Born in Uppsala, Sweden, the young Axel Ebring came to Canada seeking his fortune – prospecting, mining and farming in the BC interior before building his first production kiln at Notch Hill, British Columbia in the 1920’s.
Notch Hill is a stop on the Canadian Pacific railroad. When the train stopped to take on water, it gave Axel the chance sell the odd pot or two to travelers heading out west – or back east – one of the reasons why his pots are found right across the country.
After about 10 years at Notch Hill, he moved his operation to Vernon in the Okanagan Valley. It was in Vernon that he produced his pots for the next 20 or so years, working right up to his passing in 1954.
My first purchase of Vernon ware were the two mugs in the first row, below. They were picked up at a garage sale sometime in the mid 1970’s when I needed a nice big coffee mug. Of course, they aren’t really coffee mugs but beer tankards – nobody drank huge mugs of coffee back in the 1940’s! Back then, I had no idea who the mysterious Vernon potter was. Some time later that year I ran into the (late) veteran pickers, Ab & May at the Fernwood flea market. Ab was selling a small match holder in the shape of a man’s head and opened up a copy of Bob Kingsmill’s book to show me who “Vernon BC” was. My collection has grown quite a bit from those two beer tankards – scroll down the page! – Larry