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BRIAN TRUSCOTT
 

Teapot with flourish
  Turtle tureen


BRING LOVE AND CREATIVITY

Brian was born in Estcourt, Natal, and worked full time and studied for a degree evenings and weekends in Durban. In 1969 Brian was lucky to find a job in London involved with offshore North Sea oil and gas exploration. Those were exciting times at the beginning of a boom and involved frequent trips to Europe and Norway and a year in Milan, Italy, where Brian taught himself Italian.

In the evenings in London Brian learnt pottery and started Truscott Potteries, employing local college students. This small business took Brian into another tax bracket at sixty percent! So Brian and friends looked at returning to South Africa, when in the mid seventies, Vorster said "give us 180 days and you will be surprised at the changes in South Africa". Unfortunately while touring South Africa, RSA troops started heading for Angola. That was not the change anyone expected. Next part of the plan was to try and get into Canada, by first checking out opportunities in all major cities from Vancouver to Montreal. A company in Edmonton heard about the success Brian had in Milan and wanted him for a similar contract in Alberta. They battled for nine months with the Federal government before abandoning the effort to get Brian accepted. Brian then decided to get a friend and himself into Canada as self-employed Pottery entrepreneurs.

Niagara Falls was an easy choice as it was considered a depressed area and so scored more immigration points, yet it is within a days drive of half the population of North America. Immigration to Canada meant a new studio and a whole new set of circumstances and materials to adapt to. Courses, workshops, lectures, dialogue, visiting other studios, etc. still help maintain an enjoyable learning process. Select pieces have been accepted in a variety of regional and national juried shows, and featured in prestigious auctions in New York City and London, U.K. Amongst notables who have several examples of Brian's work are Prince Phillip - Duke of Edinburgh, and Oscar Peterson.

Television programmes on Brian's pottery has been used by many teachers as part of their instruction to students, and has been repeatedly aired by several tv companies. Throughout his career Brian has actively supported craft, art and pottery associations. For several years he has served on the Board of FUSION - The Ontario Clay and Glass Association, www.clayandglass.on.ca, latterly three years as President. For several years he also served on the executive of the St.Catharines Craft Guild, including two terms as president, and acted as a regional representative for the Ontario Crafts Council.

Brian has taught pottery through art associations and privately, and has demonstrated at public shows, galleries, associations and guilds. He has had various magazine articles published about potters, crafts, and workshops. Torontonians can see his work at the One of a Kind show, The National Trade Centre, November 28 thru December 8 2002. (www.oneofakindshow.com)

Brian has never thought of leaving Canada. It was as if this is where he always belonged. Canada stood for the same principles that Brian fought for. A land of opportunity with a social conscience. Family, close friends, and a love for South Africa have drawn Brian back to RSA every few years. He has maintained a keen interest in developments there. In the early days in London and Toronto there seemed to be a regular flow of protest plays and musicals from RSA. Brian never missed any. Many friends from South Africa visited in London, and often while catching up with all the gossip in Afrikaans, so no one else could understand, someone else inevitably would! One time on a London underground the gossip was especially juicy when two elderly ladies said in Dutch that it must be that strange tongue from South Africa. After embarrassed laughing they got talking and took them for tea.

When negotiating contracts in Brussels, Afrikaans was very useful The Belgians would assume that coming from London, working with an American company, maybe Brian could speak French, but surely not Flemish. They would talk amongst themselves in Flemish and Brian would sit and look stupid, all the while understanding them. Brian believes that the ability to speak a second language develops that part of your brain, which makes it easier to learn other languages, of which he can moderately communicate in five and has studied three others. Brian pleads that whatever you do as a new immigrant in Canada, make sure you also teach your children all the languages you know. It is so easy for children to learn another language, and you never know when that could be useful later in life.

Brian has never apologized for being South African, or felt embarrassed about it. He do not judge a person by the colour of their skin, or by what language they speak, or by their way of life or sexual persuasion. As such he expects people to judge him as a person only. He believes as new immigrants we should all leave behind all the old prejudices we might have learnt. Bring only love and creativity with you.

*Contact Brian at Niagara Studio Pottery, 3678 Main Street, Niagara Falls, Ontario, L2G 6A8. Tel:905-295-3775, Fax 905-358-3136 or bri.t@sympatico.ca