Internationally renowned potter, Mary Fox has published an autobiographical account of her experience as a potter with Harbour Publishing titled: My Life as a Potter.
My Life as a Potter gives readers an unflinching look at Fox’s successes and struggles; and offers invaluable tips, techniques, and recipes for potters to practice at home.
Fox first thought to write a book in 1986 when she began producing more decorative and artistic pieces. From that point onward, she made a point to photograph her work and her artistic process.
“I was all of 26 thinking ‘you never know, when you get old you might want to write a book’. Meanwhile the thought of writing was freaking me right out,” she said.
Just a few short years after resolving to write a book, Fox and her late partner Heather Vaughan were diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, (ME). In her book, Fox details how ME sidelined her work as a potter for five years, and eventually led to the death of her partner.
“I didn’t want to write any of that. In fact, that almost stopped me from writing my book,” Fox said. “I was fine writing about my work, but I did not want to write about the illness.”
At its core, My Life as a Potter is a love story – one about both Fox’s love of pottery, and her love story with Vaughan.
“She’d love this. She’d love this house. She’d be blown away by the work I’m doing now,” Fox said.
“When we moved here and I first started working again and she wasn’t quite so ill, she managed me. She would keep track of the inventory at the different galleries, and if they needed work she would pick out the pieces and write them up.”
Although Vaughan is now gone, she inspired Fox to embark on the Mary Fox Legacy Project. The idea was spawned after Vaughan asked Fox what would have helped her early in her career as a potter. Fox said that the biggest help would have been access to an affordable living situation, a studio, and a gallery.
Proceeds from the book will go toward funding the Mary Fox Legacy Project. In the future, the project will fund an Artist Residency Program to run at Mary Fox Pottery where a ceramic artist under the age of 30 can apply for a two-year residency, with an option of staying on for a third year.
Artists will have access to free housing, Fox’s pottery studio, and gallery space to create and sell their work. They will only be responsible for paying for their supplies, utilities, and food costs.
Fox plans to raise at least $1 million for an endowment fund to run the project in perpetuity.
My Life as a Potter is available now at bookstores nationwide, and is available for orders through local bookstores. Fox also carries copies which will be for sale at Mary Fox Potter at 321 – 3rd Avenue Ladysmith, B.C.