Nova Gabriola

i. I (Kate Wood) work in clay now, mainly as a potter but I occasionally go back to painting and drawing.

ii. On a ‘typical’ day, you’ll find me:
I  have learnt I do best when I split my day into segments. I used to beat myself up for not being able to work for hours and hours at a time on my work. Now I do some work in the studio and the rest of the time working at my other jobs, or doing the administrative stuff that goes along with the  making. Bookkeeping, marketing, those kind of things.

iii. The name of our upcoming show is:
Nova Handmade. It is part shop and part gallery in a gorgeous timber frame retail space.

iv. In describing the show in 3 sentences or less, I’d say:
Nova is an enterprise I took on to fill the recently vacated  gallery space in our Gabriola Island village. It is a collection of 25 artists and makers under one roof, for 23 days over the Christmas season. There is currently no retail space venue that sells local handmade goods and art, so I decided to make it happen.

v. When you come to the show, you’ll see:
A dazzling array of jewellery, pottery, wood sculpture, fused glass, metal art, handbags, felted scarves and hats, prints, tarot decks, drawings, and paintings. .. and more. Almost everything at Nova is made on Gabriola.

vi. The inspiration for this show comes from:
Someone needed to do it – and I have done pop ups before on the island. Also I had a lot of experience from working in this space for many years when it was a shop and gallery + cafe called Artworks.

vii. One challenge in developing this show was:
The size of the space: 4500 square feet. It ended up that I had plenty of participants and more than enough stock to fill the space. It went from being a cavernous 1 1/2 floor retail space, to a vibrant and warm shop and gallery.

viii. My past work includes:
I have always aspired to live as a maker and artist. Have I been “successful “  at it? Not in the way I thought I would be starting out.

I started with a BFA in painting.

I have been on Gabriola Island for 20 years; I moved here to learn how to make silver jewellery not too long after art school. I did that for years, selling at markets and in shops. Maybe 8 years ago, I got back into working with clay at a friend’s studio. I hadn’t touched clay since high school. This  led me to go to the Kootenay School of Art and take the ceramics program there in 2015. I was worried about being the oldest in the class at 41, and I was, but it was so much fun, and such a positive experience I quickly learnt how stupid it was to worry about my age.

Working with clay is where my heart is, but this took me 36 years to discover.

ix. Putting a new show out into the world feels:
I oscillate between feeling triumphant, to being nagged by negative self talk when feeling tired. Stuff like” who do you think you are doing this?” and “how can you ask people to put their money and work into it?”

x. After this show, I’m looking forward to:
I want to keep it going ! I would love to have this endeavour morph into a couple of studios, a gallery space, cafe and shop, but the rent is so prohibitive. I am looking for some solid people to collaborate with to make this a reality. One business owner would get crushed under the overhead (as they have so far), three or four small businesses running under one roof just might work.


Header Photo: Annie Spratt


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