Earth & Clay
Tell us about your business.My love affair with clay started in 2010 when I took my first class. Once I discovered that I could make items for my home & garden, I was hooked. Leaves & some plants are the inspiration for most pieces & I love using items found in nature as part of the design. Currently, all my items are hand built then high fired. I use paper clay for about 80% of the items I make. Fibers from recycled paper are added to the clay body & this type of clay allows me to make larger items. The glaze will have a darker more earthy color. I use a porcelain clay for the other 20%. This allows for a brighter glaze color. The high fire process allows each item to be used outside as it will not absorb water & also be microwave, dishwasher & oven safe. Additionally, all glazes are food safe. In the future I would like to add some low fired decorative items. I was so excited when I sold an item at the first student sale I participated in that I decided then that I wanted to make art for a living.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.My husband graciously gave up half of his workshop so I could have a home studio. I have room for an electric kiln, slab roller and several shelving units for drying and product storage.
What inspires you?I get most of my inspiration from trees. I love their shape, both with and without leaves. I use branches and leaves to press into the clay and occasionally apply to the outside. I also like to hear how my customers use the items they purchase. This will sometime influence the shape or the glaze that I use for future items.
What makes your business stand out?I make unique, hand crafted items. I don’t make sets – I do make items in a series. Nothing is ever the same size or same color; very similar just never the same. I can start with two items from the same bag of clay, glazed the same day with the same color and fired the same day and they could look completely different. Also, I don’t try to make things the same. I don’t ever want to have someone say to a customer “I have that exact same thing”.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Don’t wait till “it’s” perfect – show your work now. Also, make a lot, work every day. Have fun and as the saying goes “if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough”.
What does American Made mean to you?Hand crafted with love. I know that is corny, however it shows in the final product if you don’t love what you are doing.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 9, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.Meet the judges
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.Vote now
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.Buy tickets now