How one Saskatchewan woman followed her passion
If you had asked Susan, in the early ’80s, if she would ever have imagined doing what she does now, it wouldn’t even be thought of as a career choice. But here she is on the verge of the launch of her ‘built from the ground up’ pottery studio as an ecotourism destination venue.
Susan Robertson was raised in Ontario and moved to Saskatchewan in the early ’80s with her husband, and a 17-day-old baby. The move was due to the purchase of a motel in Outlook. “Back when we first came to Saskatchewan, my husband suggested I get out into the community a little bit more;” shared Robertson. “He saw a pottery class offered by Panorama Pottery, and he suggested that I sign up. I fell in love with it and I have never looked back.”
In the late ’80s there was a downturn in the economy, and business was tight for the Robertson family, which led Susan to take a job at the Saskatchewan Crafts Council. As Marketing Coordinator, Robertson met some fantastic artists, whose work inspired her to pursue her passion. Robertson then branched out and studied higher education in the arts. She obtained her Applied Fine Arts- Ceramics diploma from SIAST. There Susan refined her style; and where she learned what she wanted to create. Robertson, pairing her background in business and marketing with her passion, turned her hobby in a business.
In 2021, construction started of a new home and, more importantly, a new studio space in Broderick, 10 km East of Outlook, Saskatchewan. “Broderick is quiet. I look out my studio window and see a potato barn out one window and a carrot barn out the other. We are on the outskirts of town, yet two blocks from downtown. It’s perfect.”
Currently, Susan Robertson Pottery sells products in over 250 stores across Canada. She has two full-time staff, and the operation is still growing. “We have products in high tourist locations, like Banff and Canmore, but we’re also in pharmacies and niche gift stores like hardware stores or stores that carry home décor. We can tailor our products to meet unique demands. In Canmore, we sell three sisters mugs which are really popular, and here in Saskatchewan, we have prairie lily pieces. I love making a variety of designs.” Susan recently acknowledged her almost 400 years of French Canadian Heritage and her life in Saskatchewan in a new design, Fleur de Wheat.
Robertson has worked with Community Futures Mid Sask in the past. She enrolled in some of their workshops and other networking events that they have held. Robertson shared that she is a lifelong learner, “if I get one thing out of a course, I take that it is something to help me grow, it is worth it, and this Destination Creation Course definitely did that. After all, Susan Robertson Pottery IS the only hand production studio in Saskatchewan,” she added with a smile. “That’s my unique positioning statement, something we learned in the class.”
Susan Robertson Pottery will hold a launch of her studio as part of the Economusee network later this spring. The date will be announced soon!
“Eco-tourism is a driving force in our smaller communities. We belong to the ÉCONOMUSÉE® Network Society, which supports eco-tourism and provides support to artisan entrepreneurs. They’ll be here to help celebrate too! It’ll be a great day.”