Cathy Terepocki examines some of her work in her Yarrow ceramics studio. (Submitted/Antony Crook)

Local ceramics artist, Cathy Terepocki, collaborates with retail giant Anthropologie

The “Ontario Collection,” which is now on sale, was designed in Terepocki’s Yarrow studio

Terepocki poses in her studio. (Antony Crook)

Pushing her fingers into the cool, smoothness of unworked clay is an empowering and freeing sensation for Cathy Terepocki, who’s been a ceramics artist for more than a decade.

“There’s just something about clay and the possibilities of clay—it just seems endless,” she said via telephone from her studio, which is nestled just outside of Chilliwack, between Sardis and Yarrow.

“There’s something about the physicality of it, of throwing it on the wheel and lots of mixing and hulling.”

And there’s something about her finished work that caught the eye of America’s Anthropologie. Terepocki, who posses a degree in fine arts, has just finished a two-year collaboration with the retail giant to sell replicas of her work in their stores worldwide.

Anthropologie, which got its start in 1992, markets itself as the retailer of choice for “creative, educated and affluent 30-45 year-old women … who want to look like (themselves), not the masses.” But Anthropologie doens’t just offer a range of women’s apparel and accessories, they also sell home furniture and décor items, which is where Terepocki’s work fits in.

“Anthropologie contacted me about two years ago,” explained Terepocki. “They asked me if I’d be interested in working and collaborating with them on (a) line (of merchandise).

“I’m assuming they found (my work) on social media (because) it was based on a line of dishes I’d already made. They took that design and said, ‘Can you adapt this and make it suitable for garden stools?’”

So after starting with adapting her design to suit garden stools, Terepocki proceeded to design more dinnerware, hardware, and even candles for Anthropologie’s Ontario Collection.

“I would make the prototypes for them, ship them to headquarters in Philadelphia, and then they were replicated in their overseas factories,” said Terepocki.

“It was a fun (project)! It was problem-solving and I love that. I love collaborating. I loved the whole experience!”

And although the line was based on product she’d already completed, there were many original aspects that had to be designed, and Terepocki says the process was quite engaged.

“First were sketches, then prototypes, then samples. It was a lengthy process (but) the line came out this spring and I’m happy with the results.”

It seems as though Anthropologie was happy with the results as well: in February they sent a video team to Chilliwack to film Terepocki in her studio because she was their largest artist investment of the season, having completed 21 pieces for them.

And with 200 stores across the globe, Anthropologie has helped Terepocki’s designs reach further than she ever hoped.

“You can buy the (Ontario Collection) online, and it’s sold in Anthroplogie stores worldwide, which is pretty cool,” Terepocki said.

“People have sent me photos of them in Anthroplogies in Europe and the USA with my work. It’s amazing—I’d never have had that kind of reach otherwise.”

Samples of the work Terepocki’s created from Chilliwack River Clay. (Sharalee Prang)

In addition to having her work exposed to a world market, Terepocki says one of the best things to come out of this collaboration is her discovery of the clay at the bottom of a local river.

“Doing this project was really nice,” said Terepocki. “It allowed me to catch my breath … and to start researching clay from the Chilliwack River. It’s this beautiful red colour, but I’m not totally sure what product to make. I have to figure it out, how to work it and fire it.

“It’s totally different and I’ve had to make things in response to the material, which has been really cool,” Terepocki continued. “It’s the reverse of how I usually work, (but overall) it feels like something (else) really positive came from this collaboration.”

For more information about Cathy Terepocki’s work, please visit her website at CathyTerepocki.com.


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

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