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Shaped by an island

Linda Wright's pottery work continues to evolve and be shaped by the sea, sand and rocks that surround her every day.

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Pottery by Linda Wright

Linda Wright is blunt about what brought her to Cape Breton. “A man,” she jokes. But what she didn’t expect when she made the move from Ontario to Baddeck in 2009 was how her pottery would change in the process.

“I never would have thought of moving to the East Coast,” she says. “It wasn’t on my radar. If you want to call it kismet or serendipity, I don’t know.”

When she first started creating functional pottery almost 25 years ago in Ontario, first in Hamilton and then in her studio in Muskoka, her work was brightly coloured and decorated with florals and prints. Painting bold glazes over white glaze was her signature style. She now believes it was a reflection of her then busy, and often chaotic, life with a young family.

Pottery by Linda Wright

While her work is still functional, she has spent the past few years experimenting with glazes. The result is tones of muted and earthy blues, green and apricot. The colours, she thinks, reflect a mature and calmer life in Cape Breton, where she works out of a studio at Big Hill Retreat, a getaway of cabins in the Highlands owned and operated by her partner Terry Henderson. “I think they are calmer and there is a simplicity in my work now that wasn’t there before,” she says.

Originally from Scotland, Wright says much of Cape Breton, in particular its coastline, reminds her of her homeland. She also adds the island has “a sense about it unlike anywhere else.” She says the community of artists is always supportive, especially the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design in Sydney, which she calls a “gem of a place.”

This season will be her fourth creating and selling her pottery from her Baddeck studio. The response from visitors and clients, she says, has always been positive. And she expects her work will continue to evolve and be shaped by the sea, sand and rocks that surround her every day. “It feels like home here,” she says. “I’ve never felt so at home.”

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East Coast Living