Points North Gallery - Picture Framing, Gifts, and Art Gallery

Points North Gallery provides knowledgeable service in custom picture framing and offers a gallery of diverse original, local and regional Fort McMurray art.

Barb Howe »»

I am  primarily a self-taught potter.  My first experience with clay was in 1983 in a sculpture course where I produced a set of handmade salad bowls. This now seems like it was a foreshadowing of things to come.  Thanks to the presence of and help from the Fort McMurray Potter’s Guild I was soon caught up in the magic of clay and pottery, and played with it over the next several years.  Beginning in 1986, teaching duties and my growing family took up most of my spare hours, making it necessary to put clay aside for a time.   In 1994 I realized that there was a part of me that needed to create, and feeling the stress of teaching, I left the profession and decided to try to work at pottery full time.  I am now in the middle of my 23rd year as a full-time production potter and I am still loving every minute of it.

I learned the craft through extensive reading, viewing pottery videos, and practice. I have also attended a number of workshops instructed by artists such as John Leach, Tom Coleman, Robin Hopper, Les Manning and Connie Pike.  My primary goal in making pottery is to create functional pieces that are a pleasure to look at as well as to use.  What I really want is to be able to bring art into everyday life. I have enjoyed the challenge of creating pieces that match in size and shape and are able to be used in sets – bringing form and design together with craft and function.  It is such a joy to hear someone tell me “I just love drinking from that mug you made. It feels so good.” I have a fascination for and love of vivid colours and this has set me on a path to develop glazes and decorations that demonstrate this passion.  I love to combine glazes for interesting effects.  All my functional work is free of lead and barium and can be used in the oven, microwave and dishwasher.

In recent years I have engaged in more decorative and sculptural pursuits.  I have done considerable work with raku firing – a process wherein hot pots with molten glazes are plunged into a barrel with newspaper, leaves or straw and then stifled in order to allow metallic effects to develop.  Each piece can be a wonderful surprise. I have been an avid gardener and as a result plant forms and symbols often find their way into my work and this love has led to my newest venture – garden totems. Alberta is a beautiful province and I enjoy incorporating the landscape around me into my pieces.  Both the totems and the raku process also give me opportunity to carve and manipulate clay in new and challenging ways.

My work is represented at the following galleries and craft shops in Alberta and across Canada.

I am a Professional  Member of the Alberta Craft Council.

Recent Exhibitions:

Clothesline Festival and Art Sale, Leighton Art Centre, Millarville, AB, June 4 & 5, 2016

The Raven Show, Points North Gallery, Fort McMurray, March 19, 2016