Belle Leon holds an ornamental plate she created. The artist is among seven West Shore potters taking part in Clay Connects on June 16.

West Shore potters featured in Fairfield exhibition

With muddy clay splashing about and her hands caked in the stuff, Belle Leon is drawn to the hands-on nature of pottery.

It’s a dirty job but Belle Leon loves to do it.

Using a spinning wheel, with muddy clay splashing about and her hands caked in the stuff, Leon said she is drawn to the hands-on nature of the art of pottery.

“For me it’s very meditative. I’m alone a lot of the time when I’m working,” Leon said. “I tend to like touching things, I’m a textile person.”

Leon, who works out of Coast Collective in Colwood, is one of seven West Shore artists participating in Clay Connects, the South Vancouver Island Potters Guild show and sale on Saturday, June 16 at the Moss Street Market.

Pottery has been a passion of Leon’s for years. She works primarily with porcelaneous stoneware, a midrange temperature (about 2,200 F) medium, and sees her painting style on the pottery as something of a trademark. She has also lately been branching out into raku pottery, an alternative pottery medium which is fired at relatively low temperature and cooled in open air.

No two pieces are ever the same and the variety of what can be done in terms of medium, texture, design, colour and a myriad of other factors makes pottery an ever evolving passion for Leon.

“You can learn forever,” Leon said. “It’s fun, it’s exploratory.”

The event has been running every year since the guild formed in 1999. This will be the second year the show has been at the Moss Street Market. Previously the guild held the event at St. Michael’s and All Angels Anglican Church on West Saanich Road.

“It went very well last year, we had an absolute full complement of potters and a lot of traffic,” said organizing member Rosemary Neering. “People were just really interested in what we were doing, so that was great.”

Mugs are always the biggest seller, Leon said, likely because they are affordable and practical.

More ornamental pieces will also be for sale.

“I like seeing what other people’s work is like, that’s a really nice thing. You meet all these people at the guild, at the meetings, but you don’t really know what their work is like.”

Clay Connects will be in the Gerry Oak Room as well as outside Fairfield Gonzales Community Place, next to the Moss Street Market, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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West Shore artists taking part:

• Roger Champagne and Dainel Casey from View Royal.

• Belle Leon and Maria Green from Colwood.

• Pamela Truscott White from Metchosin.

• Kris Jeffrey and Muriel Sibley from Highlands.

• All will all be exhibiting and selling their creations at the event, among 32 artisans from around Greater Victoria and beyond.

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