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Montreal mom turns 'me time' into special ceramic creations


Sitting in the basement of her home in Montreal's Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough, Dorita Ker listens to the whirr-whirr-whirring of her pottery wheel.

It's one of the few moments of quiet for this mother of two -- time she carves out each day specifically to spend time with herself.

"My oldest is four, and my youngest is seven months old," Ker explains. "I try to fit in pottery time whenever they're sleeping, napping, or whenever I'm in between meetings. I try really, really hard. It's not easy, but it's feasible."

Almost 20 years after her first encounter with clay, Ker says she was searching for something to occupy her mind during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She gradually dedicated part of her basement to her studio, equipped with a wheel, kiln and shelves to store her creations.

"Initially, this part of the basement was my playroom, and then I kind of convinced my husband to let me take a little bit, like a small part, and then the small part grew bigger and bigger," she recalls, adding part of the process was having multiple specialists come in to make sure there was enough ventilation and power for the kiln.

Ker explains ceramics are her safe space, where the noise and chaos of everyday life fade away as the potter's wheel turns.

"Juggling motherhood and a career and just life in general, it gets so hectic," she said. "For me, pottery has helped me carve time for myself and be a better parent."

Ker says she lives by the philosophy that in order to take care of others, you must take care of yourself first.

"You just have to take a step back and prioritize because nobody's going to prioritize for you, nobody's going to be like, 'hey, you, take time off,'" she said.

Ker says she started small, doing a little bit each day until it became part of her routine.

"When I get to put on my podcast, music and have either 30 minutes or even an hour to myself, it allows me to just relax, recharge and come back more energized to be able to do whatever I want to do," she said.

Ker says she draws inspiration from her Cambodian roots, with each piece reflecting a balance between fluidity and structure, monotony and playfulness.

"It's still an art form that's really, really popular in Cambodia," Ker tells CTV News. "When it comes to the structure of the pieces, it's pretty much organic, the colours of the pieces that you would find in Cambodia have a lot of sculptural aspects and hand-building inside...I try to inspire myself from what grew up seeing and also giving it more of a modern twist."

The name of her company, Malou, is her daughter's nickname, proving that, though this is something Ker created for herself, her children are never far from her mind.

"A few months ago, she threw on the pottery wheel, which is really cool," she said. "It's really messy, but she likes it. And then she's super happy because once you make something from A to Z, and once that thing that you make is super tangible and functional, it's super rewarding. So, she really enjoyed the whole process, and now, in the morning, she drinks milk out of the cup that she made."

Ker's creations are available in several stores, including Espace Flo in Ahuntsic and La Vie en Vert in Longueuil on the South Shore.

Her pieces are also available at Les Faiseurs in Villeray until Feb. 19, as well as during the summer from April to June. Top Stories

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