Renown potter Mary Fox will be taking clay creations to Comox for the 30th annual Filberg Festival this weekend.
Fox is the festival’s guest artist, and she will showcase her work alongside 120 other artists from all over Canada. Even though she is the guest artist, this is Fox’s first time at the festival.
“It’s an honour to be asked and I’m really looking forward to it,” Fox said in an interview with the Chronicle. “The Filberg has a great reputation among crafts people, and crafts people are always saying to me ‘why don’t you do the Filberg?’ and, I don’t know, I just never have.”
Fox says making show-worthy pieces is a long and difficult road, but she has been saving her best pieces for Filberg. For any art lovers, the trip to Comox will be well worth it.
“There’s definitely, you know, a lot of exhilaration when you’ve worked really hard on a piece and it’s a beautiful piece of magic,” said Fox. “For Filberg, I’ve been saving all my grade As; I’ll be taking all the pieces that I consider to be my very best.”
Fox says she is looking forward to meeting new artists and the beauty of Comox.
“The people are the most fun, and I will meet a lot of people and talk to them about my work. It’s outdoors in a beautiful, sunny location right on the ocean, so you couldn’t ask for a nicer spot,” she said. “But I don’t like setting up and taking down.”
On a fluke, Fox fell into pottery. Her junior high guidance counsellor informed the young Fox that she had to take pottery as an elective because it was the last class with space.
“I was like ‘I’m no good at art,’ and then it was love at first touch,” she said. “When I was a kid, people always said ‘oh you can’t do that for a living; you’ll never make a living,’ and I was like, ‘well, I’ll give it a go.’”
Fox began selling her work in Grade 10 and by Grade 11 was teaching pottery at night. Since then, it’s been all about the clay.
“I’m never bored with my work, and I’m always full of new ideas and thoughts … traffic jam in my head already!” she explains. “I work all the time. I’m in the rare position that I do what I do for a living, and I don’t have to teach or supplement.”
Fox, whose art is sold all over the world, is full of advice for both established and new artists.
“I think the main mistake most beginners make is that they don’t treat it like a business. You know, treat it like a job,” she said. “You need to learn how to make the art work and how to market the work.”
Fox sells her work mainly through galleries, but she also has her own studio and gallery in her Ladysmith home.
“If you can have your studio and gallery where you live, that will make a big difference to making a living because then you’re not paying two overheads and you’re making full price out your front door rather than just half,” she said.
If you want to meet Fox and see her pieces, the Filberg Festival runs Aug. 3-6 in Comox.