South Surrey potter Sue Johnston, of Seaspirit Ceramics, is on the brink of making her television debut as a competitor in the new CBC reality series, The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down.
As a member of the Semiahmoo Potters Club, one of the founding members of the Crescent Park Pottery Studio, and a long-time Surrey resident, Johnston’s ties to the city run deep.
What is your connection to Surrey?
My family has lived in Surrey for 25 years. We raised our children here and now some of our grandchildren too. I taught high school for the Surrey school district for over a decade and my kids went through Semiahmoo and SFU Surrey. After retirement, I returned to university at KPU Surrey, completing the ceramic’s certificate program. My husband and I have signed up for the Coldest Night of the Year walk for Sources Surrey and are on the steering committee for the homeless dinner at the Gracepoint Community Church. It has been such an exciting period in Surrey’s growth and development and we love being part of it!
How does the community influence your work?
The community of Surrey has impacted my work because of the programs and opportunities here that gave me a way back into pottery and ceramics. Meeting Don Hutchinson a (long time Surrey resident) again as an adult and having the privilege of his mentorship of our entire Semiahmoo Potters Club was truly serendipitous. Also, the rural setting that is part of life here – horses at our neighbours and pigs down the street with shopping five minutes away – has given my work a feeling of authenticity as I incorporate Canadian horned sheep, goats and cows into my rustic work.
Premiering Thursday, February 8 at 8 pm (Pacific time) on CBC and CBC Gem, The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down is a competition series that revels in the remarkable creativity of Canada’s best amateur potters. Featuring clever challenges, beautiful creations, and personal stories between layers of humour and discovery, the series unearths what inspires the potter’s passion for clay.
Throughout eight, hour-long episodes, the series follows the trials and tribulations of ten passionate potters, drawn from every background and every corner of the country. They’ll attempt to prove their pottery prowess by creating a range of beautiful objects, from table lamps to fountains, to dinnerware for a nine-course tasting menu, all made out of heaping mounds of clay.
The series is shot in what once was the ceramic studio at the former Emily Carr School of Art & Design on Granville Island in Vancouver, and hosted by Jennifer Robertson, of Schitt’s Creek fame. The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down also features Vancouver’s famous passionate potter Seth Rogen as a featured guest judge. Rounding out the cast are expert judges Brendan Tang and Natalie Waddell, and studio technician, Vin Arora.