The Donn Zver Pottery studio is located in Troy, Ontario, a tiny village located along Highway 5 not far from Cambridge. They specialize in a broad range of “useful pottery” like dinnerware, which you can buy as individual pieces or a whole set, as well as vases, wine coolers, and casserole dishes.
My sister and I visited the studio recently, after I became curious about it when I received a gift of one of their beautiful tankards and looked them up on the web.
Donn Zver was started by the potter by the same name back in 1972. Mr. Zver and his apprentices also make gorgeous oil lamps for those who like the country look, as well as funeral urns and even bird baths. Here are some bases for bird baths for the garden, sitting on the shelves waiting for their turn in the kiln:
They also make cute little brooches from clay. I bought one of a cat as a souvenir.
Speaking of cats, the pottery has several resident cats who roam about in the shop and in the garden outside. This one was quite curious about us and followed us around as we browsed. Here's the cat.
And here's a sweet spot in the garden.
Each piece of Donn Zver pottery is handcrafted, and if you’re lucky you’ll be there when one of the potters is working on a new piece and you can watch the process up close and see the kiln where the pottery is fired. Or you’ll be there when a group of potters is visiting and you can tag along for a tour by the master potter himself, as I did.
|Photo of interior of café is courtesy of Café Troy; all other photos on this page are by Guylaine Spencer|
The pottery has its own café right on-site. We decided to have lunch here. The room is done in an elegant country-style. The beauty starts with the unique cabinetry at the entrance and continues with the antique chandeliers hanging from the soaring ceiling. The stained glass windows (local antiques hand-picked by Zver) make you feel like you’re in a Victorian conservatory.
The food is fresh, mostly local and delicious. I had a good quiche. I find it hard to get decent quiche in a restaurant – it’s usually soggy or rubbery – but this one was done right. They have tasty fresh bread too.
Of course the meals are served on Donn Zver pottery so you get to try it out before you buy some for your own home. I was a little surprised to see that even the water goblets were pottery instead of glass.
In the Area
This area of rural Ontario is great for antique shopping. There are several shops and a few big antique markets nearby, such as the Freelton Antique Market, Southworks in Cambridge, and Aberfoyle Market (a Sunday-only outdoor market). It’s also close to the African Lion Safari. You could easily visit the pottery in the morning, for example, have lunch, then take in one of the other local attractions in the afternoon.
Note: If you’re interested in Ontario ceramics or Ontario ceramic artists, see the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto (large!) or the smaller Canadian Clay and Glass Museum in the nearby Region of Waterloo. Both have good shops where you can buy works from contemporary potters. Another place to buy Canadian art pottery is The Guild Shop in Toronto, run by the Ontario Craft Council, or at Bounty, also in Toronto. If you’re in Dundas Ontario, check the small but satisfying Carnegie Gallery.
For more information
Visit the website at www.donnzver.com
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