Anyone who has created their own masterpiece sweater understands the importance of beautiful, high-quality buttons. There is nothing more disappointing than having carefully sourced local yarn and spent hours upon hours diligently knitting, to find your only options for buttons are cheaply made, mass produced ones that do nothing to complement the artistry of your work. That is why, this summer, we went button crazy and sought out local artists interested in collaborating to create a line of Canadian, hand-crafted buttons to adorn your knitted wears. Each button an individual piece of art. This search lead us to Market Collective, an independent local arts and culture market in Calgary, where we had the good fortune to meet ceramists Catherine Dale and Anders Bailey. Together, they developed a series of exquisite hand-made ceramic buttons for use with Custom Woolen Mills yarns. Last week, we had the opportunity to tour the studio at Catherine's home and learn a little bit more about their work.
Both recent graduates of Alberta College of Art and Design, Catherine and Anders are two of five members of the Vitri5 craft collective, a group of enterprising ceramists from the class of 2015 who decided to pool their studio resources and continue to foster the kind of artistic growth and companionship they had developed in college, while they all navigate the ups and downs of developing independent artistic practices.
For Catherine, her studio is her sanctuary; well lit with natural light and tucked away from the house, it is a place where she can let her artistic practice become a meditation, exploring the interplay of form, function, and beautiful surfaces. With two kilns, a wheel, and a huge selection of glaze materials, Catherine fuses science and art in the development of glazes that dance like aurora borealis in the sky and ripples on the water. You can notice this in the two-toned glazing of the Prairie Skies, Autumn Harvest, and Good Earth buttons. You can learn about her line of table wear and mixing bowls through her website Muddy Otter's Pottery.
Anders has a keen eye for pattern, forming intricate pieces with incredible attention to detail. She loves the satin perfection of unglazed clay contrasted against primary colours. You can see this in the Sock Monkey buttons featured in our children's Sock Monkey Sweater Kit. Anders is away exploring the world so she doesn't currently have any other work for sale, but when she gets back, we'll be sure to direct you to where you can find it.