Ciao & Thanks for stopping by! Since my addiction for all things handmade has become ever present in my life, I find it hard to not want to know more about these amazing vendors I’m purchasing from! So, without further ado, I give you my Featured Vendor Sundays!
From now on, every Sunday there will be a new vendor who makes handmade goods for sale on my blog, so please come back often to check out these amazing people and learn more about them and their talents!
Sunday, May 27th, 2012 Featured Vendor: Melissa Older from Miss Pottery!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
1. I fell in love with pottery the first day I touched clay and haven’t looked back. I never had a chance to take a class in ceramics or pottery during high school or college and I love that my kids are having those opportunities. It wasn’t until after my first son was born and I was forced to leave my job that I had time for anything like ceramics.
For a few years I puttered around with pottery and then when I turned 30 my husband surprised me with a Brent wheel. A few years later I bought my first kiln so I no longer had to rely on others to fire my work for me. Making that purchase really opened up the floodgates of creativity for me. Not long after that, I found etsy and have been selling my wares online in addition to craft shows ever since.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
2. Apart from creating pottery, I attempt to maintain a clean if somewhat chaotic household for 3 sons, a dog and my husband. My oldest son is in high school and my youngest son just started going to school full day this past year. He is in first grade. So now I try to run my job while they are at school and work, if I can.
What’s the most important question a customer/client should ask you when considering purchasing from you?
3. I don’t know what the most important question is when a customer is considering a purchase but the one I hear most that kinda makes me giggle is when they hold up a mug and ask me if it is safe to drink from. It’s a good question, and of course the answer is YES! I love to make functional items that you can use and/or also have out on display. So yes, drink from my mugs!!! I don’t make pottery for a customer just to look at, though I hope they enjoy holding and looking at my pottery items as well as using them.
What’s the most memorable custom order you’ve created?
4. Maybe the most memorable custom item I’ve ever created was when my friend Margie asked me to make a dog bowl for her with a name on it. That request has blossomed into one of my best sellers – personalized dog and cat bowls.
What would be the title of your memoir and why?
5. I think a good title for a memoir would be Eat, Pray and Love – no, just kidding!!!! One of my philosophies is to try to enjoy each day because life is so fleeting. When my life is getting stressful, I try to step back and remember what is important. I am a people pleaser but I need to remember to make myself happy too.
Where does your inspiration come from?
6. My inspiration comes from what I have available to work with – such as different cookie cutters, different textures and the clay and tools I have. There is no sense in trying to recreate the wheel – I just adapt what I have available to me to the task and that always gives each piece of pottery my own voice and stamp. I never feel the need to follow an idea or recipe to the letter and I love to change things up.
What does handmade me to you?
7. Handmade has a certain look and feel and voice and you fall in love with it the minute you see it. Everyone has a different idea of what they love and you just have to find the people that love the items you love to create.
Who has been the most influential person for your business?
8. It sounds cliche but definitely my husband is the most influential person to my business. He is my helper, my kiln repair man, my financial backer, my biggest fan and definitely more than my creative equal.
How would you describe your creative process?
9. The creative process to me is when I see something I just have to try or when I am working on a custom order and decide to give it my own spin or when I escape to my studio to hand build for a few minutes because I love the process of making something new each day.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
10. If I could peek inside the studio of another artist or designer I would be overwhelmed with the thought of having to choose just one because there are so many other potters and creative people I admire. That is one of the great things about Etsy, when you look inside the individual shops, you really get an idea of the person who runs that shop. There are so many really creative people on there making all kinds of wonderful items.
I would love to watch someone like Robin Hopper or Steven Hill making, trimming and glazing their pots but I hate to name just them because there are so many others that are amazing at what they do too.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
11. As far as handmade possessions I cherish, I have this adorable little hand blown glass owl from Mexico. My husband and I watched the glass blower make one just like it right before we purchased it from his shop. That was way back in 1998. There was something so amazing about watching him make that owl. What a perfect marketing idea that was! If I wasn’t always burning myself with even the simple act of cooking, I would love to give glass blowing a try.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
12. To get out of my creative ruts, I go looking for a new glaze color to try or a new technique or tool to acquire.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
13. In ten years, I would love to be financially independent enough to be able to take a long vacation – definitely in another country, like maybe a tour of Europe. I tell ya, those baby sitters are expensive! For the moment, I feel busy enough with all the different jobs I am juggling but in the future, I hope to never feel too idle or bored, that is for sure!