Still Fired Up After All These Years!

The Parkland Potters Guild started in 1976. Over the years the guild has been a strong knit social group.  Some members have moved on, some have passed away. And new blood comes in. Following are some of the highlights over the years.

The Early Days

Before the Guild existed, pottery in the early 1970s was organized by the Parkland Regional Recreation Department and classes were held in Stony Plain  and Spruce Grove. The Thursday potting ladies met at a cost of $2.00 per day. Bob Barclay remembers starting pottery lessons in a basement in Spruce Grove in 1972.
In 1974 the recreation department was split  into three and the pottery equipment was put up for sale.”We formed an informal group and carried on as usual. The only two members still in the Guild from those days  are Cathy Zeihr and myself. ” says Bob.
1979_clippingIt wasn’t until grant money was needed that the Guild became a formal society in March 1976. The first executive was:
  • Bob Barclay – President 
  • Margaret Pike –  Vice President 
  • Mary Ulrich –  Secretary/Treasurer
Other founding members included Cathy Zeihr, Kees Wouters, Ian Nattrass, Leroy Sand, ? Koberinski, Eleanor Everington, Alice Jamieson, Francis Anderson, and Marie Bailey.
By the second second year of the Guild’s existence in 1977, there were 36 members.
first_firingSome Milestones
  • First grant application  – August 1976. The grant was $3600 (the Guild had to match that amount and did so through sales at the farmers market) and the funds were used for the gas kiln.
  • Permit to develop site – October 76 to April 77
  • Started building  – spring 1977 (names should still be on the concrete)
  • First gas kiln firing  – October 1977
  • First kiln manual – March 77

Mural_2The Mural – 1990

Members of the Guild worked together to create a clay mosaic that focused on  life in the early 1900s. The project involved a large number of the members and can still be seen on the west wall of the firehall in Stony Plain, next door to the Guild.

REbuilding_the_kilnRebuilding the Gas Kiln  – 1991grainery

More information needed here regarding the rebuilding of the gas kiln and expansion of the grainery. The shed expansion and kiln rebuilding were done by Guild members.

35th Anniversary

The Guild celebrated 35 years in 2011.   There were a number of activities over the year but one of the highlights was entering a float in the local parade.  “We are quite excited about our float with a kick wheel and potter demonstrating throwing.  We  really are wondering what the pots will look like after all the stopping and starting of the quad that is pulling the float.  We are confident that if anyone can throw on a moving float it is Bob Barclay, master potter.  Jan Lloyd has ordered candy for the children and is making coupons for a draw of gift certificates for the gallery to be handed out to the adults.

Renovations to the studio in 2014

renovationsIn April 2014 the Guild got a facelift! Renovations included a new floor, removal of the cloak room (adding more space to the glaze room), widening of doors, a fresh coat of paint throughout, and reorganization of the shelving. The result – a brighter, more functional studio! The committee that led the renovations was Bob Barclay, Clarice Cameron, Jan Haines, and Sandra Thornton, painting was done by Janel Padberg, and many, many Guild members lent a hand with packing up and clearing out the Guild for the renovations, and then putting everything back in place once the work was done.


On June 17, 2017 Parkland Potters demonstrated their skills outside the Crooked Pot Gallery. The challenge was to throw 150 pots for 150 years! Not only did they achieve the goal, many members of the public enjoyed watching the potters at work.

150 years

Alberta Culture days 2018

Lots of people toured the gallery and  studio and watched potters in action as once again they vied to create the largest bowl and the tallest pot. This year, the largest bowl went to Brenda Evjen followed by Cheryl Anderson.The tallest vessel went to Jan Haines with an 11” beauty! Honorable mention  to Sandra Thornton. Twenty-five children had an opportunity to get their hands into the clay and to try some hand building under the tutelage of Barb Watchman. We also had our 3 new guild members come by for their orientation.

Alberta Culture Days 2021

Despite the ongoing issues with the Covid 19 pandemic, our guild managed to participate in Alberta Culture Days 2021 with demonstrations and displays held outdoors. Events included competitions for the tallest vase and our own Dianne Meili performing her enchanting tale for the crowds . Guests were able to  take home beautifully rakued bear ornaments created and fired by our talented members. Thanks again to all who came out to celebrate the arts in Alberta with us!

Do you have a story or memories to share about the history of the Parkland Potters Guild? Please share it – post it in the comment box below!

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