GUEST OPINION: Slinging mud and giving to charity

Potters come together to help Sooke charities

An informal group of potters who call themselves the Mudslingers have done it again. But first, a little history on the group.

The Mudslingers are potters who live in the Sooke region. The group is comprised of experienced potters with 25 or more years of experience as well as novice and intermediate potters. They gather several times a year.

The get-togethers may be for a tour of potters’ studios either locally or up-Island, a demonstration workshop in an Island potter’s studio, a gallery or museum visit in Victoria, or a hand-building session in one of their own member’s studio.

What the group loves is playing in the mud, sharing ideas, and getting together with like-minded friends.

Now, here is the part about doing it again.

For the past three years, the ’Slingers, as they are affectionately known, have gathered their wares together and set up shop at the All Sooke Arts & Crafts Christmas Craft Fair that’s held every November at the Sooke Community Hall. The group also sells it work at the Sooke Philharmonic’s Secret Garden Tour in June, and this year, it was commissioned by the Sooke Fine Arts Society to make mugs for the Sooke Fine Arts Show’s gift shop.

Many of the potters don’t sell their work commercially – they just love playing with clay. The pieces sold are examples of the best of the best from the potters – no seconds here.

But we all know that there are just so many handmade ceramics that you can give to friends and family, so to clear out their work and make room in their various studios, the artists sell their wares at these events.

Now, here’s the kicker: proceeds from the sales at these events are donated to Sooke charities. The works, glazing, firing costs, and the potters’ time are included in the donation. The only costs deducted from sale proceeds are for table rentals and bank and credit card charges.

In 2016, the first year that the ’Slingers got together as a group, the potters made $3,500 that went to buy materials for a new infrastructure for the youth art gallery at the Sooke Fine Arts Show, and another $960 was donated to the Sooke Food Bank. In 2017 and 2018, respectively, $1,941 and $2,466 were again donated to Sooke’s Food Bank.

As you can see, in the three years that the group has been doing this, its donations amount to more than $8,800 – not bad for a bunch of ’Slingers who just like playing in the mud.

None of the potters seek any glory in the donations they make to the Sooke charities, so their names will remain unpublished. What they do get from these donations is a warm, fuzzy feeling in their hearts knowing that they are helping the community.

•••

Contributed by the Sooke Mudslingers.

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