Badge of Awesome Communities invites you to share your favourite things to see and do in cool destinations around the world. We caught up with the folks from the Stoneware Gallery — one of our featured attractions from Winnipeg — to learn about what they have to offer.
What makes the Stoneware Gallery awesome?
Stoneware Gallery: Anyone who is interested in beautiful, handmade pottery, need look no further than the Stoneware Gallery. There they will find a huge selection of exquisite work by 15 local Manitoba Potters. These artists create work that is second to none and is among the best in all of Canada. From contemporary to traditional work, this group of artists create their own unique style exhibiting a wide variety of individuality and superb craftsmanship in each and every piece. Their work ranges from functional objects such as mugs, teapots, goblets, bowls, vases, etc, to more decorative, sculptural art pieces. Everything is available for purchase. Many customers have said it is the best handmade pottery store they have ever visited.
The Stoneware Gallery operates as a cooperative whose members are its 15 exhibiting artists. They are extremely proud to have just celebrated the gallery’s 40th anniversary in the spring of 2018, the whole time in the same location at 778 Corydon Ave. It is quite an achievement for an artist-run Gallery to have this kind of longevity! Several of its current members, as well as some former members, have been with the gallery for more than 30 years contributing to its success. This also speaks to the level of experience found in the work. With only one remaining original member, that being Valerie Metcalfe, several amazing artists have come and gone throughout the years. She, together with a stable core of other respected and accomplished members, have kept the gallery viable by attracting new talent when a former member leaves, while always maintaining a high level of excellence in the Gallery as a whole.
Most of the gallery members have their own personal pottery studios from where they create their work. There is, however, a studio attached to the back of the gallery where some of the members fire their pieces in the large walk-in gas kiln. This is the space of the Stoneware Studio which operates as its own entity in a symbiotic relationship with the Gallery, and has five members. This studio is a vibrant space where numerous classes are held with approximately 80 students taking lessons from the experienced instructors. Their work is also fired in the gas kiln offering them a unique and desirable opportunity which is unavailable elsewhere in the city.
Upon visiting the gallery, customers may ask to see the studio and catch a glimpse of how pottery is made. They could find a class in progress or see students practicing on the potter’s wheel. They might even meet one of the gallery members glazing or loading the gas kiln. If they don’t meet one there, they should be sure to ask the shopkeeper if he or she is one of the gallery artists. Since all members have their turn as shopkeeper, chances are good one of them will be working that day. All would be happy to show customers around and answer any questions they might have.