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Kate McLaren


Kate McLaren moved to Grey County from her family's farm in Campbellville after she graduated from the Ceramics program at Sheridan College School of Crafts and Design in 1978. Launching immediately into a career in studio pottery coincided with the birth of her daughter, Vita. In 1982 the search for a permanent home led them to the Walter's Falls area and a 50 acre farm and century old farmhouse.

Her home and studio are a stone's throw from the Bruce Trail and the Niagara Escarpment. Certified organic cropland, a kitchen garden, excellent toboggan hill and rich hardwood forest nurture and inspire creativity. Looking across to a panoramic view of the Bighead River valley, famous for its drumlins, the whole region provides constantly changing beauty and visual drama.

Trees became significant elements in Kate's early years on the family farm. Her grandfather protected the remnant white pines with ferocity, was adept at grafting apples and pears in their hilly orchard and was steward to a long fencerow of nut trees. Aesthetically trees are primary characters in the landscape. Ecologically they are essential. It should not have been a surprise in the early 1980's when trees began to appear on her pottery.

Her work is easily recognized and distinctive for this evolving motif. It is always changing and refining as she explores a wide range of glazes and clay bodies, using different techniques, temperatures and kilns. The pottery she makes is meant to be used: dishwasher and microwave friendly and in a conventional oven with care to avoid abrupt heat shock.

Her favourite pottery expression is borrowed from an unknown author: "Science, art and serendipity intersect in the pottery studio."