Saskatchewan NAC

Saskatchewan Artist

Peter Rupchan
Fluted Flower Pot - by Peter Rupchan

Peter Rupchan

Peter Rupchan was born in 1883, in Molodia, Ukraine. In Molodia, Rupchan’s family had indentured him to a blacksmith for economic reasons, but he eventually relocated to work for a kinder master at a pottery factory east of Chernivtsi, where he became accomplished in crafting pottery.

Rupchan emigrated to the Endeavour-Usherville region of northeastern Saskatchewan in 1905, and homesteaded in an isolated area, but his passion for creating pottery soon returned, and prevailed.

Peter Rupchan married Safta Safruk and throughout many tragedies and hardships, Rupchan coped with the realities of providing a homestead and an income for a growing family through selling his pottery. He made utilitarian pieces, bowls, crocks, jugs, cups, plates, flower pots and other functional everyday pieces requested by his clientele, as well as whistles and toys for children.

Although he lacked proper equipment and tools, the land Rupchan selected included clay suitable for pottery making. He made his own pottery wheel, built a kiln, dug and processed his clay, and experimented with glazes that he made from powdered glass and other objects found at the local rubbish dump.

With his ingenuity and resourcefulness, his pottery industry grew and Rupchan began travelling far distances with a horse and straw-filled wagon or sleigh to sell his wares. Working in isolation from other craftspeople and markets he relied on his own resources of creativity and became Saskatchewan’s earliest and most industrious potter.

Collections of his work are preserved in the Ukrainian Museum of Canada in Saskatoon, the Museum of Civilization in Hull/Ottawa and private collections and other museums and art galleries across Canada.

Peter Rupchan died in 1944, in a logging accident, while helping his three sons fell trees.

Read the NAC feature article about Peter Rupchan here.

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Peter Rupchan

  • Mediums: Ceramics

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