Twenty years ago Heather Goldminc had a modest but busy three-person ceramics operation out of her home studio on Gabriola Island. Her team made original pieces, including tea light holders prompted by spotty electricity on the island, but even after filling a kiln almost every day they couldn’t keep up with demand.
“I’d been approached by Save-On-Foods and a few big companies saying, ‘We’d really like to buy your reindeer for Christmas, would you be able to produce 30,000 pairs for us?’” she said, adding that her reply was, “’I could probably produce 30 pairs for you.’”
Goldminc’s fortunes changed in 1999, when she was discovered by a California-based ceramics design and production company. Today, pieces she’s designed are made in a factory in China and can be found in stores and collections across North America.
“I am blown away by it, it’s gone so fast,” the Lantzville resident said of the past two decades.
During that time, while her work has gone international, Goldminc has kept things local, inviting families to join her family at her yearly Christmas open house sale.
This year’s event runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, with partial proceeds supporting the Vancouver Island Symphony Education Fund.
Goldminc said there will be hundreds of pieces made in factory and on site. She said it’s a true family effort, with her mother, daughter and new son-in-law all pitching in.
Goldminc said her daughter, Rachel, has always been asked if she was going to be an artist like her mother. She opted instead for a job in health care but recently started knitting items for her dog. At the show Rachel will be showing her textile work for the first time.
“My daughter has always helped me in the studio. When she was in high school she helped me paint or she helped me cut things out, but it was always my vision,” Goldminc said. “This year, this is her vision.”
Rachel’s husband, Scott Briggeman, is pastry chef at the Vault Café in downtown Nanaimo. He’ll be providing his own edible creations.
Goldminc said her mother was with her when she bought her first piece of clay and has been working with her in the studio “on a daily basis.”
“She’s 83 and she is still painting or claying or ribboning or whatever it is. She knows everything from backwards to forwards and she will be part of the show in whatever capacity we need,” Goldminc said. “Yesterday … she was sparkling our unicorns.”
WHAT’S ON … Claywork Studio’s Christmas open house at 7060 Arbutus Cres. on Friday, Nov. 29 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Studio remains open until Dec. 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.