Potter from Mexico moulds a new life in New Brunswick

Elsa Valinas is making a name for herself as an up-and-coming potter in Fredericton, N.B., and her work is symbolic of her life back home in Mexico.

“I am from Mexico so being a potter is not an option cause if you are not rich you cannot afford having a studio, it’s hard,” said Valinas who grew up in Mexico City for 30 years.

The daughter of a single mother, she spent her entire childhood in her mom’s office in the hustle and bustle of the city where she said that her dream of being a potter was out of her grasp.

“Things were not working in Mexico city because of the stress because of all the traffic and all the pollution”

So, in her mid-thirties, Valinas tapped into her adventurous spirit and found the courage to change her life.

She packed up and moved to Canada, attending the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in Fredericton, N.B., where she was finally able to tap into her passion to create with clay.

“I love decorating spaces… finding that little piece that you just know has that beautiful corner that you really like in your house and you have just that little piece of decoration,” said Valinas.

Earning a living as an artist is not an easy road according to fellow potter Matt Cripps from Miramichi, N.B.

He says you have to be willing to get your hands dirty, literally and figuratively.

“I find it is really about you have to put yourself out there and you have to make it happen for yourself,” Cripps said.

That is something that  Valinas is doing each time she carves with her knife.

She says she designs a little piece of home into every each of her works. She hopes to make Canada her permanent home.

“Here you can have a quality of life. I have never had this amount of nature, I have never had a garden before so that is how it changes the perspective,” she said.

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