Photo courtesy of The Northern Kiln
When Rhiane Heslop couldn’t find a way to shop local pottery online during COVID lockdowns, she decided to create one. Leveraging her background in web design and coding, Heslop developed The Northern Kiln, an online platform that allows potters to showcase and sell their works without having to worry about the logistics of e-commerce. From makers local to Ontario, the site has expanded to include artists across Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia.
Heslop first fell in love with pottery in her early 20’s when she attended a guild show in Dundas, Ont. hosted by the Hamilton Potters’ Guild. As a young adult whose first apartment was pretty much furnished with products from Ikea, she was impressed by the diversity in forms, functionalities and designs of the items at the show.
She collects ceramic serving dishes and bakeware not only for their versatility, but also for the intimate connection with their makers. “Pottery is often a conversation piece and I love setting out a platter of appetizers and telling the story of where the platter came from and the hands that made it,” Heslop said in an email.
Indeed, as the artists shape amorphous clay into quotidian items and intricate home décor, they share a part of their journey and a snippet of their life with their buyers. Each mug, bowl, or vase is a unique work of art.
While handmade pottery commands a higher price point than the nondescript homeware in Dollarama, it is durable with proper care. Heslop’s advice? Avoid thermal shock (and don’t drop it!) “Never take a piece of pottery from the fridge and put it into a hot oven; always warm your baking dishes up with the oven as it preheats,” she stressed.
Head over to The Northern Kiln when you’re ready to liven up your day with an artisanal coffee mug and join the #SHOPLOCAL movement.
The Northern Kiln is based in southern Ontario and
ships its products nationwide via Canada Post at a $4.99 fee.
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