Mud Luv

This is a newsletter I sent out back in February 2020. And I’m just getting ‘round to putting it up here…

A few of my Pottery Valentines:


EWMA (Enterprising Women Making Art) a social enterprise for Atira Women’s Resource Centre. They are super supportive of women artists, and any money made at the gallery goes to support womens programs in the DTES. I am so proud to be among the artists in their gallery. I also did a rune bead making workshop there last year, and hope to do more. This place reminds me why I love this city!


EWMA is having a special market and valentine making workshop this Saturday February 8th at 800 East Hastings. I wish I could personally be there, but my work will be.


Vikings, Dragons and Fairies in Tinseltown. This shop is – as one should expect – way more than one expects! A perfect balance of silly fun and exquisite handmade. Anna has carved out a little magic queendom amid the neon and concrete. Each time I’ve come into bring her some new work of mine I feel some serious witchy love!


The Wylde Wood Collective – in new digs on 12th Street. Everything is handmade and local, magical. The artists here are all really supportive of each other. I love Melissa Mary Duncan, Tobianne and the rest of the merry band at the Wylde Wood.


Digging a little deeper:


This past year was my first full year doing the pottery thing more or less full time. In this time I’ve been learning a lot about what works and doesn’t work for me. And January has been a great month to cocoon and do some navel gazing. I’ve been seeing the wins in the things that didn’t work so great, and there have certainly been some wonderful and surprising win/wins too.


My big takeaway from my January soul searching is recognizing that I have built up a community of support. I’ve come to have a community of people who I really value – and who really value my work. Some of my biggest supporters have been a few shop and gallery owners. These are beautiful creative souls who curate a space that they hope is loved by everyone who comes into it. These galleries and shops are homes for them, the artists and craftspeople they have invited in, and for the kindred souls who come in to buy and share their own aesthetic and energy – and hope to take away a handmade piece to their own homes.
Another lesson learned; Craft Markets and Fairs may not be ‘all that and a bag of chips’. They are a huge gamble; one can be very profitable – but the next could be a big money loser. In a society that equates money with value, that is very hard on an artists ego. And when you add it all up at the end of the year, they may not have been as profitable as one thought. Usually my best takeaway from a market is having met a bunch of other really cool artists. Many of us work in isolation, so getting together with other creatives in other mediums is really valuable. Markets do have a place in my matrix moving forward, but I’m hopping to focus more on the shops and galleries.


Lesson 3: I have GOT to get better with my own online sales. My Etsy is a mess and my website is blah. Whiney artist baby says…”if I wanted to sit in front of a computer all day, I’d go back to my day job!!!”. OK, that’s outta my system now (not really). But please stay tuned to more electronic ‘radio gaga’…

https://youtu.be/azdwsXLmrHE

A Drinking Horn For Yule.

I hope your Samhain was beautiful, and your winter is looking warm and loving. I have so much new on the go: a new studio space, a new (to me) kiln, and I am having a blast with some new glazes and incorporating wood, metal and fibre into my pottery. I also have some new designs for holiday ornaments. These will be available soon for purchase on my Etsy page, or grab yours now on my instagram

These drinking horns make a memorable gift for family and friends. Email me on ilenabanana@gmail.com to place your order.

The first orders of the season have begun to come in! I’m very excited to be making more bespoke drinking horns for Yule gifts. I’ll be taking orders for custom made “Vegan Drinking Horns” until mid-November that I need to ship, and local orders until the first of December. If you are interested in ordering, contact me thru email, etsy or Instagram (or send an owl) and we can talk about what I can make for you. Look back on my blog and find the story of making seven drinking horns for one family in Alberta last year – each one with a name in Viking Runes carved into it!

I was recently honoured to be included in a wonderful gallery showing at Il Museo at the Italian Cultural Centre. The show runs until December 2nd and the artistry is amazing and diverse. The show is called Malleable, and you can find more about it here: https://italianculturalcentre.ca/blog/events/malleable-exhibition/

I went to the opening of Malleable with my teen students from Kensington Community Centre. The students were brilliant – they asked such good questions, and each of the artists that they talked to were so generous with their knowledge and inspiration! If you have got teens in your life, keep your eyes peeled for the Kensington registration deadlines in December for another round of classes to start in January. These classes have been heavily supported by the Community Association and are extremely affordable.

I am planning to attend a few sales where you can see me face to face. November 14th I’ll be at The Independant Artist Market at the Waldorf. November 23rd I’ll be at the Wildewood Faire at the River Market in New Westminister. And the very next day I will be at The Olde Farmhouse Market at the Abbotsford Tadex – where I’ll be selling my vintage rusty goodness alongside my pottery. Find me under the name The Rusty Wrench.

In December I’m mulling about the idea of a private – invite only – sale in my east van backyard; see how I do a backyard wood firing, share some mulled wine and chestnuts. I’d be inviting a few other artist friends too, so you can get your last minute gift giving taken care of. Email me if you would like to be included on that guest list.

Have a Blessed Winter and I hope to see you soon!

Ilena Lee

Summer is a busy time for a girl covered in mud.

It’s been a long time since I updated you on what I’ve been up to. I’ve been having so much fun, such a busy spring and summer!

I’ve done a few last minute pop up sales. (I know, I should have told you about them.) And had my work in a few fundraising art auctions. (‘Shoulda told you that too.) And was displayed at the Pride In Art Festival at the Roundhouse. (My Bad)

I’m still throwing clay my usual (quite unusual) style, and teaching classes. But I’ve been working more on the wood fired pottery too. And now that I’ve gotten a bit more consistent in the fireing, I’m putting more energy into finding a local clay source. This will need to be a whole newsletter on its own.

In spring I went back to the Isle of Wight with my friend and stayed at his house again –  the house is mentioned in the Dooms Day Book, that makes it older than 1066. Last time I was there I went searching for ‘blue slipper clay”, but this time I found some even better clay to experiment with – and we found it in such a fun way. We were walking on the edge of a field of blooming rapeseed – waving fiery yellow in the breeze – when he pointed out a badger set, as I had never seen one. He suggested that the dirt that had been expelled by the badger looked like white clay – and it WAS! We gathered some up and I processed it – cleaned it all up, made it into a smooth workable clay – and made a small pinch pot. But I didn’t get a chance to fire it. When I go back, it will be waiting for me. I hid the clay and little pot in “Gunga Din’s cave’, an old potting shed no one uses anymore.

I’m very excited for my upcoming sale for Pagan Pride at Trout Lake on Sunday August 10th.I’ve been making some pretty special pieces, including rune beads and ritual bowls. At this Pagan Pride sale I’ll be starting to take orders for Yule commissions. I will make you a magical gift for the Viking in your life: a custom drinking horn, with a carved rune message. I can only make a certain number of these, so order yours as early as you can. Check out the examples below, andemail me if you’d like me to start working on some for you or your friends and family.

If you want to find me or my work I would love to see you at Pagan Pride, or to hear from you at anytime on any of my web or social media channels. Or you can find my stuff at the following places;

(more coming soon. I’ll let you know, I really will this time)

Wylde Wood Collective; River Market – upper level, 810 Quayside Drive, New Westminster

Scout & Co.; 3651 Moncton Street, Steveston

EWMA Gallery; 800 East Hastings Street, Vancouver

One last thing – have a blessed and fun Lughnasadh!

Ilena