ceramics

The Look Back

 

When we started P&W nearly 4 years ago, our lives were much different. Reflecting back, It was probably the most challenging period of time we've yet encountered. We were isolated from our support system and frankly, pretty broke. But amid the rural lake landscape, we began sorting through everything that life had thrown at us. Then, something unexpected happened. We found ourselves. 

View from the picture window of our old home & studio. I shot most of the product photos here. 

View from the picture window of our old home & studio. I shot most of the product photos here. 

We couldn't have imagined what the next years would bring. We worked hard, both professionally and personally. We tirelessly renovated our old house and studio. Some may have considered it to be a giant money pit. It was originally meant to be a B&B next to the grape fields that the Finger Lakes are globally known for. The property was big, beautiful, took up all of our free time, not so expendable income, and energy to restore and maintain. Detached from any real sense of community, we both developed a strong sense of self both independently as well as within our young marriage. 

Canandaigua Lake as seen from our road. It was a hazy, but beautiful day. 

Canandaigua Lake as seen from our road. It was a hazy, but beautiful day. 

At a time with few options, we encouraged each other to focus on the dreams that we had prior believed only to be hobbies. These hobbies are what have since manifest into The Potter & Woodsmith. For that, we couldn't be more grateful for our past experiences. 

2016 brought many exciting changes and success. We have shifted over to selling both on our website, as well as with wholesale partners. We've relocated our entire business closer to Rochester, NY. We both have the studio and office space we desperately needed and don't spend our lives remodeling and repairing an old home. We will miss the views, hard work, and character that comes with an old home, but now we have the time to actually focus on what matters. 

Back to work in my new pottery studio. Unbelievably happy that we could expand.

Back to work in my new pottery studio. Unbelievably happy that we could expand.

Now that we are settled in to the new space, we are working hard to get our web store stocked back up with many new and refined pieces. I feel like we are finally started to develop a very distinct and hopefully timeless style that we can't wait to share with you. Our goal is to be back and live well before Valentine's Day. I hope that you will all plan to visit the web store when that time comes. 

Along with the web store relaunch, we are planning to really amp up the content of our website in 2017. We feel like we have learned a lot since we started P&W and want to share it. We plan to do many more blog posts covering what we have learned about running a cottage industry business, tips about pottery and woodworking, our experience with wholesale, and more. We hope that you subscribe and join in with us. 

Every time that we sell one of our hand crafted pieces, we feel like our enthusiasts get a little piece of us. In that same spirit, we plan to make this blog a place where we share our experiences and our lives. Thank you for spending the last 4 years supporting our adventure. We cannot wait to continue in an even bigger way this new year.

Working hard on new concepts exclusively for our web store. 

Working hard on new concepts exclusively for our web store. 

 

Once upon a Monday...

So much is happening very quickly around here. We're really excited about all of the changes. Along with our new website, today marks the first blog post ever for The Potter & Woodsmith! ( I hope we don't bore you too much! ) Also, last Monday marked the first day of an awesome ( and much needed ) studio renovation. I thought it would be fun to share with everyone the transformation as it unfolds. When we started P&W we really started from scratch. Our "studio" was our unheated garage. The winter months were almost unbearable in there. Not to mention the trouble I had with cracking and freezing orders. The good news? Last Monday, the garage door came down. 

This was our "garage" door before we started. To say it was a garage wasn't really true. I doubt we could have fit anything larger than a Smart Car through this tiny thing.

This was our "garage" door before we started. To say it was a garage wasn't really true. I doubt we could have fit anything larger than a Smart Car through this tiny thing.

What will be put in it's place? We decided on a brand new private entrance and window with space for a pellet stove. It will keep us nice and toasty this winter! Needless to say, I'm pretty excited. Steve and I have been slowly renovating our 1900's home since we bought it 3 years ago. Luckily, along with his part-time gig as my Woodsmith in residence, Steve is also an Engineer who is also great at frame to finish construction. Actually, I'm starting to wonder if there is any project I can throw at him that he can't accomplish. So far, he's done an awesome job on everything! He has been working hard all week to get the new exterior of our studio done before the really cold NYS weather hits.

By last Wednesday, he had the new door, window and rough in done despite the difficultly of our crooked old farmhouse walls. At the end of Tuesday night, we realized that we would have to temporarily block the new entrance with some spare Tyvek and hope it didn't rain. The new, and perfectly square door was going to need a lot more finessing into our crooked old house before we could install it securely. 

View from the inside of the studio space on Tuesday morning. I wasn't shocked to find that a squirrel had hidden some nuts in the studio overnight. They're definitely getting ready for winter too!

View from the inside of the studio space on Tuesday morning. I wasn't shocked to find that a squirrel had hidden some nuts in the studio overnight. They're definitely getting ready for winter too!

By Wednesday night, the door was installed and painted. I even hung a fall wreath on the door. Steve can barely get walls up before I start decorating them. I just can't help myself. That ugly piece of plywood is about to be hidden forever with stone. Wait until you see the stone system we found. It is going to save us so much time and doesn't require the mess of mortar. It is perfect for the little patch in that we needed for this project. 

I have a fascination with black doors. I just love them. The enamel that I chose rolled on very smooth for a glossy mirror-like finish. ( Speaking of mirrors, please ignore my reflection in the new window. :-D ) 

I have a fascination with black doors. I just love them. The enamel that I chose rolled on very smooth for a glossy mirror-like finish. ( Speaking of mirrors, please ignore my reflection in the new window. :-D ) 

These crazy things let you attach the stone using screws. No messing with mortar. It was really weird to screw in pieces of stone with the drill. 

These crazy things let you attach the stone using screws. No messing with mortar. It was really weird to screw in pieces of stone with the drill. 

The new stone facade. The only thing left it trim! 

The new stone facade. The only thing left it trim! 

I snuck in a photo of the view from the new studio door. It look so beautiful around here this time of year! If I ever like I'm forgetting to be grateful I look out at the amazing views we have in the beautiful area and immediately remember to be happy and appreciative for the everyday.  

I snuck in a photo of the view from the new studio door. It look so beautiful around here this time of year! If I ever like I'm forgetting to be grateful I look out at the amazing views we have in the beautiful area and immediately remember to be happy and appreciative for the everyday.  

That's what it looks like so far. I will be posting all the finished photos as we go! There will be a lot more to see about the inside of the studio too! I will finally be able to invite customers & friends over to pick up their orders in person. Or for a cup of coffee. :-)