Capturing Memories Since 1985

Welcome to Toula's House of Clay

Creating beautiful, life-like, reproductions of homes and historical buildings from photographs

  • A personal gift that will be treasured for a lifetime
  • Ideal for presentations, milestones, retirement, anniversaries, birthdays, appreciations…

Toula Prins - Clay Artist

Born in Thessalonica, Greece, Toula moved to Canada in 1977, after she met her husband, Reg. They settled happily in Sturgeon County, near Gibbons, Alberta and quickly began the business of raising a family.

Of the many challenges she faced – learning how to fit into a new culture, becoming a farm wife and raising 4 children – finding an outlet for her creative spirit, became a journey that led her to the art and craft of pottery.

In 1987 Toula enrolled in a pottery class with the Sturgeon Pottery Guild. While exploring the many techniques of this craft she came to discover that she was inexorably drawn to hand building. “I have always loved working with my hands,” she says, “ there is something very satisfying about feeling the clay, this substance from the earth, and seeing what I can create from it.” Then, one Christmas, the desire for a small village to place beneath her tree led her to create a series of small, Greek-influenced houses that were a pure delight, both in the making and in the final result.

Friends, family and visitors remarked on the simple beauty of these small whimsical houses and soon began asking if she had any for sale. As word of her talent spread, requests followed for her to make miniature replicas of family homes. Thus, her business, Toula’s House of Clay was born. Utilizing photographs, drawings, and people’s treasured memories, she can recreate, in miniature, the special places of their lives.

Toula’s artistic passion, creative flair, and unerring eye for detail and colour, all take their origin from her birthplace in Greece. The lively colours, freeform design and whimsical fancy of some of her original creations are highly evident of this Mediterranean background.

Her work has been featured in several of Edmonton’s finest galleries as well as in local newspapers and magazines. Most recently, she was featured on Global Edmonton Television, on the Our Town segment.

Testimonials

“Thanks so much for creating such a special gift for our son.” -Joan Mieyette, Saskatoon, Canada

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When the company I work for was looking for the perfect gift to give the owners in celebration of their 25th year in business I knew that Toula could sculpt that perfect gift. The amount of work and detail she put into that piece was incredible and the owners were blown away. In a time of so much online shopping there is something to be said about a handcrafted piece of art, it makes for such a meaningful gift to give to someone or just a reminder for yourself of something you cherish. Toula has the ability to create a one of a kind piece of art and she has definitely mastered her talent and craft.

I want to thank you for the wonderful house you created for my family. My wife and I display Department56 Houses at Christmas time and I always thought it would be nice to have one that looks just like my house. Something I can display all year round rather than just at Christmas. From a few pictures sent over the computer you created a work of art that is treasured. We have it in our living room and I have received many compliments on it. I can see a day years from now where my wife and I will need to move into a retirement home and your creation will provide fond memories. I can see a day where I pass on and my children will decide who gets to keep this reminder of their childhood home. The point is that in a world of manufactured things that anyone with money can buy, you have created something special, something lasting, something meaningful. I hope you appreciate how your work touches others lives as it has touched mine. Thank you….

Carl

I reached out to Toula with a series of pictures of my childhood home and asked her if she would be able to create a miniature ceramic version of the house as a gift to my parents. Each Christmas season, my mother puts together a very elaborate Christmas Village – it is one of her many joys from the holiday season. As a gift to her and my father, my siblings and I wanted to give her a new addition to add to her collection – a Christmas village sized replica of their home. After discussing the project with Toula and focusing on specific questions (colors, sizes, added decor, etc…), she said that she would be able to create it no problem. Toula sent me a couple of pictures along the way to show me per amazing progress. When she sent me the final picture showing me the finished product, I was amazed at the accuracy and could not wait to have it in hand. Toula carefully wrapped it and shipped it to me (Connecticut, USA), and it arrived shortly afterwards without any issue. My mother absolutely loved the house and it has since become one of her most prized pieces. She loves it so much that she intends to keep it out all-year long. Toula created an absolutely amazing piece and my family and I cannot thank her enough. The amount of details – down to the individual bricks and the individual shingles on the roof, are stunning. And the fact that she incorporated holes in the bottom of the piece to add in a decorative light, it makes it that much more amazing. Thank you very much Toula!

Gregory Cikatz, Connecticut, USA

Toula is a magician. She takes a real building, and recreates it many times smaller, in clay. Walking through her studio is like being Gulliver in Lilliput — everything is a fraction of the original size, the same as the original, only smaller. As a testimonial, let me share the following story: The original St. Albert railway station is located at the Alberta Railway Museum in Edmonton. The Museum celebrated the station’s centennial in September of 2009. As our guests, we had invited the couple who had last served as the station’s agent, the Sadlers. Mrs. Sadler was very happy to come back and tour the station. It was her favourite home. As a thank-you for attending, we presented the Sadler’s with a clay replica of the St. Albert station that Toula had sculpted. The Sadlers were delighted to have the clay replica of their favourite home. They went home with a smile on their face, and with their favourite home carefully wrapped up in the back seat. After discussing the project with Toula and focusing on specific questions (colors, sizes, added decor, etc…), she said that she would be able to create it no problem. Toula sent me a couple of pictures along the way to show me per amazing progress. When she sent me the final picture showing me the finished product, I was amazed at the accuracy and could not wait to have it in hand. Toula carefully wrapped it and shipped it to me (Connecticut, USA), and it arrived shortly afterwards without any issue. My mother absolutely loved the house and it has since become one of her most prized pieces. She loves it so much that she intends to keep it out all-year long. Toula created an absolutely amazing piece and my family and I cannot thank her enough. The amount of details – down to the individual bricks and the individual shingles on the roof, are stunning. And the fact that she incorporated holes in the bottom of the piece to add in a decorative light, it makes it that much more amazing. Thank you very much Toula!

Anonymous, St. Albert

Contact Toula Prins

Toula Prins – Clay Artist
Mailing Address
Box 127, Gibbons, AB T0A 1N0

e. arprins@albertacom.com
t. 780-937-1851

Visit our country studio where you can view and handle over 100 artistic replicas. Studio located just 45 Minutes from Edmonton, by appointment only, please!

Email Toula