C/O Lisette Dunin Markiewicz

COVID-19 inspired local potter to turn her hobby into a ceramics business

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to our everyday lives. School is now online, some of us are staying home with family, jobs are more difficult to find and more interactions are occurring virtually. 

In the summer, many of us were stuck at home due to restrictions on activities we previously enjoyed. Many have found new ways to keep busy and stimulated, such as Kelsey Burns who created the business, Too Blue Ceramics, this year. 

Burns started making pottery from her bedroom in the early months of the pandemic as a way to fill time after her workplace closed. In June, Burns launched the Too Blue Ceramics Instagram page where she posts and sells beautiful creations and custom pieces. 

The first part of the name was inspired by one of Burns’ favourite songs Am I Too Blue by Lucinda Williams. As the name suggests, most of Burns’ work features blue and white designs, many of which are of women and flowers, painted on ceramic coasters, vases, teapots, cups and plates. 

Burns always had an interest in painting and drawing but was uncertain about whether she wanted to pursue art. It wasn’t until last year when she started taking pottery classes at Dundas Valley School of Art, an independent not-for-profit art school where she discovered a passion for pottery making. When her classes were cancelled in the spring of this year due to COVID-19, she bought a pottery wheel for her home and turned pottery into a full-time project with the help of her friend who had a kiln.

“People just have always told stories through pottery and I was just drawn to it . . . I didn’t think that I would love it so much,” Burns said. 

“People just have always told stories through pottery and I was just drawn to it . . . I didn’t think that I would love it so much,” Burns said. 

Burns initially gifted her ceramics to her friends and family, but later began selling as a way to cover the cost of the materials and continue developing her pottery skills. Too Blue Ceramics has quickly garnered attention from the community. In September, she and some artist friends put together a Super Small Crawl on the weekend of Supercrawl to sell their creations. Many neighbours and community members came to the event to support their work.

Her personal favourite pieces to make are vases.

“I like it when [ceramic pieces] aren’t specific . . . because [the process is] a bit more freeing. I love when I put a piece of clay on the wheel and don’t know what it’s going to be,” Burns explained.

Burns also enjoys taking on challenging ceramic projects and commissions which help her to learn more techniques and develop her own style.

Although she started in her bedroom, she now has a studio space in the basement of her and her partner’s home. She is also part of Alchemy Clay Studios in Guelph which offers shared studio space for artists. 

Ceramics has taught Burns about patience and appreciation for handmade everyday objects which are both functional and beautiful. 

“When we think about consuming products, we’re really used to just having things available immediately. So I think it’s nice to remember that things take time . . . because somebody is putting energy into these pieces,” Burns said.

“When we think about consuming products, we’re really used to just having things available immediately. So I think it’s nice to remember that things take time . . . because somebody is putting energy into these pieces,” Burns said.

To Burns, pottery is an imprint of where we are in history and she hopes to continue telling stories through her work. 

Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.