Happy New Year, everyone! As I write, the studio is beginning to fill with new pots for the coming year, and our new four-legged "mascot" is busy with his favorite toy, so maybe I'll get a little written. I'm inspired to write a year-in-review style newsletter in part because I find that reflecting on all that we've done helps me stay inspired to keep going! Or maybe it's all those Christmas newsletters I just read . . . in any event, at this particular point in our lives, the project to-do lists can easily overwhelm, and it's nice to remember just how far we've come towards our dream. For the first six months of 2010, we were still traveling to my former studio in Eaton, NH, to make and fire our pottery. This entailed making pottery at our small rented studio in VT, packing it up while it was still green (i.e. unfired and fragile!), loading it into the car, and traveling 100 miles over windy mountain roads to unpack it, load the kiln, and fire our wares. I recall one dramatic trip during a particularly rough frost-heave season where I arrived at the studio in tears, and several of my pots arrived in small pieces. All in all, though, we were grateful to still have use of the kiln, and enjoyed our "pottery camp" time together, beginning to collaborate and enjoy each others creativity.
In February, my talented brother redesigned TwoPotters.com with our very own e-store, and it has been a great addition to our business! Around the same time, my new line of "painted pots" was born, springing from a desire to make and fire work in Vermont, and it was a lot of fun to share new tomatoes, carrots, peas, and flower designs at farmers markets and shows.
In May, with help along the way from all four of our parents, we finished building an addition to our Milkhouse Gallery, just in time for our first experience on the Vermont Studio Tour on Memorial Day Weekend. We had loads of happy visitors who toured our kiln site, and watched Nathan do throwing demonstrations on the kick wheel. Needless to say, we'll be participating again in 2011!
We began working on the new kiln in earnest in June, doing some more site drainage and beginning to lay the concrete block foundation that will carry the weight of oh-so-many bricks. The summer ensued, and between kiln work, we traveled to Maine for the Clam Festival Craft Show, and to Mount Sunapee for the League of NH Craftsmen's amazing Annual Fair. Both shows were wonderful; it was so much fun to see so many of our loyal friends and customers. Back in VT in late August, we continued to lay block, pour concrete, shovel sand and stone, celebrated our first wedding anniversary, and took quick trips to the river and for ice cream on the hottest of days.
In early September, we spent 5 big days dismantling the Eaton kiln, and transported it to VT in thousands of heavy pieces. The bricks were put to immediate use as we began to lay the insulating floor of the wood kiln. The fall brought a big harvest from the garden, and beautiful weather for our Columbus Day Weekend Open Studio event that we spent with old and new friends alike. We began to get scrap slab wood delivered from a local mill to season for next year's firings, and moved bricks, bricks, bricks.
Work on the kiln continued until it became clear that what we really needed more than anything was a new roof on our house! Thanks to our amazing friend Bob and some unseasonable warm, dry November weather, our 160-year old farmhouse got a much needed rebuild. That project took us right into early December, when we traveled to Eaton for the last time to officially move out of the house and studio. We packed up our pottery wheels, tools, materials, and clay, and moved them into storage in VT until we can build a studio of our own! The day we returned the rental van, we got our new puppy, Lego, and last but not least, thanks to Efficiency Vermont, we illuminated the kiln shed and gallery entrance with super-efficient LED lighting that will make night-time kiln loading and stoking a breeze. Phew!
Now that 2011 is here, we plan to use the coldest months for making pottery, and just as soon as it's warm enough (March anyone?!), we'll be back at work on the kiln, aiming for our first firing in June or July. Something tells me this is going to be another epic year . . . All the best and many thanks, Becca and Nathan (and Lego, too!)