PEI·East Coast Studios

This Charlottetown potter's off-season garage studio is a calm refuge

Suzanne Scott owns Village Pottery in New London, P.E.I. Most of the shop's pottery is made in her garage studio in Charlottetown.

'It's keeping me sane just to have a place to leave and spend a few hours'

Suzanne Scott turned her garage into a home pottery studio around five years ago. (John Robertson/CBC)

This story is part of our East Coast Studios series, a CBC Creator Network project. The videos are an intimate look at how creatives shape their studios, and how their studios shape their work. Milliner Nicole McInnis pitched the series and worked as an associate producer. Misiksk Jadis and Sean Doke produced this video for CBC with footage from February. 

In many ways, Suzanne Scott's days are pretty typical for this time of year.

Between November and mid-April, she creates pottery in her Charlottetown garage studio. These pieces eventually make their way to her New London shop, Village Pottery. 

"For me, it hasn't felt like life is very different, other than not being able to kind of leave my property and see my friends and family," said Scott, who self-isolated after returning from Saint Lucia a few weeks ago.

Suzanne Scott said this current situation is a good opportunity to focus on creating. (John Robertson/CBC)

Her studio is a place of refuge. 

"It's like a lifesaver, I would say," Scott said. "It's keeping me sane just to have a place to leave and spend a few hours focusing on making things with my hands." 

Videographers Sean Doke and Misiksk Jadis visited Scott's studio in February and created this video for CBC.

East Coast Studios: Suzanne Scott

CBC News PEI

10 months agoVideo
3:01
Suzanne Scott turned her Charlottetown garage into a pottery studio around five years ago. 3:01

Scott's mom Daphne Large started Village Pottery in 1973. She's still involved in the business, along with Scott's dad and brother. They usually work part-time, along with one other employee. 

Now, Scott's creating alone, which means a lot of work in a time of uncertainty around COVID-19.

"Mom doesn't even know what to tell me," Scott said, who's known as the Potter's Daughter online. "Unchartered territory." 

Scott’s mom Daphne Large opened the Village Pottery shop in New London the 1973. Scott bought the business in 2017. (Gloria Wooldridge for CBC)

Scott is the team captain and event planner for the Etsy Artisans of P.E.I. Normally, she'd be winding down her Etsy shop to get the New London location ready, but this spring she's been adding as much as she can to her online business. 

Scott also runs an ice cream shop and café called Potter's Parlour next to their pottery shop in New London. 

"We depend on the tourists 100 per cent," said Scott. "Our online sales will never be able to sustain how we usually operate."

'Pottery is very messy,' Scott said. 'It's almost like the messier it is the more you're making, which is a good thing.' (John Robertson/CBC)

Scott said she hopes things will return to normal around mid-June. It could be sooner or longer, she said, but she thinks that's what businesses are basing their ordering and work on right now. 

In the meantime, she's hearing from her online community. 

"I'm getting a lot of people right now ordering something because they're not sure whether they'll be able to come to P.E.I. or not, or they just want something comforting."

That's comforting for Scott, too. 

"They'll send a little message saying you know, I can't wait to just sip on my coffee and dream of P.E.I. while I'm at it." 

Suzanne Scott goes by the handle The Potter’s Daughter online. (John Robertson/CBC)

With files from Misiksk Jadis and Sean Doke for CBC, and Natalie Dobbin

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