“A Day in the Life” with Vancouver Potter Jackie Talmey-Lennon

There are one or two alarms before there’s coffee in her hand. It’s 6 am. Jackie Talmey-Lennon runs daily along the seawall from East Van to English Bay and back. Sometimes she hits the gym. Then she goes home to eat breakfast in the bath because only a maniac eats in the shower. After breakfast, she picks up her guitar and practices for an hour or two. It’s fun to be bad at something. The remainder of the day is devoted to pottery.

How do you introduce Jackie to someone who doesn’t know her? You can say she was born in Richmond BC, or she went to Emily Carr, or that she lives in Vancouver with a man and a cat. Her downtime is spent drawing, painting, sewing. Does this tell you who Jackie is? Not really. You can make inferences, but you won’t really get it. You don’t describe Jackie. You describe her art.
It’s dirty. It’s cheeky. It’s weird. It’s like eavesdropping on someone’s dream. Every shape is imbued with its own strange life and character. There’s movement everywhere. There’s joy. There are secret histories. You’ll be fascinated by the detail and the meticulous craft of the work. You can feel the reverence for the technique and the diligence in the execution. You’ll want to share the experience. You need to see someone else react to it. And you watch as they go through the process: joy, wonder, awe. Who is Jackie? The one who did that to you.

Follow her on Instagram and beginning February 8, on CBC’s The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down. You’ll be delighted

-Written by Robert Lennon

Jackie Talmey-Lennon
Bernice is my studio goblin
Jackie Talmey-Lennon
A kiln load at the BC Potters Guild’s Community Gas Kiln
Another gas firing with friends Sue Johnston (left, also a Throwdown contestant!) and Hannah Hashimoto (right)
In the studio preparing to glaze some ruffle pots
Out for a run on the seawall when the weather was better
Here are some works in progress on my cluttered worktable
Jackie Talmey-Lennon
When every table surface in the studio is occupied by clutter I need to get down low.
Jackie Talmey-Lennon
A noodle break in the studio


Which ‘hood are you in?

I live in an attic suite of a big old house in a wonderful part of East Vancouver that has no name. Or perhaps it has too many names. We are surrounded on all sides by the best neighbourhoods. China Creek, Commercial Drive/Trout Lake, Kensington/Cedar Cottage, The Fraserhood, and Mount Pleasant are all minutes from our door. I have access to bike routes, my studio, great restaurants, countless parks, the city’s best alleyway scavenging, and groceries that are nearly affordable.

What do you do?

I make art. All day every day. I may not be established enough to quit my day job but I have managed to quit doing day jobs that aren’t relevant to my chosen field. I now have a day job as the senior technician at pottery studio, Cafe au Clay where I also teach beginner and intermediate wheel throwing classes. Outside of the workplace, I spend my days at my own Clark Drive studio making pottery and sculptures. In the summertime, I bring one of my wheels home from the studio and put together a very bare-bones patio studio. At home, I focus mostly on painting and drawing since it’s something I can do without destroying the living room.

What are you currently working on?

I’ve been making highly ornate, ruffled pots for a little while now. Only recently I discovered ways to deform them and trim them with little feet. I’ve started making pots that lean every which way and look off-kilter and precarious. They have an animation to them that gives them character. Since I’ve begun doing this, I can’t believe I ever made pots stand on flat bases. Who was I? I’m obsessed with this new direction. It brings me so much joy and I have a renewed excitement for the work.

I’m also busy painting my guitar case with a portrait of my cat in a busty Elizabethan gown, an arrangement of florals and disembodied eyeballs, and my fake band name, “Boris and the Mushy Peas”. No, we don’t exist.

Where can we find your work?

I open my studio for visits from time to time and I have a couple exhibition opportunities on the horizon that I’m not ready to announce yet. In the meantime, my Instagram is the best place to find me. I’ll be putting my website and exhibition details up there. It’s also where I share a lot about my process.

On Thursday, February 8 you’ll be able to watch me compete on The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down with 9 other potters from across the country. On CBC and CBC Gem.


About Demian Vernieri 531 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.