Cindy Faulkner plans to spread some love and happiness in the South Cariboo using 100 peace bells.
Faulkner, a ceramic artist who recently opened Sun Spirit Studios in 100 Mile House, is in the process of making 100 clay bells by hand. She intends to then hang them up around the area on various hiking trails for the public to find and enjoy.
“Each of them is different, no two are alike. My intention was to do about 100 of them. I’m at about 30 so far,” Faulkner said. “Some are thrown on the wheel, some are made by hand and some have peace symbols carved into them.”
Using hemp string and clay beads, Faulkner will hang the bells on trees and rocks. She said those that find them will be able to appreciate the beauty and, if they choose, take it home with them. Faulkner said she encourages people to relocate the bells in new places for a new hiker to discover.
“In this way, I’m thinking we’re all sharing the peace. I’m going to bless them all with peace and infuse them with some beautiful healing energy before I hang them in the forest.”
Faulkner said the inspiration for the peace bells came after she struggled to find studio space when she moved to 100 Mile House three years ago. Being unable to make anything with clay was hard for her, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2021 wildfire season.
“During COVID and the fire evacuation notices last year, I was feeling like I was in a really dark place,” Faulkner said. “What I was yearning for was my expression through clay, I was starved for that, and I think that really made me want to do my peace bells.”
Creating with clay has always been a source of passion and inspiration for Faulkner. She started 30 years ago at Kitsilano Secondary School in Vancouver. Once the clay got under her nails it became an obsession for her and ever since, she’s worked to hone her skills.
Over the years Faulkner has created kitchenware, sculptures and large installations for interior design. In recent years, she has chosen to go for smaller pieces, noting they’re easier to carry around.
Like many ceramic artists, Faulkner’s bread and butter is kitchenware, which she designs to be both functional but also beautiful. Everything she makes is designed to be microwave and dishwasher friendly for practical use and will look like a work of art if it’s hung on the wall.
“I just absolutely love clay, it’s like my cheap therapy. I find it very meditational and it just gives me a lot of joy,” Faulkner said. “I feel by making it in a peaceful state and sending it off with love and joy, it’s going to bring love and joy to the people (who buy them.)”
To create her ceramics, Faulkner mostly relies upon an electric kiln firing her pieces at 2,200 degrees Celsius to create stoneware. She does this to strengthen them and make them durable.
For special projects, she’ll use an outdoor raku-style kiln. Faulkner said the technique relies on a reduction process where you heat a piece up to 1,600 degrees until the raku glaze begins to melt. Using tongs, she then places the piece into a pail or hole filled with leaves, banana peels or copper carbonite to cool it.
“Each one comes out different, you’re not in control of the pattern or the design. The flame takes on its own life.”
Carving designs and words, such as peace, love and joy, into her works is Faulkner’s favourite part of the artistic process. She said the perfect time to do this is when the clay has become “leather hard” and has the consistency of a cube of cheddar cheese.
Faulkner said she plans to begin hanging some of her bells this fall and finish the rest for spring during the winter.