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Ceramic artist moves to the East Coast to embrace creative passion after health crisis

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Karyna Parsons always had the dream to move to Newfoundland after she and her husband retired to pursue her love for art, but after a health crisis caught her off guard, they decided to pack their things and make the move of a lifetime.

“So we moved during the pandemic, and three trips across the country, and here we are,” said Parsons in an interview on Monday with CTV’s Crystal Garrett.

“On our last trip, I picked up a thousand pounds of clay and a pottery wheel.”

After settling in Newfoundland, Parsons created “Potter by the Sea,” where she makes and sells handmade ceramics all with her own twist on them.

Parsons started pottery as a way to bring awareness to her heart condition called Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD), a condition which causes a person’s heart to spontaneously tear, creating a blockage which leads to a heart attack.

Parsons said a portion of each sale goes toward SCAD research.

“I’ve tried to bring some awareness, because I think too often women, especially in our 30s and 40s in good health, we don’t expect a sore arm or unfamiliar pain in our chest is a heart attack,” she said.

“Potter by the Sea” is mainly driven by Parsons’ excitement for what she does, something that many people seem to share with her.

One of the many mugs made by Karyna Parsons. (Facebook/Potter By The Sea)

“Having this bit of community that’s excited about the same things that I am, it’s just been an absolute riot,” she said.

Each piece is also carefully crafted, with some taking days to complete.

One of Karyna Parsons' mugs features the classic character Strawberry Shortcake. (Facebook/Potter By The Sea)

“Depending on the design, a mug can sit in my hands for three, four, five hours, just during the painting, carving part. Not to say all the drying, it gets fired in the kiln twice,” she said.

Parsons said being on the East Coast, she finds no trouble in finding inspiration from her surroundings.

“We didn’t just move to Newfoundland because my husband’s from here, I do think it’s the most beautiful place in the world. We’ve been here for almost four years and still we drive over the hill in Portugal cove where we moved last year and I’m like, ‘Guys, we live here!’,” said Parsons.

“You know, I’m from the prairies, I’m a farm girl, so moving to the East Coast has been beyond inspiring.”

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