Potters Studio building

In response to a brief note in The Buzz, a small group first met to discuss the idea of starting a cooperative pottery studio in July 1995.  The founding members had all taken pottery classes at the former Holland College School of Visual Arts, whose pottery studio was dismantled in 1993. 

They wanted to gather together to provide an opportunity for themselves and others to enjoy the art they had grown to love. After several months of organizing, in January 1997 the PEI Potters Studio was incorporated as a not-for-profit cooperative.

They were able to rent some of the old equipment from the former Holland College school, which had been given to the PEI Crafts Council to administer, and set up their first studio in a small space in an old warehouse on King Street. When they had to leave this location a year later, the City of Charlottetown offered them the former grounds keeper’s cottage in Victoria Park on a monthly rental basis. The new studio opened there in 1998 and since then it has become a vibrant and very busy place.

A major goal of the non-profit co-op has been providing pottery classes for the public. Professional island potters are hired to teach the classes, which are extremely popular. Since it was established in 1997, over one thousand adults and children have taken classes at the PEI Potters Studio. Many of the students have developed a strong enough interest in pottery to become regular members, or to go on to pursue pottery as a career.

Studio memberships are available for people interested in pursuing pottery as a more regular hobby, with membership capped at 70 full-time members. The members volunteer their time and work cooperatively to ensure the smooth operation of the studio and organization. This allows people to learn more about the art of pottery and to practice skills such as glaze preparation, firing kilns, and other activities.

Most current members make pottery for fun and to share their love of doing pottery with like-minded people. Victoria Park rules mean that members cannot sell from the studio, but some members do sell some work on a commercial basis at other venues.

The PEI Potters Studio also contributes to the arts community in Charlottetown, including coordinating or co-hosting workshops to allow both professional and recreational potters to learn new skills and an annual group display through the Art in the Open art open-air exhibits in late August.