Peace of Earth Pottery – Sheila Brenchley
Sheila Brenchley of Peace of Earth Pottery has been drawn to pottery for as long as she can remember. She was particularly fascinated with teapots. Many years were spent admiring and collecting them from studio tours and galleries alike. She often spoke to potters, but at the time no one seemed to be teaching. Then she finally hooked up with Richard Hayman at Lakefield School of Fine Art in Peterborough. That is when things really started to come together for her and her passion was truly fired up. Pun intended.
Sheila tells the story of when she took a beginner course in Haliburton. Her instructor asked her what she would like to get out of the course. Sheila replied, “I want to make a teapot.” Her instructor replied, “Well – maybe not this first week”. “But, in the very next course I took, I did. I made a teapot!”
Many years and pottery workshops later, taken literally all over the world, Sheila is home and settled with her husband just outside of Dunsford on a beautiful piece of rural heaven. She also finally has a professional and functional studio right outside her backdoor. Sheila divides her time now teaching workshops and working on her own stunning collections. My particular favourite is her landscape series. She does these wonderful landscape scenes on her beautiful but also functional pieces of pottery. From a slab of clay to the wheel to the kiln, Sheila does it all. She even creates her own glazes from scratch.
Sheila lights up as she explains that the most important thing in her workshops is that she wants to teach people how to have fun. She also suggests to them that if they have been doing several workshops and really think they want to get serious with the pottery to take a one week fulltime course at Haliburton School for the Arts. “Immersing yourself for an entire week without interruptions is very fulfilling.”
After meeting Sheila on The Kawartha Lakes Studio Tour in the fall of 2010 I took the leap and signed up for one of her courses right on the spot. I have taken many painting courses over the years, but never pottery. I didn’t know a thing about it, but from the very first day of Sheila’s workshop I along with two other lovely ladies’ who had never had their hands in clay either were producing vessels. I was immediately hooked. As I talked with obvious passion to many friends and acquaintances over the next several months about my wonderful new teacher many were very impressed. Most of the feedback I got was how when they had taken pottery courses there were too many people in the class and not enough wheels and instruction. I even heard stories about a line up of 12 for the one wheel in the classroom.
Sheila does not operate that way. She only takes three pupils per workshop and she has three wheels. That is how we were quickly and constantly producing “masterpieces.” I can assure you, you will never feel ignored. For information on Sheila’s pottery and workshops why not visit her website at; www.peaceofearthpottery.com. There you will find details of upcoming shows and workshops. Sheila’s work is also available as The Dark Horse, in Sunderland, www.darkhorsestudio.ca