The Craigleith Heritage Depot has partnered with the Blue Mountain Pottery Collectors Club (BMPCC) to bring the Blue Mountain Pottery Expo to the Beaver Valley Community Centre in Thornbury July 23-24.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the BMPCC’s annual convention, and Andrea Wilson, curator at The Blue Mountains Public Library, is excited that the celebration will take place where it all began.
The weekend event will bring together experts, collectors, pottery employees, historical societies, craftspeople and the general public to discover the charm, history and importance of Blue Mountain Pottery.
“We really want to engage the community to help us tell the story and celebrate its legacy,” said Wilson.
Blue Mountain Pottery was established in the early 1950’s by Jozo Weider as part of his business portfolio at Blue Mountain. It was made with clay from the ski hill and neighbouring beaches and became a huge success, providing the economic foundation for Blue Mountain Ski Resort and becoming well-known around the world.
Blue Mountain Pottery closed in 2004, but its beautiful glass-like blue-green glaze can be found in antique stores and thrift shops to this day.
“It’s quite a growth story, the pottery was very successful and became known around the world,” said Wilson. “It really has a world presence, and we’d like to share that with the community again.”
The event will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with admission by donation.
Attendees can browse the sales and show floor to see the variety and colour of the pottery production, visit exhibits from local museums and historical societies and long about the origins of the pottery.
The Craigleith Heritage Depot will also be premiering its latest Reel History documentary film about Blue Mountain Pottery. David Bennett, the last pottery designer for Blue Mountain Pottery, will be demonstrating how to make the pottery on a wheel. Bennett created a 20th-anniversary tile for club members that features the Craigleith Heritage Depot and any remaining tiles will be available to the general public for purchase.
The Craigleith Heritage Depot has also started working with author and retired Royal Canadian Museum staff member Conrad Biernacki to produce a book that will tell the story of Blue Mountain Pottery and its legacy. The proceeds from the expo will support the development of the book and ensure this history is preserved for generations to come.
To gather more information for the production of the book, the event will also include a pottery staff reunion area, and Wilson hopes to get as many people as possible who worked at Blue Mountain Pottery to come and share their stories.
“The book will give you that really rich history,” said Wilson. “We are trying to find the people who worked at Blue Mountain Pottery because they can tell us their story best.”
A new 16-month calendar featuring the museum collection will also be available as a fundraiser for the book.
Attendees of the event will also be able to mail a postcard from the event using a special Blue Mountain Pottery cancellation stamp created by Canada Post.
“It’s been a really community-driven process,” said Wilson. "We are hoping as many people can come out to support the museum and the collectors, and maybe even start their collection for the first time!"
Click here for more information about the expo and the event outline.