Mariko Paterson’s Forage Studios Ceramics


BY Johanna Hayes

People usually have pre-conceived notions about what something is. The mental image called to mind that describes, for example, a painting, a sculpture, a boat, a beach. When I think of ceramics, I think Mariko Paterson.

I was introduced to Mariko’s work over a decade ago in Alberta by a mutual friend whose home and yard had become a boarding house for the orphans of busy artists on the move. Mariko’s work was featured prominently. From a four foot tall cowboy wearing a Zorro mask and proclaiming “Howdy Pardner” on his belt, to a gallon jug with a face sculpted into it, I was confronted with ceramics like I had never seen before. Since that time I have held all other ceramic works up to that light and measured them with my Mariko Paterson litmus test.

Mariko recently relocated from Gabriola Island, BC to Lunenburg, NS. Now, she and her trio of Dachshunds are on the prowl for inspiration for new works.

It makes sense that she would choose Lunenburg since the focus of her work tends toward the nautical and historical. Bluenose. UNESCO. Seems like a good fit. I sat down with Mariko at the Knot Pub to find out more about her work.

Why Lunenburg?

Well, it’s “not a bad place to start, here in the Maritimes.”

How would you describe your work?

“(My) work runs two separate gamuts as of late. One could be described as a subversive blend of historical and hysterical while the other line combines a love of illustration with a touch of function.”

Although she abhors the word ‘whimsical’, that’s sometimes how her work is pegged. Her candy-coated color schemes and combinations of imagery are rather eye-catching and accessible.

Now only 2 months since her departure from Gabriola Island, Mariko is busy on the production line. She has ordered a decal printer to make custom pieces for people and her work is available to buy at Dots and Loops in Lunenburg.

If you would like to see more of her work, visit

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