Stanley Lake Pottery

Un texte de Stanley Lake

Paru dans le numéro

Publié le : 4 juin 2024

Dernière mise à jour : 4 juin 2024


Stanley Lake looks back on 50 years of pottery at his present address in Dunkin. He shares his gratefulness with his clients, old and new.

Stanley Lake Pottery pottery
Fountains by Stanley Lake.

In 1969, while studying at university to become an urban planner, I decided to take a pottery course during my last semester. Within five minutes of handling clay, I had an epiphany. And the addiction began!

Stanley Lake Pottery pottery
Garden Art by Almut Ellinghaus. Photo fournie

In 1974, my former wife, Ellen Riker and I, Stanley Lake, opened the Ruiter Brook Pottery in Dunkin (Mansonville). Fifty years and a hundred tons of clay later, I wonder where the time and all my work has gone. The property was beautiful but the house and barn were neglected and in poor condition. They needed major structural improvements. We were fortunate to find a stone mason in Sutton who was willing to help us straighten and strengthen the two structures.

With little money in hand, we needed to get the pottery producing. We had to get our work ready for market if we were going to live off our labours. By chance we met Jean Allard, who owned five boutiques in Quebec City. He would come visit once a month and purchase $1,000 of our work for his stores. We continued supplying him as well as participating in any and all local and not-so-local craft fairs or markets. All in an attempt to publicize our existence and to attract people to the pottery, so they would purchase directly from us.

Stanley Lake Pottery pottery

When Liz Davidson, Maya Lightbody and I created the Tour des Arts (TDA) 35 years ago, we immediately realized that it was going to be a successful way of selling our work. I was then able to stop travelling the Eastern Seaboard in the States with my work. I was able to concentrate on direct sales at our pottery.

50 years later

I have been called a master potter, but master of what? I have a vast array of technical skills and knowledge but still so much to learn and so much more to explore. In 2003, Almut Ellinghaus, a theatre mask maker and performer, began her clay career at the pottery. And soon I was learning from her the intricacies, nuances and the structural subtleties of the human face. Then I learned how to incorporate those skills and images into my own clay and garden art.

Almut also began to work for me in the creation and expansion of my functional line. She helped me increase production to a scale that enabled us to venture into The One-of-a-Kind Show in Toronto. We were very well received with sales and orders that sustained us throughout most of the year.

It has been a remarkably rewarding and privileged experience, my relationship with clay. Exploring forms and glazes and having the freedom to establish my own work schedule with no one controlling my movements or hours. I thank all who have supported us and welcome all who would like to visit and discover our garden art and pottery.

Stanley Lake