Many of her Cindy Faulkner’s creations carry a spiritual meaning, and some include inscribed positive affirmations. She feels that the words around the rim of some of her cookware, for example, can help to bring positive energy into their homes of those who purchase the pieces. Raven Nyman photo.

Creating intuitive art with a spiritual message

Cindy Faulkner has a passion for pottery: ‘clay in my fingernails is just a really great feeling’

Cindy Faulkner is a local ceramic artist with decades of experience and inspiration behind her. On Saturday, Sept. 7, she will showcase her work by participating in the Studio 2 Studio self-guided art tour throughout the 108 Mile Ranch.

The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and offers locals the opportunity to visit artist’s studios and workspaces from the comfort and intimacy of those artist’s homes.

Faulkner is one of seven 108-based artists who are featured in the tour this September,

She has worked with pottery since high school, but previously studied in the ceramics program at Capilano College.

“Ever since then I’ve been doing it, either as a member of a community club or [by] teaching, or [doing] full-time pottery. I’ve gone back and forth as a single parent,” she explained. “The feel of clay in my fingernails is just a really great feeling.”

Faulkner also studied architectural ceramics under the guidance of Florida-based Peter King, who is known in the pottery community as “the clay carpenter.”

Her artistic ability has enabled the creation of a hugely diverse range of products, from fireplace facades and tiling to full-scale murals, urns, wedding platters, fountains, prayer alters, incense holders, cookware, and more. She is currently working on many new pieces, one of which is a beautiful sink for a tiny-house owner in the Lower Mainland.

She has also created detailed vases with coloured underglaze and clearglazes, too, but loves to leave sections where the natural clay can shine through.

“There’s something about the natural clay, the natural earth, that really appeals to me,” she explained.

Faulkner previously lived in White Rock before relocating to Chilliwack with her partner. Eventually, the pair settled on the 108 Mile Ranch last December, hoping to attain a slower, quieter pace of life in the South Cariboo.

An artist in many genres, Faulkner is also a talented painter, but pottery has been her lifelong passion.

“It’s very expensive and very laborious to set up a studio but I just haven’t been able to kick the habit yet,” she said.

The creative process is both meditative and therapeutic for her.

“You can go forever but you don’t feel like you’re working because you’re enjoying your process. It’s so mindful. You’re not really thinking about a lot else other than what’s right in front of you.”

Faulkner sells her pottery to the Surrey Art Gallery, Inspired Arts and Gifts in Yarrow, the Gardenside Pottery Shop in Clinton, and the Rise and Grind Coffee House in 100 Mile House, but she also holds a working position with the South Cariboo branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Since moving to the community, Faulkner has attended the Women’s Fair and also set up a booth at the 108 Ranch’s 50th-anniversary celebration. She is also part of the Cariboo Potters Guild.

Faulkner reuses all her scraps and returns any broken pottery to moldable clay for reuse in future projects.

Many of her creations carry a spiritual meaning, and some include inscribed positive affirmations. She feels that the words around the rim of some of her cookware, for example, can help to bring positive energy into their homes of those who purchase the pieces.

“I would call it spiritual, [but] it’s not religious,” she explained. “I’m not of any one particular faith. The spiritual message is the important part.”

Living a spiritual life is an intentional act for Faulkner and an effort that she seeks to incorporate into each and every day.

“I very strongly believe that the intention that goes into those words stays with the piece, then it goes onto somebody’s table. The energy of the piece and those words, they have such a strong intention that it goes with it.”

Carving and sculpting details into her art are Faulkner’s favourite parts of the process but are also time-consuming and costly, she explained: “If I didn’t have to make money, I would just sit and carve and sculpt all the time. Every couple of dozen pieces I have to make something that just comes from my heart.”

Deeply inspired by her surroundings, she explained that some of the pieces in her studio are reflective of the time she spent in Yarrow, while her newer pieces, the ones inspired by the Cariboo landscape, include more “fish and claws.”

Almost everything Faulkner creates ends up including leaves, trees, and growth, she explained.

“To me, that’s life. It’s always growing and evolving and changing. Often you’ll find my work isn’t perfectly balanced or uniform, it’s unfolding. I try not to draw patterns on first and make things very premeditated, it’s just intuitive.”

Often, she finds she has more ideas and inspiration than time.

Nonetheless, through efforts to stay grounded in her spiritual space, Faulkner has been able to continue nurturing her creative endeavours with new colours and ideas.

Faulkner once owned a gift shop in Squamish with her mother where she sold her pottery straight from the kiln, but she also spent time managing a centre for women recovering from addiction in White Rock.

Her time in that position inspired a beautiful collection of vases that reflect an interior struggle, where often, what’s going on inside a person is quite different from what might be outwardly visible to the world.

“There’s so much more going on inside and as people begin to get well and get healthy, all the growth and beauty, people start finding their creativity… all of that comes out.”

Since moving to the South Cariboo, Faulkner’s determination to help those around her has not wavered.

“I think that’s how it works,” she said. “We fill the well. Coming to my new community I wanted to fill my well first because I’m going to be part of that pond. It’s important, I think, to give with the faith that we know that what goes around comes around.”

Faulkner is looking forward to meeting other artists through Studio 2 Studio. In the future, she may even open her space up to small groups of people who are interested in learning how to create pottery themselves.

“I’m very excited about the studio tour, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The tour is hosted annually by the South Cariboo Health Foundation (SCHF) and serves as a fundraising event for the organization. 25 per cent of all art sales from the tour will support the SCHF, along with any additional donations.

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Cindy Faulkner reuses all her scraps and returns any broken pottery to moldable clay for reuse in future projects. Raven Nyman photo.

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