One of the great benefits of travelling is that you encounter all sorts of different people with different talents and interests.
One of our great joys for the past few years is to go to Stratford, Ontario each summer with some very dear friends for the Shakespeare Festival where we obviously enjoy Shakespeare plays and others as well.
While in Stratford, we have downtime in which we manage to go to the local places and check what they have to offer. A few years ago we chanced upon the old train station in Stratford and noticed a sign for pottery. Little did we know when we entered it and came upon Mary Philpott (now Mary Philpott Mateljan) that we had just found a rare gem that Stratford seemed to be hiding.
MK and I love Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture and the Arts and Crafts movement and the art and furniture which go along with it. When we walked into the pottery studio operated by Mary, we were absolutely blown away by the sheer beauty of the tiles hanging on her walls.
The studio or “atelier” as she now calls it is really quite the basic pottery studio and that is one of the reasons for its charm. The charm of the location is so unbelievably enhanced by the potter herself. She is not only, if I may inappropriately say, beautiful, but also a beautiful person with an amazing personality. The simple interior of the establishment only embellishes the tiles that are displayed on the wall, in baskets, etc. Visible within are numerous works that are in various stages of the evolution from clay to actual tiles.
This past summer, Mary explained to us that she was marrying the Frenchman that she had lived with for some time and was going to France to have a sort of internship experience followed by a showing of the work she had done. Now her work is going to have the addition of the possibility of a certain French influence from Provence.
We love to be surrounded by beautiful things, the work of Mary Philpott Mateljan is amazing and I took pictures of some of the items we have purchased from her. Not only do we have some of her tiles, but also a vase. Our friends have a collection as well that graces their lovely screened in porch overlooking their back yard. So, if you are ever in Stratford, Ontario, one heck of a lovely town anyway, look for the old train station and the Verdant Tile Company. You won’t be disappointed.