Rosemary Jenkins Pottery – A Grad Success Story

January 10, 2012 § 4 Comments


So many fantastic students have walked through our red doors (some more than once!) and we love to hear about and share their successes! Many graduates go on to hone their skills at other colleges and universities, some create workshops in their homes, and still more go on to start up their own businesses.

One graduate, Rosemary Jenkins, has done just that.

In 2010, Rosemary found herself at a crossroads in her life when she lost her job due to cut backs.  Feeling the need for a change she enrolled at Fleming College, Haliburton School of The Arts, in the Ceramic Arts Program and graduated with an above 80% average.  She focused those skills in ceramic arts to start a full-time career creating and selling her one-of-a-kind functional stoneware pottery.

After completing the Ceramics course here at HSTA, she was able to get involved with the Ontario Self Employment Program in a 7-week course run by Essential Communications in Whitby, Ontario (, and sponsored by the government to help individuals start their own businesses.

HSTA was able to get in touch with Rosemary and asked her about her involvement in the program as well as her future plans.

HSTA: How did you learn about the Ontario Self Employment Program?

 RJ: I think I saw the information on the Service Canada website.  Later I met someone who had gone through the program and I asked her how to apply locally.  If someone was looking for a program in their area they could go to their local College, Service Canada office or Employment Services office. 

How would you describe the process of the program?

I learned how to start my business.  It is approximately 7 weeks of taking various workshops.  The final assignment that I had to hand in was my complete business plan.  I was assigned a coach for 42 weeks that checks in on me and my business monthly and offers advise if I need it.  Workshops and other opportunities are offered continuously to help enhance my businesss; it is up to me to decide if I want to participate or not.  I was  assigned a Mastermind Group that I meet with once a month to problem solve any issues your business might be having or to just be encouraged by like minded people…

The program was very much like Haliburton School of The Arts  Certificate program – intensive!

Any pointers for others looking to get involved?

You must be on EI or had a claim that ended within the last 36 months.  There are a few exceptions – you are best to check it out yourself. 

First you must qualify to get into the program.  You must get referred by an Employment Center – I went through my local College.  Then you must apply to get in.  There is quite a process to applying to get into the program.  You are not supposed to have your business started already. [But] I had to prove that I had thought the business through, I had the skill and I had the start-up capital to begin my business.  They offer you workshops to help you with the application process.

What are the top benefits you feel you got from your program?

While taking the course I learned so much! Each workshop/class  I gathered information that would help my business.   I added it to my business plan.  Having a plan helps me stay focused on my goals.

I see you have upcoming events…from a business point of view, what are your next steps?

I will be hosting an open house March 3 and 4.  I will also be applying to get into art and pottery shows.

Do you have your own studio? Any tips for other ceramicists looking to start-up?

Yes I have my own studio in my house: wheel, kiln…  I purchased most of my equipment when I was doing pottery as a hobby so it was gradual and manageable.

Buy the best equipment that you can afford.  If you can it is best not to have the studio inside the house as it creates a lot of dust!   

Will you do online sales?

I am not sure.  Currently my business insurance does not cover me to sell outside of Canada.  I supply The Goat’s Milk Soap Company with shaving cups and she sells them online ( .

Rosemary Jenkins resides in Enniskillen, Ontario where she has a small studio inside her home.  She creates stunning functional stoneware pottery on her wheel and fine crafted hand-built pieces.  She designs each piece paying special attention to what the piece’s intended purpose and designs it to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The name of her business is called Rosemary Jenkins Pottery.

You can find her on the web at .Image

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