Tanya Frew – Day trips lead to a life in the hills
June 10, 2010
Tanya Frew of Pottery Parties in the Hills discovered the hills when she was a little girl taking regular family road trips. Take a peek inside the studio and life of Tanya in today’s Nest Profile.
Tanya Frew discovered the hills when she was a little girl taking regular family road trips with her mom, dad and sister Lisa along Forks of the Credit, discovering new country towns.
“When he was in England my father would always find these great inns. Then he started finding them here in Canada.”
Those day trips are a big part of what led Tanya to make the move north from their home in Brampton and start-up her now thriving business, Pottery Parties in the Hills.
Pottery in the Hills is what Tanya calls a Mobile fired art studio. She was inspired to start the business after vacationing at a ski resort where they came across a beautiful little pottery shop where you could create and paint your own pieces to take home. Not long after, Tanya went to school to study pottery art, did some research and decided that she could bring affordable art into the homes of her community.
Her company would set up, teach, clean up, and take home pieces to fire and on a spring day in 2006 she had her first event at a little girl’s birthday party.
Before Pottery Parties in the Hills, in her ‘real life’ as she refers to it, she was working all over the province in a career that had her travelling quarterly. In 11 years she held 11 different positions during her career with Jenny Craig in training and management.
“It was fun. But it was busy,” she said of the job that had her on the road from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. She decided she needed to make a change. “I wanted to stay and work in my community.”
All of this led Tanya to the final decision to leave her ‘real life’ behind and start up Pottery Parties in the Hills.
“It doesn’t feel like a job!” she says when asked why this doesn’t feel like real life. But that’s not to say she’s not busy. Some months are busier than others. In November she had just two days off, in December two weeks. The peak times are the holidays and she needs to plan ahead.
Frew’s newest initiative to address the demands of her growing business is her little travel kit. The package includes brushes, cloth, ceramic, and paint along with step-by-step instructions creating an art event set at the client’s pace. This has allowed her to be in two places at once.
Being in two places at once allows Tanya to make time for the people who are really important. Her “very supportive husband” Ryan and their son Blake.
Frew says when she and Ryan were looking for a place start their family Orangeville seemed a perfect fit. “Orangeville is right at the centre of all the quiet country.” Ryan, she says, is a suburban man at heart so living at the edge of the growing community works for them.
“Once Blake was in our lives, I didn’t want to give that up,” she said of time that can be taken by travel and long commutes. She wants to spend as much time with him as she can and says she feels fortunate that Pottery Parties in the Hills has provided the flexibility to spend time with her young son.
As one might expect 5-year-old Blake has become quite the artist. He has painted 40 or more pieces.
“I keep some of his dishes and gifts in an antique display case in my kitchen. It holds about 20 little masterpieces. I love his tiny hand prints, which you see all over his artwork.”
Now he paints pictures on plates and she keeps them in the kitchen cupboard, and has his clay hand and foot impressions tucked away around the house reminding her of how quickly he is growing.
Working at home
For Frew spending time with the family and building a business in her community has meant that she can get to know the community better.
“When I was working we never had time. It’s nice to know your neighbours,” she says.
She knows them now. So well now that she is recognized everywhere she goes. Her husband calls grocery shopping “an event”. Aisle after aisle there are familiar faces, so they’ll end up chatting and catching up on family lives, growing children. “I like to stop and catch up. I’ve done foot prints and handprints of their babies. Mom’s are talking about doing this year’s prints.”
What’s ahead? Tanya’s not sure, but she’s enjoying what’s she’s doing. She’s getting invited to join business organizations and community events and she says there are still so many babies whose tiny footprints need to be captured.
Where she shops
Habit, Pear, Noinkees
Where she eats
Mochaberry, Mono Cliffs Inn
Where they play
The Parfect conditions indoor simulators,
The Simcoe Railway in Tottenham