New kiln put to work for pottery show

Wendy Cyrenne’s new pottery kiln will soon be loaded with her new creations.

Wendy Cyrenne is eager to show the pottery created in her new kiln.

Wendy Cyrenne is eager to show the pottery created in her new kiln.

By Vivian Bodnar

Wendy Cyrenne’s new pottery kiln will soon be loaded with her new creations.

“I  enjoy all facets of pottery,” Cyrenne said. “I like the ocean and am influenced by it so you will find starfish and shells on my pottery.”

Cyrenne and 18 other potters of the Nanaimo Pottery Co-op are preparing for the annual sale at Country Club Centre Aug. 26-27.

Pottery of all kinds – cups, casserole dishes, ornaments and more – will be on display and for sale. Cyrenne is selling a cake server in the shape of a high heel.

When choosing pottery, Cyrenne said it’s important to handle the piece – pick it up and feel it.

Talk to the artist and find out what type of glaze is used on the piece.

“If you’re going to be using your pottery for baking, then ask  if it’s safe for food, the dishwasher and the microwave,” she said.

Cyrenne said it’s important to use pottery but there are some precautions to take to keep pottery from damage, such as putting pottery in a cold oven to avoid thermal shock.

“Pottery is fantastic for slow cooking,” she said. “I put pot roast, potatoes or other raw vegetables in a casserole, add some water, put on the lid then put the dish in a cold oven and bring it up to temperature.”

Cook that at 275 F (136 C) for about four hours. The vegetables will have shorter cooking time.

“Pottery is famous for holding the heat so it keeps  food warm while you’re serving it,” Cyrenne said. “Likewise, if you’re going to make cold appetizers – a jellied salad, cold cuts, smoked salmon or a fruit plate – load the platter,  cool it in the fridge and when you put the platter on the table, the pottery will hold the cold.”

Pottery complements the food, not kitchen decor, so pieces don’t necessarily have to match.

“Pottery should be used but if you happen to break it you’ll find another piece that’s just as good and that you like just as well,” she said.

Her new kiln is just up and running. The computerized kiln practically fires itself, with thick, insulated walls large enough for big platters and bowls.

See Cyrenne’s creations and that of other members from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 26 and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Aug. 27.