Sandra Shaffer Pottery

3590 Northwest Road, Denman Island

Sandra Shaffer’s pottery studio is housed in a transformed structure that was originally the kitchen of one of the oldest settler homes on Denman Island and she is the fifth potter to live on that land. First arriving on Denman in the mid-1970s, it was through the support of a community of people that allowed Sandra to continue her love affair with clay while raising her children and making ends meet as a hairdresser and home support worker. “Now,” she says, “I’m happy to be able to focus on developing my pottery.”

A longtime potter, Sandra’s first foray into pottery was as a child where she attended Saturday morning art classes at SAIT in Calgary and chose to focus all of her attention on clay. “First time I got on the wheel something clicked,” and throwing clay continues to be her favourite part of the process.

“Clay is very centering and grounding and underestimated as a therapeutic tool. It keeps me in the present moment. The throwing of a pot is a moment in time, so in essence, the pot connects to that moment in time and carries it forward.”

Sandra creates teapots, mugs, vases, bottles and more, with simplicity and functionality in mind. “I like simple pots; quiet pots,” she says. “True to their functions and useful in everyday life.” This year’s work will include pieces from high fire reduction and mid fire oxidation kilns. In the future she will be exploring the exciting world of atmospheric soda-firing.

With a focus on domestic ware and tableware, inspiration is found from a variety of places: food and flowers, family requests, from the way a certain piece of music feels, and the long traditions of studio pottery in Asia and Britain.

“I’m grateful to be a potter,” says Sandra, “What better feeling than a friend who tells you they drink their coffee out of your mug every day? And yes, coffee and tea really does taste better in a handmade mug.”

Sandra Shaffer’s studio is located at the corner of Northwest Road and Lake Road. Her work is available year-round at the Denman Craft Shop. The studio is open to the public during the May Long Weekend studio tour and other times by appointment. Contact Sandra by email or call 778-585-9356.

“I like simple pots; quiet pots. True to their functions and useful in everyday lives.”