Who Is This Guy?

Craig Fairley, potter and ceramic artist

Craig Fairley has been creating with clay for over 15 years. He has studied ceramics at Fleming College’s Haliburton School of Art + Design (Barbara-Joy Peel); Art Gallery of Burlington (Helen Beswick); and Mohawk College (Sheila Clennell, Christopher Reid Flock, Duncan Aird and Emma Smith).

Most of Craig’s works are functional pieces thrown on the wheel. They include tableware, vases, and some decorative work.


Craig is married to an incredibly patient and supportive wife, with three grown children and four adorable granddaughters. He lives in Burlington Ontario, a small city on the shore of Lake Ontario caught between Toronto and Hamilton .

His faith informs who he is and what he does, (hopefully) without being preachy or judgy.

His favourite motto is “Never say never.”

What did my world look like before colonization — before the Anthropocene era — with virtually no human influence on the landscape, just trees, meadows, streams, rocks and bogs left to evolve on their own. What will it look like after we’re gone? That is the world I wonder about.

But here is the paradox: While ceramic elements come from the earth — they are part of that pre-human world — pottery, by definition, is made only through human intervention, permanently moving and transforming those elements from the natural to the human world. How to I deal with that?

I am a person who likes order, with things tidily in their place and following a predictable pattern or leading to a logical conclusion. But I also love the seeming randomness of the pre-human world, with its textures, shapes and patterns. What an odd mix of ideas! I suppose that’s why I lean toward free-form and textural decorating on a simple, straightforward pot.

I love working with clay—especially on the wheel. Under a potter’s hands the clay miraculously comes to life, growing and changing, taking on a new form, alive with purpose and potential. And the glazing process is pure magic, despite what the scientists say.

That’s all you need to know about Craig. The rest is too boring to mention.