Melanie Horner - owner of Firing Time Pottery

About Melanie Horner

How she was introduced to clay

Melanie has been playing with clay since childhood. At the tender age of five, she wrote to Father Christmas to ask for a potters wheel! She would always be found playing in the mud outside as a child. Whilst at secondary school, she was lucky enough to learn the skill of throwing on a potters’ wheel and her passion for clay developed at age 12.

Although Melanie decided to pursue a career as a nurse, her interest in pottery never waned. She has always managed to find her way to some clay by taking various night school courses and workshops along the way and gained knowledge in many different aspects of pottery. In 1995, Melanie finally bought her first potters wheel and housed it in her kitchen (not recommended!).

On her son’s first birthday, she made a clay impression of his hand and foot. This lead her to the idea for First Impressions for babies and children.

Firing Time’s Beginnings

After moving to Canada from England in 2011, Melanie decided to pursue her passion for pottery and set up Firing Time. She loves to have fun creating different designs that bring a smile to a face and her sense of humour shows through in her work.

Raku (which is fired outside) is a specialty that she has been experimenting with. She loves to make vessels and decorate them with horsehair and feathers giving them a truly unique look.

Over the passage of time, Melanie has delighted in sharing her knowledge and skills with others. In doing she so hopes to spark an interest in this ancient but magical skill.

In 2019, Melanie completed a certificate in the Ceramics program at the Haliburton School of Art and Design.   In 2021, Melanie finally realized her dream of opening an accessible shop and studio in Brighton, Ontario.

She is passionate about protecting the environment and has recently installed solar panels in her home to power her kilns. Reducing her carbon footprint as much as possible is a goal so often recycled packaging materials are used in her shop.


Artists Statement

I am cognizant of leaving as small a carbon footprint on our world as possible so I teach with white low fire earthenware clay. I made this decision because firstly I like the white background of the clay and secondly, a lot of my decorative work like clocks doesn’t need to be high fired. More recently, I have switched to a white stoneware clay to make functional wares such as mugs and bowls. The stoneware glazes give a different quality to the pieces and I am enjoying experimenting with this.

I prefer to create pottery with a contemporary look and frequently use underglazes to decorate my work. I enjoy the various effects that these give as they can be used in a painterly fashion, as transfers, layering, colour washes, bubble and marbling to name a few. Colour is very important to me and this is evident in my work.  

I get excited by the endless possibilities of a piece of clay holds, also by the vast array of decoration techniques available too. It is something that I never tire of and am continually challenged by. I especially like to create one of a kind ceramic pieces and take commissions; I’ve never been great with repetition! Having fun with my pottery is important to me and I hope this shows through in my work and the lessons that I teach both in my studio and in the community. 

Raku is another area of ceramics that I am currently exploring and developing my own style. It brings its own set of challenges but is an exciting process and quite unpredictable at times.

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