Potter’s hobby becomes his life’s work

Marc Lemieux

By Hollie Pratt-Campbell

When Marc Lemieux walked into his first pottery class with the Kingston PottersGuild in 1990, he had no idea he was starting down what would eventually turn into a very successful career path.

"I was in university and I was looking for something to do in the winter,he recalls. I just signed up for one of the six week classes and then took another one in the spring. I really liked it, so I became a member [of the guild].

Over the years, pottery became an increasingly central part of Lemieuxs life; he took many more workshops and after four years of doing pottery as a hobby, he enrolled at the Emily Carr School of Art and Design in Vancouver and completed a bachelor of fine art degree. In 1999, he moved back to Kingston and opened Black Dog Pottery, named in honour of his dog, Boston.

Fifteen years later, Boston has passed on, but Black Dog Pottery is still going strong at 58 Queen St. Now, a new black dog, Sasha, sits at Lemieuxs feet as he creates his beautiful bowls, mugs, vases and more in the studio at the back of the shop.

Its great,he says of his career as a potter. Like everything, its a lot of work [to own your own business]. It always seems so simple until you get down to how youre going to sell it. Are you going to go to a gallery to sell or are you going to pay extra to have a storefront? You need a lot more business sense than I originally thought, but you learn that as you go along.

At the heart of it all, of course, is the work itself.

[Pottery] is a neat medium,Lemieux says. Its very tactile. You end up with something at the end of the day you can actually look at, as opposed to computer work or something where you dont have anything tangible. And of course there are endless possibilities for what you can make. I just kind of float across the board and try to find things that are interesting to me.

All along, Lemieux has maintained his membership with the Kingston PottersGuild, and for a while he served as the organizations president. He notes that members of the pottery community in Kingston have always been very supportive of one another.

Theres a lot of potential to experiment and fool around. The community is fairly tight-knit so you can get a lot of help from other people when youre learning. [If I wasnt doing this full-time], Id be doing it as a hobby.

Historically, the Kingston Potters' Guild was always located at the Tett Centre, but it has been operating out of the Harold Harvey Centre in Portsmouth Village while the new Tett building is being built. Lemieux remarks that he feels a bit nostalgic at the idea of returning to the old site.

I spent a lot of hours at the old guild. In school, I was there late at night and things like that, so I always remember it as the good old days. I had my dog there and the lake was there. It was a beautiful setting and still is.