PAM McFADYEN OF CURIOUS BIRD POTTERY
Pam started her artisan career as a painter, but began to explore her interest ceramics after she took a pottery class while in university. Today she makes unique functional pottery, jewellery and ceramic clocks, which are born from a unique fusion of modernist forms and her passion for texture. In her own words it is “like minimalism meets Baroque style.”
Pam’s work has been well recognized by art lovers and connoisseurs of hand-made. She was chosen as one of only ten Etsy artists who were showcased at the Drake General Store for the Canada 150 celebration. Their location at The Bay featured The Petrified Clock, one of Pam’s signature pieces. Her pottery has also been curated for the renowned Art Gallery of Ontario gift shop. Just recently, The Nooks chatted with Pam about her work:
What do you love about being a maker?
“I love the idea of starting with raw materials from the earth and turning them into something long lasting. It’s quite a romantic notion. My brain works differently when creating. My mind is focused on one thing and it shuts out the noise of daily life. Working with clay can be meditative, especially when using the wheel. I also love wearing my respirator mask when mixing my glazes from scratch. I feel very steam punk when I wear it”
Who or what inspires your work?
“I am constantly looking to the past for inspiration. I love art history and look at patterns from all ages and cultures, from damask wallpaper to Turkish tiles. I especially love ceramic forms from Japan and China.”
What are your biggest challenges for selling your work?
“Time! The whole process of making a single piece of pottery can stretch into weeks depending on the humidity (high humidity lengthens drying time). I have to be prepared far in advance because I can’t increase inventory by just pulling an all-nighter. I also have twin boys that just turned 7, so time is very valuable.”
How are you planning to overcome these challenges?
“I’m hoping that as the boys get older and more independent, I may be able to find a bit more uninterrupted time in the studio. I am an avid list-maker so I have found quite a few apps to help me save time by being organized. I also think that using Google Home will be life altering since I can make lists even when my hands are full of mud.”
What are your business goals for 2019?
“I am planning on doing a lot of research and development to create a new line of oval serving dishes. If I can perfect a new collection by the summer, I should be able to have it ready to launch full force by the fall.”
What would you say to those who want to start their own maker business?
“It’s all about the hustle! You can do almost anything if you have the drive to research, create, perfect skills, take classes, and ask for help when needed. Also, give it time! Focus on longer term goals and achievements. Your business will evolve with time as long as you keep working on it.”
Curious Bird Pottery can be found at:
Etsy: Look for Curious Bird Pottery
The Nooks (Danforth Location)