Cynthia and Kathy enjoy mother-daughter bonding at West Point Grey CC’s Pottery Studio

When Cynthia Liu wanted to find a pottery program for her daughter, Kathy – who is now 12 years old – it didn’t take long before people directed her to the Pottery Studio at West Point Grey CC.

“I wanted to expose my daughter to different things, and she was interested in learning pottery,” recalls Cynthia, who has worked in human resources and accounting, but is currently taking time off to raise her daughter. “I found out that West Point Grey CC has pottery programs and registered my daughter.”

“While my daughter was in the class, I would go for walks around the beach and forest nearby. It was really nice.”

New experiences in a new home

Five years ago, and after a stint in downtown Vancouver, Cynthia moved to the area where West Point Grey, Dunbar and Kitsilano meet. She and her family love their new neighbourhood. They’ve made many friends, several of who take music lessons – such as piano and violin – at West Point Grey CC.

Thanks to Kathy’s efforts in the Pottery, Clay Works class at West Point Grey CC, their home garden now has quite a few clay cups and trays that serve as planters and artistic accents.

Seeing how much her daughter enjoyed creating art from clay, Cynthia jumped on the pottery bandwagon and signed up. “Every class, my daughter would bring home some ceramics, and I loved it. So I asked if I could join the class, and they told me that there were adult classes I could take.”

Cynthia signed up for the Pottery, Hand and Wheel, Beginner class. “It’s been a struggle,” she laments, “but I see others making progress, so I know I can, too.”

Cynthia has already made two trays and a little bowl. “The first time on the wheel was so hard,” she sighs. “Everyone seemed to get it but me. I had a hard time balancing the wheel. The first time I tried, the pottery went sailing.”

But, she remains optimistic: “I know there’s still a long in front of me; I’m in the process of learning.”

Cynthia says she enjoys overcoming the challenges she’s faced taming clay to create her art. She also appreciates being able to do something as unique as throwing and hand-building pottery in a dedicated studio where she can work with other pottery enthusiasts.

“I don’t mind asking people if I have questions, and they are very kind to answer to the best of their knowledge,” says Cynthia. “Members, teachers and students there are very friendly and informative.”

A beautiful and affordable space to explore

Another draw of West Point Grey CC for Cynthia is the heritage buildings we have all grown to love.

“I really like the heritage style building,” she says. “It feels homey and different from the new concrete and glass buildings. Also, the trees and surroundings are very unique. … It brings some history to the community, and I think that’s really special and precious.”

Another plus is the cost-savings of going to a public community centre, versus a private company. “Community centres have very inexpensive programs, which I really like,” she says. “Private companies are almost twice as much.” Plus, Cynthia adds, community centres are “a place for people to be active and find information while staying in their community. They expose people to a diversity of other people, programs and activities, and you can meet and make new friends.”

West Point Grey CC keeps Cynthia and Kathy coming back for more because it’s a place to try something new – with no strings attached – make mistakes, build confidence and acquire life-enriching skills.

“I think that sometimes it’s very intimidating for people to start doing something new,” reflects Cynthia. “But, once you break down that wall and take the initiative to ask people questions, you realize that there are people out there you can rely on for information and inspiration.”

“We’re all learning a skill. As long as you take that first step, you’ll be amazed at what you can do.”