancouver Island and we soon after saw her display at the Out of Hand craft fair and recognized right away the similarities of her current work to the older second-hand piece.

Her forms are terrific, and she does many sculptural pieces as well as a lot of functional work. Her work is characterised by beautifully painted designs that are applied with slips of coloured clays. The glaze comes from salt as it burns in the kiln – it is thrown in the kiln when it reaches a certain temperature and leaves patterns on the pots that relate to how the flames move around and how much salt settles on different parts of the pot. The brown more matte areas have seen little salt, the whiter orange peel glaze is from a lot of salt.

Anyway, I took pictures of her work at this year’s craft fair, and that is the subject of this post. I had planned to do a post about her pottery using more controlled shots of pieces of pottery that we own – I may still do so sometime.

Cathi has a lot of good images on her website, as well as biographical information and directions to her studio. There is an interesting CBC radio interview linked there as well, which she has made into a video featuring her pottery. I hope you enjoy seeing her work as much as we enjoy using it.

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16 thoughts on “Cathi Jefferson – Potter

  1. Pingback: Cathi Jefferson – Cups | burnt embers

  2. Pingback: Pride of Place « burnt embers

    • I like those too, but we are tea drinkers so I have never considered buying some. However, they would be terrific for a chai latte, now that I think about it. Hmmmm.

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    • dhphotosite – welcome to my blog and thank you for commenting. I am glad you like the photos. What I have not included much of here, purely by chance, is that Cathi also does quite a number of pots with geometric designs on them. I like those ones a lot and some day will post some pictures of the one ones we have.

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  3. It reminds me of a fireworks display. You start with detail shots and single pieces, then clusters of close-ups and scrolling on down great banks of pots exploding into a grand climax at the end.

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    • Hi Valerie – that is quite the description and probably Cathi will like to have her work compared to parts of a firework display. I’m glad you noticed that I thought a bit about organising the images, though only in terms of categories, not the internal order of each category.

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  4. Nice images and it’s great that you are introducing and promoting an artist and her work. I really like the “earthy quality of the pieces. Tomorrow I attend a holiday pottery sale by “my” University’s art majors. Great time to encourage others to buy art for the upcoming festivities, Sally

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    • Hi Sally. I am very pleased to give Cathi a plug, but also just to share her art which is important in my life seems like a good thing to do. I have artists, and potters, in my family and so I know that most artists can do with all the interest they can get in their work, at all times of the year but especially when people are in a buying mood. And this kind of work lasts and gives pleasure in ways that mass produced materials rarely can. I buy this pottery expecting a few pieces to get broken, but for most of them to still be with me decades after being bought, and used all that time.

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