Jean Rongve began her passion for pottery in the 1970s while living in Yellowknife.
She joined the potter studio, which gave her a weekly night out, a break from raising her two pre-school aged children.
“I’ve been using this pottery wheel for over 40 years. It moved with us from Yellowknife to Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan then came to Nanaimo. And that’s three kilns ago. My wheel has been a good friend,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever grown up because I still like to play with mud pies. With clay you can create something without any tools except strong hands and a sense of balance. When I go to bed at night and as I’m falling asleep I create huge, intricate and beautiful pots. I love to create.”
She specializes in creating items for the kitchen and dining.
She doodles her designs and then brings them to life with clay. Her favourite designs are dragonflies, trees and bushes and she sells many of her pieces at the artisan stores on Bastion Street.
She creates many different varieties of mugs and trivets.
“I make them all by hand using a rolling pin,” said Rongve. “The glaze though can be frustrating as ideas for a beautiful glaze don’t always transfer into reality and lots of testing goes into each new glaze. I always have at least one test glaze piece in each kiln firing.”
Rongve is one of many potters displaying and selling work at the annual Nanaimo Pottery Co-op Spring Show and Sale Friday and Saturday (May 10-11) at Country Club Centre. The event runs Friday 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“I really like having a sale at Country Club because people who may not have considered pottery are given the opportunity to get to know this ancient artform,” said Rongve. “I remember the time a man asked me if my mud could hold coffee. When I said yes he bought a half a dozen mugs from all different artists.”
For more information please visit www.nanaimopottery.com.