Tracey Maynard Ceramics
By Laurel Borrowman

Unique Ceramics from a Unique Perspective

When two careers compete, one will eventually win. On one hand for Tracey Maynard, is wireless communications marketing. On the other, studio pottery and ceramics. In the fast-paced, high-priced lifestyle of Vancouver, it's easy to think the business life would win the race. But for Tracey Maynard, ceramics and pottery artist, this isn't the case.

While immersed in the corporate life, she found she needed a creative outlet and started going to a community centre pottery class. "I was soon doing 20 hours per week on top of my other work," she says about how her transition began in 2012.

"It's a very relaxed, very slow art. You have to weigh and measure your material, you have to fire it at the right temperature. It's very methodical and you can't rush it," Tracey says about her attraction to the art form, wearing a clay-covered apron inside her East Van studio while surrounded by pieces at various stages of completion.

Soon after, while looking for some equipment on Craigslist, she found a fellow who was selling his entire studio's worth of gear, for cheap, and decided to really go for it. "I had that feeling that I wanted to take it to the next level." Through instructional videos, picking the brains of her peers, and tons of practice, she did.

It's a very relaxed, very slow art. You have to weigh and measure your material, you have to fire it at the right temperature. It's very methodical and you can't rush it. - Tracey Maynard, pottery and ceramics artist
Tracey Maynard Ceramics, ceramics commissions, pottery commissions, functional tableware, sculpture, stoneware, pottery, ceramics
Tracey with her hands on the wheel in the studio. Photo credit Laurel Borrowman

Beautiful and Useful

Ceramics and pottery is available in all sorts of places, from hardware shops to big box stores. Tracey's strengths are all those things that make her different from those places. "I didn't go to art school, so I make a more rustic, less refined and less perfect piece. Some people are so trained that their work looks like it's from a factory," she says of her adventurous approach. She also really enjoys combining opposing aesthetics. "I like using classic shapes with modern contemporary colours. I like wild shapes with traditional colours."

Her most popular creations are butter dishes, mugs, and mini bowls used for keys or jewellery. And she always creates with her motto, "Everything should be functional or beautiful or it shouldn't be in your home." Tracey's even created a signature iridescent glaze to finish her work with an extra personal touch.

Tracey Maynard Ceramics, ceramics commissions, pottery commissions, functional tableware, sculpture, stoneware, pottery, ceramics
Mugs made by Tracey. Photo credit Tracey Maynard
Tracey Maynard Ceramics, ceramics commissions, pottery commissions, functional tableware, sculpture, stoneware, pottery, ceramics

An Artist Committed to the Craft

Although she's been in her new studio for just a short time, Tracey's future is already looking increasingly prolific. Nestled in a mixed-use warehouse with other visual artists, she's excited to be closer to a strong community – one of the most important aspects of being a creator in Vancouver.

"I get a lot of inspiration from the natural beauty here," Tracey says of using palettes inspired by the ocean and mountains. "The artists working here are very committed," she comments, noting that people continue to create despite the challenges posed by living here, like the high cost of living. "Sharing your hard work with others shows a mutual caring, which is really important."

She also donates her time and work to places like the Strathcona Community Centre, the Roundhouse Community Centre, and studios in the DTES to return the energy and momentum she got from others when she started. But above all, her advice is to "Just go do it! I got kicked out of art class in high school, and here I am." Rock solid words from a clay sculpting pro.

Tracey Maynard Ceramics, ceramics commissions, pottery commissions, functional tableware, sculpture, stoneware, pottery, ceramics
One of Tracey's most popular item, a butter dish. Photo credit Tracey Maynard
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