The moment Darrel Hancock touched clay everything changed in his world.
“It was a completely magic moment for me and I’ve been doing it since I got out of school in 1980, and I love it.”
Hancock is having his first annual Christmas Pottery Sale and Studio Warming November 16 and 17, and November 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at his studio in Whiskey Creek.
Hancock was born in Port Alberni and lived in this area for four years before moving to the mainland.
While attending Douglas College (now Kwantlen Polytechnic University) with an eye to become a teacher, he noticed the pottery kids hanging out “all happy and friendly together” and thought maybe pottery would be a fun and easy credit.
Hancock was always artistically inclined but he hadn’t done anything other than drawing at that point. He fell for the art form and went on to graduate from the Vancouver School of Art, majoring in ceramics, and has been making functional pottery ever since.
In the early ’80s Hancock set up a business called Mainstream Pottery with a friend and ran that for five years on the mainland while also teaching at a number of centres in Surrey, Coquitlam, and Burnaby.
Hancock has experimented with ceramic art but likes to stick to useful pieces, used for cooking, serving and enjoying.
There is an endless amount of functional bowls to make, Hancock said, and it would take him several lifetimes to exhaust the ideas he has. Commercial dishes have become very generic, he said, but back in the old days there were specific bowls for specific dishes.
He’s happy making pieces to suit a variety of occasions and meals, and he does commission work on request. He’s even made pottery for people with physical conditions like arthritis, making pieces that are easy to hold.
Hancock said everyday he wakes up happy knowing he’s going to be throwing clay, and the act itself is very therapeutic.
“If I’m feeling anxious or frustrated or whatever, I just sit down and throw 100 mugs and just that meditative repetitiveness of the action is a calming experience.”
Hancock enjoys making whatever suits his fancy, but he also pays close attention to what people respond to and that affects what he makes. He hopes people who purchase his pottery get from it what he puts into it.
“I speak to a number of people who say they start off their morning with a cup of coffee in one of my mugs and they look forward to that every morning, and I think that’s great, that’s why I’m doing it,” he said.
Hancocks studio is located at 3505 Harris Crescent. Find him on Facebook under Darrel Hancock Pottery or call 250-752-4533 for more information.