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Rita works from her beautiful rural studio in Brooke Valley built by her husband Tom, 10 km west of the town of Perth, Ontario. Formal studies took her to Sheridan College School of Design in the early 1970’s. Her obsession with clay began under the guidance of Angela Fina and the inspiration of her fellow students at the time. Salt firing was the finishing process of choice. This firing method was both magical and attractive not only because of the end results on the fired surface but as well as the excitement of the actual firing process.
Working with two professional potters in their studios strengthened and deepened her commitment to clay. This gave her a glimpse into everyday life as a potter that she found very appealing.
After firing a salt kiln for almost 30 years she has learned some of the quirks presented by salt firing and can now expect a range of results from any given kiln load of work. Of course, there is still the excitement when cracking the door to catch the first glimpse of the finished firing. She works in both stoneware and porcelain, firing to cone 6 in a 40cu ft sprung arch kiln. Using a mixture of sodium chloride and borax (sodium tetraborate) when ‘salting’ towards the end of the firing process.
Form, colour and texture are the defining features of Rita’s work. Most of her pottery is thrown on the wheel, after throwing a piece is often altered and sometimes re-assembled; these pieces are often oval. Slow changes over time would best describe the progress of her work.