In the early 80s my husband and I purchased a small farm in Clarence, New York. We named the farm “Black Creek Farms and Pottery” after the name of the creek that ran through it. The farm was a great place to raise our family and also a perfect setting for making pottery and growing herbs.
The stall area of the barn became the pottery studio, divided into spaces for throwing, hand building, extruding, glazing, shipping etc.; the milking room became the kiln room and a log cabin became the display and selling area.
I spent years exhibiting at the Art & Craft Shows throughout New York State and hosted open houses with studio tours a couple times a year. Soon, I started looking into the wholesale gift market, first attending one of the Rosen shows which offered round table discussions on how to make the change from the retail market to selling wholesale. I spent the next 2 years selling wholesale at the Atlanta Gift Show, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, etc. to such great companies as Yankee Candle, The Nature Stores and Epcot Center. The wholesale experience was very exciting but also exhausting….
As our children grew up, Bill my husband and I decided to follow our daughter to the Space Coast of Florida where I spent 2 years teaching pottery at Patrick Air Force Base, where I had lots of great students and made many new friends.
The time came for me to set up my own pottery studio again to concentrate on creating new and unique pottery and connect with the local art world. For the past ten years I have been exhibiting and selling at Art & Craft Festivals throughout Florida. I love the personal interaction with my customers and fellow artists. Now, I am in the process of learning how to sell online thru this website, Facebook and Instgram.
About the process, the pottery and the clay I work with:
Making pottery is one of the oldest and most treasured of all human skills. Black Creek Pottery is made from stoneware clay. Stoneware clay is made from carefully selected, prepared and blended raw materials and clays. Dug from the earth, clay can be transformed into a work of art or a functional utensil. The clay can be wedged, shaped or thrown on a potter’s wheel.
After the clay has dried I fire it twice in an electric kiln, first I bisque fire then glaze the pieces and fire them again in an oxidation atmosphere to approximately 2232 degrees Fahrenheit. Each firing takes about 12 hours plus another day for the kiln to cool enough to open to remove the pottery. Once it is fired to maturity it is dense, impermeable and hard enough to resist scratching, it can be used to produce tableware and art ware. After firing the clay becomes vitreous (meaning it can hold water or liquids). All of the clays and glazes that I use are safe for use with food.
Stoneware is a strong clay which makes it great for kitchen/utility pieces because it is so incredibly durable. You can use it with care in the oven, refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher. It is important when using stoneware or any pottery that you take into consideration ” thermal shock”, cold pieces should not be placed into a hot oven or microwave and hot pieces should be placed on a hot pad or trivet not onto a cold countertop. All pottery made of stoneware should be heated and cooled gradually.
I hope that this short bio helps you to understand “how I found myself in clay”Edit