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Shahira Patni-Tejpar – Potter


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Born in Uganda, Shahira  moved to Vancouver with her   family in 1970.  While at High school in 1975, she took a Ceramics class  and  during that one year, spent many hours after 3pm in the pottery classroom, learning and developing her love for clay.  At the end of high school, she stopped her pottery and moved on to more academic pursuits…


She did her Bachelors degree with a French major at SFU and then went to live, work and study in Paris, France in 1982.  At the end of 1982, she  returned to University to become a French Immersion Teacher. 


After practicing her profession, teaching Grade 1 French Immersion at Ross Road Elementary in North Vancouver for only a  year, she moved back to Africa (this time, Kenya) with her Husband, Zul Tejpar,


In Kenya, she worked for the Department of External Affairs at the  Canadian Embassy as an Immigration Officer for 6 years.  During that time, she learnt Chinese Brush painting at the French Cultural Centre .   She focused mainly on Bamboo brush paintings and made greeting cards of her paintings, etc.    


In1990, Shahira moved back home to Vancouver, where she raised her two sons, Aadam and Rumi.   She worked as an Immigration Consultant at a large law firm for 6 years and then started her own Immigration Consulting practice.  At that time,  after a 20 year hiatus of not doing pottery, she took a pottery class at the Delbrook Rec centre with Louisa Liebman, to “test the waters” again.  To her amazement, she found that she had not lost the knack.  It was a great discovery. 


She has now been “potting” part time for the past 16 years, unwinding from her other full time life of Immigration Consulting, parenting, sports, etc.   At present, she is a member at Aberthau, a pottery studio (in the West Side, near Jericho Beach), where she focuses mainly on functional pottery.  She travels frequently, plays competitive squash in the City League, runs, cycles and skis.  She also enjoys painting in acrylics. 


She has exhibited her pottery at many exhibitions and venues  in Vancouver, such as the Roundhouse Community Centre, the Pendulum Gallery,  the Burnaby Arts Council,  the Surrey Arts Centre, the Ismaili Jamat Khana and Centre and the Bean Town Coffee House in Dunbar.


With the “ample” time left over, she is a full time, fully-engaged, happy mother and wife, which needs no elaboration.










Artist’s Statement


“Pottery is a form of Therapy… is a wonderful release and escape from the fast-paced, technologically driven,  day to day trials and tribulations of work and doing the ‘have-to’s’……  it gives me great pleasure to momentarily escape into childhood and simply “play” with earth, bringing form to a mound of clay, creating perfect and sometimes not so perfect symmetry……”


“A ball of clay, like the planet earth, spins on its axis (the wheel), and from it, rises a multitude of possibilities, of all shapes, sizes and colors.  If handled incorrectly, it flops and disasters happen.  But, if nurtured, the ball of clay transforms into a thing of great beauty, with shape, purpose and grace”. 


“Occasionally, I incorporate African themes, Indian script or Arabic calligraphy into my pottery as decorative features, thus reflecting the confluence of cultures that make me who I am: a Canadian Ismaili Muslim of Indian origin, born in Africa…I am a pot pourri of cultures, languages, influences, ideas and values and hopefully, my pottery reflects the same.”


–   Shahira Patni-Tejpar


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