Kay Ceramics

“My focus is on expressing the environment around me through organic shapes and colours.” - Karla Strickland
A beautiful tradition in the history of humanity, ceramics have provided an outlet for artists to express their creativity for thousands of years. Combining art, tradition, design and functionality with exceptional techniques, Karla Strickland creates her works to reflect the colours and textures in the environment around her.

Moving to the West Coast of Vancouver Island as a young woman and working deep within the forests along the northwestern tip, Karla was left completely in awe of the ocean, trees and animals around her. Inspired by the culinary community on the Coast and her innate passion for nature, it was a natural decision for her to experiment with pottery and tableware.
While working on her degree in Psychology, Karla fell in love with ceramics and decided to make the leap to pottery full-time in 2019. Her business, Kay Ceramics, is a women-owned and operated small business, located in Ucluelet, BC.
You can find the studio and small gift shop downtown and see pottery made in real-time.

“Pottery for me is an expression of the environment around me, and the PNW is an endless supply of inspiration.” - Karla Strickland
She has three main focuses in her business; Studio and gallery which she does through working directly with the public, teaching pottery through the community recreation department, and wholesale for retail businesses which include design work and her own unique ceramic line of functional wares.

We were lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Karla creates her design work for Tofino Soap Company.

Working with the Tofino Soap Company team, Karla comes up with a functional design plan for our company's needs. She then works through the process of figuring out how to make and fire the product. Some of the items are made with stoneware clay and she uses a variety of hand-built and wheel-thrown methods to create the wares. 
Wheel-thrown pieces are all made by Karla on the pottery wheel and they then go through the process of firming up. They are then brought back to the wheel to be trimmed, polished, and have the logo added.
Some of the wares are made using clay casting slip, this is a mixture of stoneware clay and water to make a liquid form of clay that can be poured into plaster casting molds. The plaster creates a hardened outer shell which we keep to make the candle holders and some of the soap moats.
The casted pieces are flipped and over a few days, Karla is able to pull the wares out of the molds and spend time refining the vessels. 
Once all the wares are dry, they are loaded into the kiln. Once cooled they are unloaded, washed, and sanded for a second time to prepare them for glazing. 
They are then loaded back into the kiln where they receive their final firing, in which we bring it to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit which allows the clay to go through the vitrification to become what we know as ceramics stoneware.

Each of our candle vessels, terracotta and our original collection is uniquely handcrafted by Karla with versatility in mind. Once you have enjoyed your candle, simply wash it with warm soapy water and let your own creativity take hold as you decide how to use yours.
If you’re interested in purchasing from or working with Kay, you can find her information at https://www.kayceramics.com/.
Or connect with her on Instagram or Facebook.

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