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logo Handcrafted Functional and Decorative Stoneware Pottery
Dinnerware, Serving Pieces, Ovenware, Featuring our Copper-Red Glazes

Eileen

I graduated from Queens College, New York City, many (too many) years ago with a degree in art education and very quickly discovered that teaching was not what I really wanted to do. I taught (and policed) in a New York City school. Since I'm only five feet tall, I was constantly stopped by the principal and asked for a hall pass. My teaching career ended when our first child (our son Evan) was born. Since my husband, Marty, was an engineer, he agreed to support us until I became rich and famous (which I never did). Two years later we had a second child (our daughter Robin).

After our family moved to Miami, Florida, in 1973, I joined "The Ceramic League of Miami" (CLM). The CLM was a rather large organization consisting of over two-hundred members dedicated to the advancement of craftspeople and artists involved in pottery and ceramics. It was there, I embarked on my pottery career. At the CLM, I had the opportunity to work with, and study under such renown potters as; Rudy Autio, Cynthia Bringle, Ken Ferguson, Warren McKenzie, Don Reitz, Peter Voulkas, and Betty Woodman (to name a few....how's that for name dropping?).

I rapidly became committed (people still say I should be committed) to pottery and began to attend shows in South Florida including ; Beaux Arts (University of Miami), Coconut Grove (wow!), etc. etc. My pottery continued to evolve, and I continued to enjoy substantial increases in show sales (and even won awards). The downside was the apprehension of not being juried-in each year, however, I was quite fortunate and that did not happen very often. But when it did, I did not take rejection well. Foul weather was another negative factor, because these shows were outdoors and those neat canopies were not available back in the old days. Since most of my customers were people and not ducks, when it poured, the attendance was very, very low. Luckily, pottery didn't melt or run when it got wet, but you should have seen me after a severe south Florida rainstorm.

My dependence on outdoor shows virtually ended when my family and I moved to Greensboro, North Carolina in 1981. It was there that I opened my new studio "The Potter's Mark", became founding president of "The Carolina Clay Guild", and began selling through mail order. I subsequently authored an article titled "Mail Order Marketing", which appeared in the October 1983 issue of Ceramics Monthly. Wow, am I that old? Marty continued his engineering profession, although he did help me do the "grunt" work when he came home in the evenings.

Although I did continue to attend some shows (indoors only), I made a decision to market mainly through selected galleries predominately in North Carolina, but greed has a way of rationalizing partnering with galleries as far as California. The galleries had to carry primarily domestic handcrafted items of, what I considered to be, competitive quality to my work.

I have also been selling pottery through the Internet. Among other things, Marty became my webmaster. Although it is not the most lucrative way of making sales, my virtual gallery provides an ability to the reach the many people who have not had the opportunity to visit my real studio or the galleries that carry my work. I love making pottery!!!, but making money ain't bad either. Of course, Marty continued to be the main breadwinner.

In May of 2000, my husband, Marty, and I moved from Greensboro, NC to the breath-taking mountains of the Asheville, NC area where we opened a 1650 sq. ft studio. Marty, who was an electronic engineer, holder of five U.S. patents, President of his company and recipient of NC State grants for technology development, now became my chief assistant potter. Although he has been helping me for many years, he decided that " If Man was meant to work with electrons, they'd be big enough to see them", and it was time to become a full-time potter. With our children now adults, we decided that the quality of life was more important than things and we could live happily with an income that was significantly lower (you don't find many rich potters, but you do find many happy potters). He is extremely happy with his new job (although his pay is terrible) and is creating decorative pieces and even has his own line of functional pottery.

After working three years with Marty, I decided that our business relationship was working out and he was a "keeper". We then decided to purchase a 100 year old building. The "Cotton Mill Studios" is what's left of a giant cotton mill complex that burned to the ground in 1995. The building has seven artist's studios and twelve artists, with us being the only potters. The Cotton Mill Studios is in Asheville's River District, a haven for about ninety artists and artisans. As walk-in traffic to our studio increased, we started cutting down on our gallery partners. Packing and shipping to galleries became a major source of non-productive effort and it was making Marty really grumpy, because it often hurt his back (he's getting pretty old now). We actually reduced the Gallery count from twenty-one to four, hoping that our walk-in and Internet customers would compensate for the difference, so, when in Asheville, be sure to visit us at the Cotton Mill Studios. If you can't make it to Asheville, you can always buy online.

Many customers ask about our pottery as a long term investment. My reply is always that, over the years, the value of our pottery has increased. We have been told by experts that after we inevitably head on to the great beyond, our pottery will show a drastic increase in value. To tell you the truth, we really haven't been feeling that well lately, however, we suggest that if you purchase our pottery, you should do it for your enjoyment, loving the style and functionality, rather than a long term investment. After all, with today's advancement in medicine,who knows, we could live a long, long, long time, especially with a lifestyle like this.


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