article for okotoks newsletter

In 1972, after taking a pottery class from Les Manning, a friend from his Alberta College of Art years, Bob Pike created Pike Studios Pottery in the Eauclaire District in downtown Calgary. The lure and challenge of making a living as a potter had drawn him in. It was 1977 when he met Connie Westrom taking a pottery class at the Banff School of Fine Arts. She had previously lived in Peace River and was the towns’ arts and crafts co-ordinator. That’s where she found clay to be her passion.

     As things happen, Connie and Bob decided to build a life together and work as potters to make a living. In 1978, they purchased the old ’Bricker’s Store’ in a small town called Lavoy, about 100 Km east of Edmonton.  

     It’s now been 50 years since Pike Studios was created, and Bob claims its’ success can be summed up in a few simple ideas. Owning your own retail store, having a mailing list of 2500 customers you treat like solid gold and working long hours at something you love. He also states that most people don’t really understand the arts, so it’s necessary to educate and educate and educate. Tours of their studios and the inner workings are available almost anytime. The more people understand about what and why you do your work, the more they will appreciate it.

A 100% money back guarantee doesn’t hurt either.

     Things haven’t always been easy though. Bob has environmental health problems. This caused him to switch from working with clay to metalwork. The studio with kilns and 40,000 pounds of equipment was moved 9 times, 4 of them trying to find a safe place to set up. Without Connie’s support for Bob, her work ethic and dedication, Pike Studios would have shut down years ago.

     Bob states that his joy in his art and life, is the challenge of making things in a unique and innovative way. That could be renovating a house, building a motorcycle, or doing a sculpture or painting. The joy is in the effort to find new and innovative ways to express ideas.

     Connie states that she loves all of the many characteristics clay presents, while always working towards utilitarian pottery items her customers will use everyday and find the joy she instills in every piece.

      Connie and Bob welcome you to come and browse in their store and

Bob will give you a tour and tell you a story if you have time. They say you’ll know more about the arts when you leave than when you arrived.

They’re there working most days of the week but it’s a good idea to phone the day before just in case.  403 652 5255   

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