Eagle Clan, Couchiching First Nation, Ontario
I am Mike Peters, a potter and artist of First Nations descent. I was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1963, of Ojibway heritage originating on Manitou Rapids reserve with band membership on the Couchiching Reserve.
I have traveled a long and arduous road to connect with my spirit and culture. I receive the inspiration and creative drive expressed in clay and artwork as a gift from the Creator. My life journey through cycles of pain and darkness has allowed me to recognize and cherish beauty, love and peace.
Early on, I dreamt of a soaring eagle, circling around and around. It spiraled down near me and then became an owl. This dream began my return home, back into the circle of my people. Creating and teaching are ways to help keep the circle strong and unbroken.
Self-discipline and honesty are required to centre and work with clay on the wheel. Clay is in my blood and comes from Mother Earth. She is a natural teacher. The clay provides healing, sustenance, nurturance and guidance. It will not lie.
I have become keenly aware of the inherent duality that life brings us each day, allowing for struggle or surrender. This interplay between the contradictory nature of all creation is evident in my use of black and white, shared with purple and blue, the colours I received while Fasting. Delicate and intense images, alive and full of stories are received from the Grandfathers and uncovered as each piece is created.
I have operated as a professional artist and potter since 1995, returning home to open Four Directions Pottery and Fine Art in Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1998. My pottery and artwork have been shown at native gatherings, museums, galleries and exhibitions across Canada. Private collections and commissions reside throughout Canada and the United States, as well as in England, Africa, Ireland, Germany and the Czech Republic.
I hold a great respect and deep gratitude for the healing, guidance and spiritual strength received through my work.
Over the past seventeen plus years of being in the art gallery business, and having represented, at various times, such acclaimed native artists as Norval Morrisseau, his son Christian (Chimo), brother Wolf, Ahmoo Angeconeb, Goyce Kakegamic, Lloyd Kakepetum, Roy Thomas, Gelineau Fisher, and many, many more, it was Mike Peters’ work, “Gaining Strength & Endurance, that captured the pure essence of native art into my heart, and remains as likely my favourite native artwork of all time. A true lesson of ‘Less is More’, Gaining Strength & Endurance captures an universal theme and spirit that resides in every human being that has ever inhabited this planet. I have seen this painting evict raw emotion from various viewers, including myself, to a degree few pieces of art do, forming a life-long symbolism thereafter, a constant reminder we all need at times. “This, too, shall pass” is often recalled in my mind when viewing my limited edition, having sold the original to a wonderful neighbour, at a trying time, when I was not even displaying the piece for sale. Its new home (an incredible place that I watched being built one summer) was meant to be, with no doubt as the owner thereafter was in charge of a camp for supporting kids with cancer.