Often times you will see references made to different names in connection with Blue Mountain Pottery and the following is a brief summery of a few important founders and caretakers that were connected to Blue Mountain Pottery in one area of expertise or another. Each was an important and pivotal part of the success and reputation of this unique Canadian pottery.
Mr. Jozo Weider (1909-1971) Jozo as he liked to be called was one of the founders of Blue Mountain Pottery. He was born in Zilina Slovakia, Czechoslovakia and immigrated to Canada in the1940s. He came here as an accomplished ski instructor and he was a true visionary that never missed an opportunity to expand his horizons. After connecting with some of his fellow countrymen he determined to expand the ski resort's interests with a gift shop. He and Mr.Tupy started making the pottery, as we know it today, in a small old barn area at the base of the ski hill. They used the clay that was so readily available from the surrounding ski hills. In later years two other types of clay were added to enhance the clay making formula. Hence, Blue Mountain Pottery came into existence. The pottery has adorned many a household in Canada, USA, Europe and the British Isles over the years. Sadly, Mr. Weider was killed in a car accident in October 1971.
Mr. Denis Tupy Mr. Denis Tupy was born in 1929 in Breznice, Czechoslovakia, and arrived in Canada via Hamburg Germany in early 1951. This young 21 year old joined Blue Mountain Pottery in 1953 as an accomplished ceramic mould maker having trained in Europe. He came to Canada to restart his life, finally meeting up with fellow countrymen Jozo Weider and Mirek Hambalek - the rest is history. They went on to collaborate on most of the Blue Mountain Pottery moulds and glazes that we are familiar with today. Mr. Tupy is renowned for his many mould designs: the Angelfish; signature jug; horse head bookends; and frond vases perhaps being the best known. His creativity and dynamic designs were quick to catch public attention and established Blue Mountain Pottery as both iconic and desirable. Mr. Tupy went on to form his own pottery company known as Canadian Ceramic Craft (CCC) Pottery in 1960. It was later renamed Rainbow Pottery. Mr.Tupy continues to enjoy his retirement in the Collingwood area today.
Portrait - Jozo Weider
Denis Tupy and Dave Bennett - Convention 2007
Mr. Mirek (Miro) Hambalek Mr. Hambalek, also from Czechoslovakia, arrived in Canada in the same time frame as Mr. Tupy. Mr. Hambalek was a very talented ceramic decorator and glazer, having been highly schooled and trained in Europe. He mainly used his special talents with the beautiful fluid glazes that we have come to so appreciate today. The combination of Mr. Weider along with the talents of Mr.Tupy and Mr. Hambalek formed the backbone of this unique Canadian Pottery.
Mr. Domenic Stanzione (1935-2003) Mr. Domenic Stanzione moved to Collingwood from Italy in 1966. He was hired by Blue Mountain Pottery to oversee the newly constructed "Pottery Studio" facility. Oftentimes groups and individuals at the studio would watch the master potter doing his non-moulded creations from start to finish. From time to time you will see a piece of pottery signed with D. Stan or DS. These pieces are usually free form, flowing designs of Mr. Stanzione's own making. They are not as readily found as the moulded Blue Mountain Pottery pieces. Mr. Stanzione liked to create large and dynamic pieces that are frequently seen in bright yellow with orange drip or other creative glazes. Mr. Stanzione left Blue Mountain Pottery in the early 1970s to produce pottery on his own under the names Artistic Pottery and The Pottery Studio.
Mr. Robert Blair Mr. Robert Blair joined International Silver, the then parent company of B.M.P., as the Senior Vice-President and General Manager in 1971, the year following Jozo Weider's demise. From that time forward he would be connected to Blue Mountain Pottery in some form or other until the company closed its doors to the public December 31, 2004, and ceased to exist February 5, 2005. Mr Blair was a strong leader who streamlined production to satisfy growing market demands in the 1970s and established a vigorous distribution and export network. He became President and C.E.O. as well as a minority owner in the early 1980s and retired in 1983. The company went bankrupt around the end of 1985 and in November 1986, Mr. Blair reformed the company as Blue Mountain Pottery '87 and purchased many of the old moulds at auction. Many people feel that some of the best moulds were developed in the last years of the company's existence, testimony to a spirit of creativity that continued to grow as long as the company endured. Two of the company's better known collections memorialize his name: the ROMAR Collection (for Robert and his wife Marion Blair) and the Robert Wilson Collection (for Robert Wilson Blair, his full name). These two collections used complex moulds to create exceptional animal figurines.
Mr. David Bennett Mr. David Bennett is a talented Canadian artist, master mould maker, and designer who worked for Blue Mountain Pottery starting in 1982. For his last eleven years with the company he was the master designer and mould maker. He is best known for designing of the much sought after and highly collectable Romar and Robert Wilson Collections produced at the Blue Mountain Pottery facility. Mr. Bennett has been an artist for some 35 years having graduated from Georgian College with the highest academic awards as well as other accolades. Mr. Bennett has worked in a number of art form mediums such as paintings, woodcarvings, and sculptures. Mr. Bennett currently has a studio in the Wasaga Beach area. The Blue Mountain Collectors Club has been fortunate to have Mr. Bennett continue to design and create our annual collectors club commemorative piece.
Mr. Alfred Duby Mr. Duby was employed at Stetson China Company (U.S.) during the 1950's and early 1960's. He designed and patented upwards of 25 dinnerware patterns per week at various periods during his tenure with Stetson. By 1965 he was plant manager at Blue Mountain Pottery (Collingwood) and then went on to start his own company in Ingleside, Ontario known as Canadiana Pottery. Using contacts with the Walt Disney Company, he obtained Disney licensing rights for pottery figurines manufactured at Canadiana. Mr. Duby is now retired and living in the United States.
Michael Stanzione shows a piece of pottery with his father's signature glaze
Mr. Robert Blair was the owner of Blue Mountain Pottery from 1987 until its closure in 2005.