1 Desjardine St.
Location Details Located on scenic highway #20 approximately 1 hour north of Regina.
Have you ever considered the form and function of handles, their curves, the way they fit in your hand, whether they assist holding the vessel or make it's holding uncomfortable? Do you have a favourite handle in your collection of objects at home? Have you ever considered them before? I have held handles which felt like they would break at the slightest bump (and broken them), handles that made drinking a full cup of coffee a labour in keeping it from slipping through my grip and handles with sharp points left unintentionally by the potter that would have cut me I held it wrong. I soon ground that sharp spot down.
In my work as a production potter, I infrequently used commercially produced bamboo handles on my teapots. They functioned very well, but I never felt comfortable with such an essential part of my pottery being disconnected from me and the materials from the land where I reside.
Most of my life has been lived surrounded by farmland. The fields and furrows of disturbed earth reflected in the patterns applied to my pottery. In my discomfort with the bamboo, I assessed the materials occurring around me, discovering renewable untapped resources, and began to experiment. Early expressions were with bent caragana, wire and sisal twine left from hay bales. A neighbour left me a box of shed deer antlers and as I explored them, the curves, colour and strength prompted me to attach them as handles. The renovation of my ninety-year-old studio provided the copper wire used to attach them.
As I constructed these antler handled forms, spending many hours sitting with them, exploring the possible combination of the beautiful shapes, I discovered that like the subconscious inclusion of Saskatchewan landscapes in the slip-decorated pottery, the forms of the antlers were echoing the land around me. I see bluffs of trees in winter, their leaves fallen, tangled piles of deadfall both laying naturally and having been pushed back to create more land for crops. Trimmings from trees waiting for a campfire and the bare bones of the land left visible as the effect of a forest fire seen on northern Saskatchewan canoe trips. It is strange to think that though I have longed for the new grown cover of foliage, I am going to miss being able to casually see the bones of the land and the beauty revealed in those seasons of being laid bare.
In 1989 Jeffrey moved from his small home town in Southeast SK to Caronport for grade 12. Taking advantage of the wider class offerings at his new larger school he picked up every art and design class he could and was introduced to pottery. After graduation and a few years making pots intermittently at the potter's guild, he decided to pursue pottery full time. This career move involved setting up his first studio in a trailer with six cats and no running water. After a period of time realizing the need to advance his skills, he enrolled in the Fine Arts program at Red Deer College. In addition to the regular semester classes, the summer residency program offered there enabled him to work alongside many ceramic artists from around the world. Emerging equipped with this fresh insight and invigorated artistic spirit, he ran away and found a job working construction.
In 1997 after working construction for a few years and working in various locations across Canada and the United States he decided to return to creative life and set up a second pottery studio. He returned to Saskatchewan from Vancouver and started searching for a heritage building. On the advice of friends, he bought and renovated the vacant 1928 schoolhouse in Duval Saskatchewan and named it Newschool Arts. Creating one of a kind pieces and functional dinnerware has been his focus since then . Jeffrey is joined here with his wife Nadia, who manages the business. He has served on the board of the Saskatchewan Craft Council, has been involved with CARFAC SK as a mentor and as a mentee, and is a founding member of The Last Mountain Artists' Collective and Regina Art Collective.
Recent highlights in Jeffrey’s creative practice include having an antler handled vase purchased by the Saskatchewan Arts Board for the permanent collection and participating with Regina Art Collective and Sâkêwêwak in opening the Lobby Gallery at the Regina Performing Arts Centre.