Wild Northerner Magazine Summer 2017 - Page 19

BY JULIEANNE STEEDMAN

For Wild Northerner

I am in love with Kiln Kandy. This is the work from Sudbury based potter Sherry Phippen. She creates whimsical, northern-inspired, stunning pieces of pottery. I came across her work (moose buttons) for the first time a couple of years ago at the Espanola Fibre Arts Festival. Since then, my collection of her work has grown and I have been able to get to know Sherry and learn more about the process behind her work.

Sherry is a maker in the true sense. She says she grew up around people making things and that the act of making something was just something normal, an everyday thing.

“I used to stay with my grandmother quite a bit when I was younger,” she said. “She wove handmade rugs and baked her own bread. We’d spend a lot of time outside and I guess that’s where my love of nature and birch trees began”.

After completing high school, Sherry went to work right away in her family business. Looking back, she thinks that she would have liked to go into interior decorating, but that wasn’t in the cards for her at the time. She got married, had a family and continued working in the family business. As her children grew and moved out, with more time to herself, she started spending more time making things.

After trying out and creating a few different things, many of them from

natural or recycled materials, she really got into designing and creating jewellery.

“I thought about making my own beads to make the jewellery truly unique,” she said. “I asked a friend who was a potter to make me some beads. She told me I should make them myself, so I took a pottery class and really liked it.”

Her pieces of jewellery are truly one of a kind; she combines her handmade beads with vibrantly coloured fabrics that she sews herself. Making beads was the start when it came to pottery - she has since moved into creating buttons, bowls, platters, mugs, knitting bowls and more.

Besides a few art classes, most of her technique has been self taught. When it comes to making something she hasn’t tackled before, she just figures it out.

“I’ll make several drawings, think about the end product and the steps to take to get there, and then I just have a go at it,” she said.

Motivation for creating and making things for her is simple.

“I think it’s just part of who I am. I make something every day. It makes me feel good. I feel like I have accomplished something,” Phippen said.

Success to Sherry is more about making a connection with another person than making money.

“I think that success means I have to be happy with what I am making, and believe that other people like what I make and get a sense of enjoyment from it,” she said. “Making loads of money from what I do is not massively important to me, it’s more about the process and the feelings.”