In the late 1940’s, a small group of home potters was looking for space in which they could access qualified instruction and professional equipment and tools. They wanted to improve their standard of ceramic work and the opportunity to exhibit in Edmonton. The quest led them to the Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) and the new Ceramics Room at Victoria Composite High School. In 1951, the room became operational with a ceramics teacher and a loan provided by the Canadian Handicraft Guild. Equipment and tools were purchased for the high school students and an initial class of 20 adults. However, the following year the high school program was canceled because of the School Board’s inability to acquire a qualified teacher and a lack of interest from students.
The adult students were determined to continue, succeeded in leasing the Ceramics Room from EPSB, and in December 1952, the Edmonton Potters’ Guild was formed. The organization of classes and the operation of the ceramic workshop became the sole responsibility of the Guild. Equipment has increased, expanded and been replaced many times since then to accommodate an increasing membership and changes in technology. For many years, the Guild produced low-fire earthenware. Following the acquisition of a gas kiln and an array of suitable high fire glazes, the Guild now produces only high fired stoneware.
With 84 members, the Edmonton Potters’ Guild may be the largest group of independent potters in North America. Over 1,000 potters have been trained here and these artisans are now contributing to a flourishing creative activity provincially, nationally, and internationally.