Sara Bonnyman works on her wheel during a public event at her studio on Maple Avenue in Tatamagouche. Bonnyman will be hosting an open house on Oct. 7. Lumberjack mugs will be available for $20 and come with hot soup, proceeds of which will go to the Lillian Fraser Hospital Auxiliary, with Scotiabank matching funds raised. Homemade pies will also be available.

Enjoying the fresh air and sunshine while staying in or visiting the hospital can be a huge benefit.

That’s why the Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital Auxiliary is working on a healing garden for patients, their families, and friends.

Local potter Sara Bonnyman’s upcoming open house, to be held Oct. 7, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., will help support that project.

“The hospital auxiliary deserves (support),” said Bonnyman, who has been supporting the auxiliary with her open house for the past eight to nine years.

“At the time, somebody from the auxiliary was working with me and we concocted it over tea. It’s to get more people out – I would like to get more local people out – and it’s important to support the auxiliary.”

Over the years, the auxiliary has provided food for the open house, with Bonnyman donating proceeds of some of her pieces to the cause. Scotiabank has come on board again this year to match the funds raised.

“This year, I’ll have lumberjack mugs that will come with hot soup,” said Bonnyman, noting the cost would be $20.

Auxiliary members will also have homemade pies of all varieties for sale, with fresh coffee available. Bonnyman will be doing hands-on demonstrations throughout the day.

Throughout the year, Bonnyman’s studio hosts about six events open to the public, and she recently participated in the annual Tatamagouche Festival.

“Anything that brings people in and provides interest in the community is important,” she said, while working on the wheel. “My focus is on giving clay to children. We’re so focused on teaching with our heads that we often forget about our hands, and they are so important.”

Bonnyman always has clay at the ready for any children who pop into the studio, and if any stop by during the October open house, it will be much of the same.

Bonnyman has been making pottery and operating as a business for more than four decades, making 30 to 40 pieces daily.

“Not everything comes out the other end,” she said, adding her favourite piece to make is a bowl.

At the age of 14, Bonnyman’s parents sent her to summer school where she learned the art, however never thought it would turn into what it is today. Now, she ships her pieces all over the world, and tries to keep a shipping map updated with pins.

“It was pretty exciting when you’re that old to make a pot,” she said, showing off the first piece she ever made.

When it comes to children, Bonnyman said it’s important not to frustrate them when they starting out on the wheel.

“It takes a fair amount of strength. They need intensive time training,” she said.

During the open house, Mike Cowie and Band will provide some live entertainment and all are invited to pop by the studio at 328 Maple Ave.

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Raissa Tetanish
Raissa Tetanish is the editor of the Tatamagouche Light. She has more than 12 years experience as a reporter, with a background in both photography and photojournalism. She can be reached at 902-305-6177, or raissatetanish@tatamagouchelight.com.