Vincent Fe at the potter's wheel.

Into the dragon’s lair: Sooke potter all fired up

Vincent Fe of Dirty Dragon Studio to show at Appetite for Art

Vincent Fe likes to make clay look like something else. His mugs have the look of metal with rivets, his bowls look like trees in the forest and teapots look steam punkish. He is also fascinated with dragons and skulls.

Fe is a ceramic artist who likes to try just about anything including lots of 3D and 2D materials. His studio in Sooke is called the Dirty Dragon.

“It’s about the act of making,” said Fe. “I try for individuality in everything I make. I do pottery and I combine sculpture with the practical.”

He strives to make every single piece just a little different and he is not into pumping out pieces which are all exactly the same. He wants people to know that the item is handmade and someone made it.

“I like to think everything I make has its own little character.”

As he sits at the potters wheel, his hands gently but steadily put shape into a simple cylinder of clay. His hands tease the clay into mugs and bowls, cutting each off as it forms to his satisfaction then continuing until the cylinder of clay is used up. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

Fe loves the feel and smell of clay.

“One thing I like about clay is that it’s an ancient material centuries old, there is so much possibility but it is nothing new and you put your own spin on it. I feel like I’m only just starting to feel competent after 10 years of being serious about it. There are so many things to get to know,” he said.

He tries to focus on techniques other potters may not be using, like his rivetware and architectural teapots.

He is inspired by pretty much everything and there are a number of artists, potters and ceramic artists whose work he finds exemplary, like Richard T. Notkin, Gordon Hutchinson and Cathi Jefferson. He has a fascination with Mexican pottery and would one day like to make Mexican-style pottery with a Canadian bent.

Fe is no stranger to art lovers on Vancouver Island. He had a studio in Fairfield in Victoria and has shown his work at the Sooke Fine Arts Show four times. He won best in Ceramics and Galls at the 2013 SFA Show. He has work at the South Shore Gallery and B&K Jewelry & Gifts in Sooke, and at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Eclectic Gallery in Victoria. He also sells on-line through his site on Etsy.

His work will be shown at Appetite for Art at the Prestige on March 14.

Dirty Dragon comes from his being born in the year of the Dragon.

“It’s a good time for studio artists,” said Fe. “People are taking note and they are giving more value (to art) again.”

Dirty Dragon Studio at 2066 Maple Avenue South is open by appointment but Fe said he can’t always guarantee what he will have in stock at any one time. Dirty Dragon is also on Facebook.