What we are today
When Joanette Normanton opened Totally Ceramics in 1994 she believed three things; everything creative is worth pursuing, education never ends, and have fun while you’re doing it! To this end we have grown our company to support ideas and possibilities, and to keep more coming.
We carry an amazing inventory of colour, specialty product, accessories and tools to help you achieve “The Look” you have in mind. Seminars, workshops and on-going sessions of ceramics and pottery to learn and share ideas. We have a large selection of in house cast greenware. Traditional (yes we have Grandma’s Christmas trees!), fun and funky garden, dragons, and much more! Also an extensive inventory of bisque (ready to paint). Examples of a wide variety of techniques and products are on display to teach and inspire. When you visit us feel free to wander around and ask questions. We are known for outstanding customer service and are here to help you in any way we can.
Meet our amazing team, each bringing thier individual talents to the whole
Bruce Normanton: Owner
Nadine Normanton: Manager & Educational Coordinator
Bonnie Fensom: Sales & Education
Brandon Mortimore: Customer Service & Shipping/Receiving
Aniket Patel: Accounts & Marketing
Charles Lathwell: Casting
We are proud to be a family business and look forward to combining Joanette’s original concepts with whatever the future brings.
How we got here
Totally Ceramics is the result of Joanette’s (Mom to most) creativity and innate sense of design – anything from Halloween costumes to designer vases. In 1976 one of Mom’s close friends was diagnosed with MS and ceramics was recommended as a way to keep her hands agile. So every Tuesday night Mom would pick her up and take her to ceramic class. It quickly became Mom’s passion and it wasn’t long before she was working under the tutorage of Master Teacher Norma Mathews. Our house became home to an amazing array of everything she learned. Ceramic garden gnomes progressed to functional ware to elegant brush stroke designs, Chinese paste work, porcelain reproduction dolls, china painting and lace draping. She also studied casting and firing techniques, understanding how clay and glazes worked and, of course, the joys of experimenting! Some of the experiments turned out better than others, but she said they all taught her something.
When Norma retired Joanette decided to open her own studio. Her husband (Bruce) announced it could not be at home or he would never see her. So together they worked out what Mom wanted and what Dad thought she should have! It seemed to work out pretty even. Dad decided where he thought it should be located and Mom decided what she wanted him to put in it!
Getting the shop ready for business was a joint family effort. All the planning, shelving, stocking, equipment set-up, painting, and “oops that isn’t going to work” were done by family. Great job everyone!
So in June 1994 we opened for business in a shop we were sure we would never be able to fill!
Nadine (Joanette’s oldest daughter) joined the company full time and for the first two years Alex (Nadine’s husband) did the greenware casting in the evenings after working a full day at his regular job. Joanette concentrated on her first love, designing and teaching classes. We ran regular workshops and once a year brought a guest instructor in from Mayco Colors for a multi-day event.
In August 2007 Bonnie Fensom joined our team bringing an in depth knowledge of different product lines and new techniques. With all the new product lines it became apparent we had out grown our present location. Once again Bruce went to work and we moved to our present location in 2008. Unfortunately there was a construction delay and we had to exit our old building before our new one was ready. Totally Ceramics moved into three separate units, had one computer, one telephone, and all our inventory on pallets spread throughout the units in the busiest season of the year! We thank all of customers for their patience!
January 3, 2009 we opened for business in our new shop we were sure we would never be able to fill!
Joanette and Nadine continued to grow the business, moving into the pottery world with the addition of cone 6 glazes from Georgies, Mayco, Coyote, and Duncan as well as Georgies clays. We continued with classes, workshops, and expanding the diversity of our inventory.
Then, in 2015, renowned ceramic artist Robert Shiozaki agreed bring to his talent and experience to our team. An excellent instructor, Robert put his students first and is passionate about helping them realize their potential. As well as teaching, Robert is guiding us through the process of laying the groundwork for an ongoing clay working program. Visit his website to see his beautiful work at www.robertshiozaki.ca
Sadly, in the midst of all the wonderful things happening in the company she built, Joanette passed away in April of 2017. She is missed for her teaching, talent and knowledge. However, she is most missed for the person she was. Her laughter, her smile of warm welcome, and her sincere interest in everyone she met.