Having been bitten by the travelling bug Ron and Rusty Kurenda decided to take an extended trip to Europe in 1972. It was while on holiday there that they were first inspired to pursue a career in pottery. They opened Prairie Pottery in downtown Saskatoon in February of 1974.
Inspired by the exquisitely crafted pieces they saw in European art galleries, museums and castles they felt an incredible connectedness to the long historical traditions of pottery “at work”. They understood the great value of functional pots that become an integral part of the day to day life in a family home; pots that are so much more than mere “dustibles”. They relish the joy of creating pots that become a beloved legacy handed down from generation to generation. The desire to create pieces to be used and loved and enjoyed for decades to come is the stimulus for much of the functional work the Kurendas do today.
For many years Ron and Rusty utilized an 85 cubic foot wood and propane fired hill-climbing kiln in a studio connected to their country home. However, skyrocketing commercial fire and liability insurance made it necessary for them to tear it down in the early 1990’s. Ron and Rusty still miss the thrilling effects achieved by reduction firing and look forward to a time when they can again “feed their souls” and delight their customers with real earthy pots once again.
Prairie Pottery which was opened in downtown Saskatoon by the Kurenda’s in 1974 also carries the work of some of Saskatchewan’s favorite potters. There is not another pottery shop in the province which offers the superb selection available at Prairie Pottery.
In 1992 when Ron and Rusty were forced to move to oxidation firing, they developed what is now their signature Saskatoon Berry© pottery line. They were granted a copyright for it in 1993.
While the “Saskatoon Berry”© design has continued to grow in popularity, particularly with travellers to the city of Saskatoon looking for an “authentic” Saskatoon souvenir, the Kurendas have created other lines as well, including “Early Iris”, and “Plains Berry”. Additionally, they have now introduced a new bronzy colored line called “Country Leather” and are developing a new one-of-a-kind collection which will sell under the name of “Asian Attitude”.
Their work is also available at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon, and at Prairie Unique in the Saskatoon Airport. Additionally their work is available annually at “Bazaart” held the father’s day weekend, on the grounds of the McKenzie Art Gallery in Regina; at the Battleford Handcraft Festival the third weekend in July; and at the Sundog Handcraft Faire held the first weekend of December each year.
Ron and Rusty’s work graces the homes of visitors from around the world.