Potters show off their Ikebana et al

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Guild's annual sale starts tomorrow

There’s one word that you need to become familiar with before you arrive at the annual spring pottery sale tomorrow or over the weekend.

Ikebana. It’s a beautiful word that refers to even more beautiful potted vessels for floral displays. Margaret Belec said that the Japanese art form usually requires its practitioners to receive years and years of heavy training.

“It’s simple but beautiful. It’s supposed to connect to nature and spiritual things. They take it to an extreme. It’s a kind of minimalistic arrangement. You don’t put a lot of flowers in it but you could use leaves and all different kinds of things.”

“We’re obviously not experts in the art of Ikebana so we will just be putting flowers into the Ikebana vessels. It’s quite the thing with the Japanese. The vessel itself is part of the art form, although probably not the most important part but it certainly has a part in the display.”

While they might not be experts, they did receive some basic instruction from Japanese members of the community.

“I told them what we were doing and I got a call from an Ikebana master. He wanted to know who was going to demonstrate the Ikebana arranging. I had to set him straight and say, ‘No, we’re not really doing that. We’re just making the vessels for them.’ I had visions of him coming and critiquing our arrangements! I just worry and hope that we’re not coming across that we’re masters in the art of Ikebana because we’re not.”

She noted that the flowers they used are just for display purposes.

“We’ll try and arrange them as minimalistically as we can. We’ll do our best.”

The spring sale is one of the early highlights of the city’s cultural calendar. The St. Albert Potters’ Guild is one of the several guilds that comprise the St. Albert Place Visual Arts Council, also known as SAPVAC.

The guild has more than 60 members, approximately half of which are participating in this event, and this is its only annual sale, except of course for when they team up with the other guilds for SAPVAC’s late fall Country Craft Fair.

Belec said that everyone looks forward to the event, especially the potters themselves.

“What is exciting about it is you get to see other people’s pottery. We get a wide variety of excellent pottery. A lot of our members go to workshops throughout the year. They bring back those ideas and we have workshops and they share what they’ve learned.”

The selection of works available for sale runs the gamut from simple functional pots to elaborate and ornate decorative pieces, including porcelain, stoneware and raku, sculptural pieces, and dinnerware.

She said that the public is also especially anxious for the event to start. She warned that there would most likely be a lineup tomorrow evening even before sales are permitted right at 5.

“That’s when it’s very busy. All the people who know about the sale come. We don’t sell anything till 5 p.m. but it’s all set up on Thursday afternoon so we have diehards who come and see the piece that they want and stand by it until the bell rings for the sale to start.”

The Spring Pottery Sale is set for the main foyer of St. Albert Place. It will run Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is free and there will be door prizes, along with wheel throwing and handbuilding demonstrations.

For more information, email stalbertpotters@hotmail.com or visit www.stalbertpotters.ca.

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Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.