Let me introduce you! Chasing Fire Ceramics Studio.

I met Cara Carter through a close friend of mine, Cara’s mom.  Like most moms, Marylin has a tendency to brag about her amazing children.  Once I saw Cara’s beautiful, functional, sometimes whimsical creations, I realized the bragging was definitely warranted.

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I’d be lying if I said I’m not jealous of her talent. I’ve tried pottery. It’s not as easy as it looks.  What Cara does is art.  What I did was schmooshing clay around on a wheel.  

Let me introduce you!… a monthly introduction to some wildly talented people, a glimpse into the world of creativity.


Cara Carter: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

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Cara, modelling a hat she created with a pattern from Tin Can Knits.

I don’t remember how old I was when I took my first real art class. It wasn’t finger painting or playdough, but a class with “grownups”. I remember my mother on the phone, convincing the instructor that I had the interest and the maturity to attend. She was definitely correct about the interest.

Negative space. Hue. Directional light. And the tools? Charcoal and graphite and pastels and…  I was in heaven. That first real art class hit me in my heart. This was a thing I could really do. These were people I could learn from!

I’d always been an artist in training under my mother’s wing. We are “makers”, never sitting still without an idea and drive to create something new.  I don’t know if it’s nature or nurture, but it just is. She is a painter, quilter, and an all-around creative.  All through my life, she would point out the hints of colour within shadows, or the intricate details of the sky above. As we would drive to visit relatives, my mother would pull the car over, and we’d trek through a field so she could take photos of the perfect stormy sky, faded barn, or rusting farm machinery for a future painting. This was normal.

I minored in Fine Arts at the University of Regina, sharing space with the barely contained chaos of creativity. This community drew me into exploring a variety of methods and media, sculpting plaster, trying performance art. I enjoyed it all, and spent much of my spare time with markers or paintbrush in hand.

I continued my primary studies in natural sciences, dabbling with art but remaining enamored with genes, bugs, and chemistry. I had so much envy for my mother’s passion for painting that my passion for science resembled, but didn’t quite satisfy. True love came accidentally when I found the medium that stole my heart: clay.

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Ceramics satisfies my great loves for science, for making, and for art, all in one. The first mug I made that came off of the pottery wheel made me feel like I had mastered the impossible. I make things from mud. MUD. I became infatuated with functional pottery. These items are the tableware you use, the items that have jobs in your daily life, and those daily use items are what I am passionate to create.

My website has a tag “making the ordinary extraordinary” because I feel like that is my calling: everything in our homes should be as beautiful as possible. I create bowls and cups that are part of daily ritual as we break bread with family and friends and wake up with coffee in the early morning hours. Self_Leah6

When someone drinks from a cup that I have made, their lips caress the rim and they are nurtured, comforted, or warmed by the liquid held within. These things that I make often have a personal meaning to the people that use them. That fundamental basis is what draws me back and inspires my new projects.

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When I couldn’t use a pottery wheel with a baby attached to me, I gradually started experimenting with making other things, and the “thing” that has stuck the longest is buttons.

I’m a knitter and crocheter, and I saw a need. Note: When I need things, I tend to try to make them out of clay first. That’s how I started making bookmarks and yarn bowls and magnets. As I played with ideas, I started making more buttons than I could sew in a lifetime, and I opened an online shop to sell my wares.

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I’ve been selling buttons and other wee things in my shop for four years now I’ve started peddling larger items such as yarn bowls and tableware at fibre fairs where knitters, crocheters, quilters, and spinners migrate. The community of fibre artists reminds me of the university fine arts community: full of passion, ideas, and friendship.

The non-tableware items I make are still functional, still part of daily rituals, and now, with pottery and yarn, I’m tying myself to ancient crafts, continuing the traditions from long ago.

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A knitter will use one of my yarn bowls to knit sweaters for their family, and then use my created buttons to finish these garments.

Avid readers and musicians tack my bookmarks to mark their place. Requests now come in and I use them as creative challenges. After all, that’s the only way I’d ever know that I can make hand feeders for hummingbirds, and if my work can be worthy of hosting departed loved ones’ ashes.

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I’m not sure what I’ll create next, but as long as there is a need for beautiful functional items, I’m sure I can keep busy. Makers don’t sit still.

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In addition to keeping track of Cara and whatever she’ll get up to next on her Chasing Fire website, you can find her on Instagram, if that’s your thing. Every beautiful photo in this blog is Cara’s.

Please leave comments, questions, and plenty of “oohs and ahhs” below.  Cara will be able to see them all, and might even jump in with a response!

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16 thoughts on “Let me introduce you! Chasing Fire Ceramics Studio.

  1. How lucky Cara is to have a Mother who removed all the ‘dams’ that prevent many of us exploring and developing any innate artistic abilities and interests that we might harbour. With the dam removed, she certainly has the inquisitive mind to pursue and create. Who knows which of her talented branches will bear fruit next.

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  2. Oohs and ahhs don’t seem quite enough 🙂
    Thank you for the introduction to Cara , that I’m swimming over to for a quick visit now 🙂
    Turtle Hugs

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  3. I’m sorry …my comment made a lot of sense in my head , but now seeing it written out in English it looks quite garbled 😦 Not enough coffee today I guess (if I only had one of Cara’s mugs 🙂
    Turtle Hugs

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  4. She is lucky, indeed, that she has such an artistic and supportive mom. I’m hoping to introduce Marylin soon, as well.

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  5. She is, indeed, lucky to have been supported to follow her own path and discover all of her abilities, David.

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  6. David – I think one of the core starts of artistic comfort is to never be told you can’t, or that you’re “doing it wrong”. It seems like once any of us feel that self-doubt as a child that we “can’t draw” then it halts that discovery of colour, mediums, and experimentation. I see adults who are so blocked because “they can’t” when in fact, we all can if our expectations of a perfect finished product wasn’t so heavy in our minds. It’s a matter of being given the freedom to try and practice with support. Humans are inherent creators whether it’s by putting pencil to paper or scroll to wood, it’s what we are wired to do. I wish children and adults could all have “art” in their world with that basis in mind: yes, you can.

    themateriallady – I wonder if I had inherent ability, or if, in being taught both formally and informally, I developed not only an ability, but a freedom to play. I definitely do have fine hand-eye coordination but is that all there is to it? I’m learning to sing right now and I see a group of children that are growing up with two singers as parents, and they just SING. They have no qualms about it and they can hear and sing harmonies because that’s all they’ve done since they were wee babes. Some of them have much prettier voices, true, but how much of their “talent” is because it has been honed from birth as a natural thing to just DO, and that they practice daily together, rather than something God-given and unique? The perspective of “talent” is something that weighs in my mind as I watch my own child develop.

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  7. What great insight, Cara. Thanks! I am horribly blocked by the fear of making something that doesn’t turn out as it “should.” It’s a major stumbling block I try to get over on an almost daily basis.

    Your comments are inspirational.

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  8. Thank you, Leah, for the introduction. What fun! I covet that first vase with the roses. Extraordinary. I’ve known many a potter in my life, and I’ve never seen anything quite like that vase and its mother of pearl glaze. What a clever idea–the bookmarks! And if I were still crocheting regularly, I’d definitely want one of those yarn bowls. The play of textures in the buttons and wools grabs me too. Thank you Cara, and thank you Leah, again, for sharing her and her delightful work.

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  9. Pingback: Let Me Introduce You! Marylin Carter |

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