Grahame (aka The "Hairy" Potter) and Debbie Wales have been making functional and one-of-a-kind pottery for almost 40 years.
Grahame and Debbie moved to the beautiful Haliburton Highlands in 1976 and built their log home and studio overlooking Little Boshkung Lake. In 1990 they constructed a large outdoor reduction-fired kiln and their delightful hobby became a full time business adventure. Grahame, aka The Hairy Potter, started working full time in the studio and thirteen years later in 2003, upon retirement, Debbie joined him. Soon after, it became very apparent that their quaint little log studio and workshop needed more space. And so an addition was added to expand the work area and create a lovely new gallery.
Typically they feed on each other’s expertise, making suggestions, brainstorming techniques and methods to solve design problems, experimenting with glazes, and critiquing each other’s work as they strive for excellence in both design and function. Their excitement and enthusiasm is never far from bubbling up to the surface as they explore different methods and techniques to keep their work fresh and interesting.
The Wales’ are often asked what inspires them; the natural beauty of the Highlands, the sense of satisfaction in creating useful and functional pieces, the thrill and anticipation of each kiln opening, the quest for the next beautiful pot, and the realization that their best pots are yet to come.
Grahame specializes in wheel thrown pieces and loves to do functional production work. He amazes visitors with his ability to throw large amounts of clay with alacrity, while regaling them with his humorous anecdotes. Debbie has branched off to create thrown and altered work, as well as slab construction to make square and rectangular functional pieces and one-of-a-kind sculpted wall hangings that depict the beauty of the Haliburton Highlands. Their adult daughter, Jenn, has been working in the studio most of her life and they are thrilled that she has become part of their studio as she satisfies her creative instincts by experimenting with different forms and designs to create interesting wall art and unique clay wearable art.
The studio is located in the woods overlooking Little Boshkung Lake near Carnarvon in Haliburton County, Ontario. A few years ago an addition was added to the log studio, which was built in 1980, to increase the work and display areas. Their studio is spacious and inviting. Visitors will see demonstrations and are encouraged to ask questions and explore the gallery. They are happy to explain the many steps needed to take a lump of clay and turn it into something useful as well as beautiful.
Using both porcelain and stoneware clay, the Wales fire with propane in a large reduction kiln yielding a wide variety of rich, luscious glazes in earth tones, jade-green celadon, shades of blue, and a rose copper red. Because of the nature of firing in a reduction atmosphere to cone 10, each firing yields slightly different results, increasing the anticipation of each kiln opening.
Their functional pots, meant to be used and enjoyed, include:
They also specialize in one-of-a-kind wall plaques, depicting the scenes of beautiful Haliburton County.
All the pots are lead-free and safe for use in the oven, microwave and dishwasher.
Their daughter, Jenn, creates unique wearable art including pendants, earrings, pins and buttons to add that special touch to any outfit. She also meticulously creates interesting tile wall art that is sure to intrigue and delight.
Awards and Distinctions:
- The Bill Lambie Arts Alive, Minden Award for outstanding contribution to the Arts- 2011 (For Debbie)
- Artists of Distinction, from Haliburton Arts Council- 2008 and 2009 (Debbie and Grahame)
- Rails End Gallery-Award of Merit, a juried award presented several times in the 1980s and '90s.