You know how the saying goes, “something good will come of this.” That is exactly how I got here and created Pottery By Yvonne. A little over 5 years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. It was caught early and I am lucky to say I am in good health. However during the process, I had to really think about what I wanted to be doing with my life. I had a career in high tech up to this point. I didn’t just say, “aha, I want to open a pottery business.” I just knew I wanted to be creative and make art for what ever time I have on this earth.
So I looked for art classes. I lived in Florida at the time and there was a small art museum owned by a private engineering college, FIT, of all things. They had an education program and offered pottery. I had no idea at the time that I would fall in love with this medium and find a community of such diverse amazing people. I would like to say that I took my first class and created the perfect pot and opened my store and the rest is history.
Instead, I took my first class, created a pretty bad pot but could see where I could take this and so set out with determination and my usual bullheadedness to learn how to be a better potter. So I took class after class after class. I bought a wheel and practiced at home. I took workshops, I pestered professional potters, I asked a lot of questions. You get the drift.
After three years, friends started asking if they could buy a pot I had made or would commission me to make a pot. So I did. An artist invited me to put my work in her local gallery in Florida so I did. I learned the ins and outs of selling art to a mainly tourist customer and fine honed my craft. I started doing some local shows. I also met some amazing artists and learned the ins and outs of selling to people.
A year after that, I took the plunge and decided to put my work on Etsy. The online community embraced my work and I was able to slowly build my studio. I continued to sell in galleries, take classes and workshops, and evolve as an artist. Amazon handmade started and I added some pieces to sell there as well. I eventually started selling wholesale to small boutiques around the country.
Then about a year ago, I decided I want to move back west. I am from Montana originally. I wanted to build a studio, find a community, and be back in the mountains. After a lot of searching, my family and I decided on Bend, Oregon. We bought a farm 10 minutes out of town and revamped a pole barn to become my studio. And I was back in business. I was sitting in my studio cranking out pots.
One of the other things I wanted to do after taking classes and workshops was to offer classes and workshops to potters and aspiring potters. I’ve met some really nice, talented folks over the years of taking workshops and classes. They aren’t rock star potters (famous), but they are dedicated to their craft, nice people and so generous in sharing their knowledge. So this summer, I will be adding workshops to my studio. I’m really excited about this venture and hope that it can become a stopping point for artist looking to teach and people looking to learn.
So that is where I am. I got cancer, found pottery, an amazing community, and pretty much think I will be making things out of mud for the rest of my life. I’m hoping I will have more adventures in clay and life. I have plans as they say. Stay tuned for more to come.