Name: M-R Newell
Medium: Wood-fired Stoneware
How long have you worked in this medium? About 20 years.
Were you formally trained or self-taught? Mostly self taught but had the really good fortune of taking a few courses from exceptional teachers.... (glaze technology, for example, which is insanely important to the functional potter).
What do you love about your medium? I love that I can take a lump of clay throw it into a form. Fire it, and serve food to my family and friends in it the next day. The turnover can be a matter of a couple of days... highly rewarding... almost visceral satisfaction.
What is your least favourite aspect of your medium? I think most potters would smile and say glazing is their least favourite aspect.
What do you listen to when you’re working in the studio? I have been a devoted, some say rabid, fan of Rush since I was a teenager... with over 40 years of music to chose from, there is always something to listen to that suits your mood.
Favourite things to do when you’re not working in the studio? I love to bake and cook, hang out with my husband and dogs. I walk, bike, kayak, read and drink copious amounts of coffee. I'm also learning to spin my dog's hair into wool - he's a samoyed and the hair is quite wool-like.
Favourite artist / craftsperson of all time and why? Hmmm... well obviously every guy in Rush... but my favourite potter is John Leach... a third generation British potter.
Favourite book? Nothing I have read has ever surpassed my love of To Kill A Mockingbird.
How long have you lived in Muskoka? I've lived in Muskoka all of my life, save when I went to university.
Favourite restaurants in Muskoka? We don't eat out much... we're vegan.
Favourite road to drive in Muskoka? Highway 141 from Utterson to Rosseau.
Favourite place to hike, bike or walk in Muskoka? Stephenson Road 8. We walk from our house around to number 8 a few times a day. With our dogs we see a wetland full of herons, moose, bitterns, deer, ducks, hawks. We've seen northern lights dancing over the pond, full moons, a lunar eclipse... oh and some mosquitoes and deer flies... if you live in muskoka you know the drill!
If you weren’t an artist/craftsperson, what would you be instead? Tough question. I have so many interests... maybe a baker or a chef in my own vegan restaurant.
Visit Mary-Ruth's Artist Page to learn more about her work.
('Ask the Artist' is an ongoing Q&A series that provides a little bit of insight into the lives of the members of the Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour)