Throw pots with Kevin Wright

Kevin Wright throws a pot on a pottery wheel at Echo Centre last week. Wright, owner of Braemar Pottery, has come out of retirement to teach. - SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News
Kevin Wright throws a pot on a pottery wheel at Echo Centre last week. Wright, owner of Braemar Pottery, has come out of retirement to teach.
— image credit: SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News

The last time Kevin Wright threw a pot was in December 2010.

It was a bittersweet moment for him, he related; as owner of Braemar Pottery, he had built up an international reputation over two decades as a raku potter. His accolades included an appointment to the Governor General’s list of Canada as a provider of Canadian art to represent the Governor General in formal gift exchanges, and feature artist stints with Butchart Gardens and the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria.

He closed the pottery business in order to move into Port Alberni and open Steampunk Cafe and Coffee House. Since then he has also become involved in bringing public art to the uptown core.

Next week, he formally begins teaching beginner and intermediate pottery classes at Echo Centre.

“One of the reasons I’m doing this is to share my experiences,” says Wright.

“It’s been rewarding.”

Wright takes over from Cheryl Iwanowsky, who taught the beginner/ intermediate class for seven years.

A potter herself for the past 30 years, Iwanowsky spent the past couple of years looking for someone to take over so she could devote more time to her new art gallery, Blue Fish Gallery.

“I asked (Kevin) to take over. I was just so happy he said yes.”

Iwanowsky will continue to fill in for Wright when he is unavailable, but said she is busy with several projects now.

“I’m devoting more time to my own pottery and my gallery.”

Blue Fish Gallery (2907 Second Ave.) features the work of 40 potters from the region including her own work.

The pottery classes can accommodate eight students per six-week session, as there are eight pottery wheels in the classroom.

“There is a misconception that pottery here is just for seniors,” says Rondi Shanks from Parks, Recreation and Heritage. “They have a great program going. Cheryl has run this program for adults and it’s always filled up.”

Parks and Rec also runs a spring children’s program with Lee Stead, called Clay Kids 1 and Clay Kids 2. There is also a week-long summer pottery camp.

Wright advocated for separate classes for beginners and intermediate potters. One day he hopes to offer a full intermediate class in addition to beginners.

For more info on  classes at Echo Centre, please call 250-723-2181.

The March beginners’ wheel throwing class is full but there is still some room left in the beginner/ intermediate class that starts Thursday, March 27, from 6:30–9:30 p.m. and runs until May 1.


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