Spotlight on Tamara Cameron
Tamara Cameron drinks a lot of tea. “I like the process of tea,” she said over a cup during an interview last week. “I hate teapots that don’t work and cups that don’t keep your tea warm.”
So, Cameron has made it her full-time business to hand build ceramic teapots, mugs and other forms.
“It’s all very important,” she reiterated, “the way a teapot holds, how it pours and if the lid falls off.”
Cameron is not what she describes as a “production potter” — someone who reproduces the same thing over and over. “I’m always changing the form,” she said.
Cameron grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada and earned degrees in graphic design and Art Education from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1985. She first began working with clay 20 years ago when she decided she wanted to add something different to her life as a stay at home mom. The first class she took was a handbuilding pottery class when she lived in Montreal.
“I think it is important to do handbuilding first,” said Cameron who moved to Colchester 13 years ago. “When you work on a wheel you can get preoccupied with the mechanics… I think people don’t know what clay is like off the wheel; the wheel is very enticing.”
As a handbuilder, Cameron starts with a flat slab of clay and builds forms.
“I think my graphic design background helps me think about how to turn a flat plane into a form,” Cameron explained. “That’s what I enjoy most about the process is creating new forms.”
Creating the work does take a long time. Cameron estimates that one mug takes approximately four hours and then takes at least another 12 hours to fire in the kiln.
“You never get back what you but into it,” she said. “Anybody who works in clay does it as a labor of love… and I’m in a place that I can do that now.”
Three of her four children have graduated from Colchester High School; the youngest is a ninth grader.
In addition to her own work, Cameron has been teaching at the Living and Learning Pottery Co-Op at the University of Vermont for the past eight years. The classes at the L&L studio are open to students, alumni and community members.
This past fall Cameron planed to offer a handbuilding in clay class for the Colchester LIFE parks and recreation program, however enrollment was too low. She hopes to offer the class again if there is interest.
See Tamara’s WorkWhat: Sweet Sips When: Friday, Dec. 12 from 7-9 p.m. Where: One Arts Center, 72 North Champlain Street, Burlington Cost: $8, free for members. Includes two specialty cocktails and use of artist’s mug. Purchase of mug is additional. Details: Mingle, listen to live music and enjoy a hot drink of your choice in a handcrafted mug made by Colchester artist, Tamara Cameron. Mugs will be available for purchase. More info: OneArtsCenter.com What: Cloth & Clay Sale When: Saturday, Dec. 13 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Where: One Arts Center, 72 North Champlain Street, Burlington