2020 has been a year of many changes here at the pottery. We were forced to furlough our wonderful apprentices, Stillman Browning-Howe and Will Baskin, in March and to cancel the spring firing. It was months before we could put together a safe, quarantined crew to spend several days ducking in and out of our large wood kiln to load and pack the 1500+ pots for Firing 103. But finally we did, and some of that pottery became the inventory for our new online store, along with some lovely pots Mark had fired in the gas kiln (firing g) with the help of a delightful English intern who was staying with us, Grace McCarthy, before she had to curtain her internship and fly home.
With a barn stocked full of pottery from Firing 103, we created a “Peaceful Pottery Purchasing Experience.” We held this in late August and September, a tongue-in-check way to shift from our usual popular two weekend long Kiln Openings to being open for a leisurely nine full days of appointments, following strict COVID guidelines. You came, you shopped, and from your feedback, you had a marvelous time!
With only a few people/pods here at any given time, there was ample time to chat with Mark, meander around the pottery, swing on the swings, and enjoy being out of the house! Many folks told us it was one of their first outings since March! We loved it, and we are getting ready to do this new improved version once again.
The kiln is packed for Firing 104, and will be fired soon. We need about a week for the kiln to cool down, and another week or so to get the pottery cleaned up and on the shelves and tables in our large barn/showroom. Then we are ready to invite you back to enjoy another, even more extended, peaceful, holiday, open pottery studio shopping spree! ☺
So…for the first time ever, we will be open, by appointment, from Thanksgiving weekend to December 23rd! You can book your appointment here. Again we’ll have usual COVID protocols in place and are scheduling only a handful of appointments per hour to allow for easy physical distancing in our large barn/showroom and outdoor tent, so you can enjoy pottery shopping that is safe and fun!
Best of all, we will have hundreds of beautiful, useful and decorative pots of all sizes, shapes and prices. As you know, Mark’s exquisite handmade pottery made from local clays and materials makes the perfect gift!
Again this year we are part of the Chatham Artists Studio Tour, held the first two weekends in December. Watch for the red triangles (we’re #26) on the road and byways of Chatham County. We will have brochures here with a map and information about all the other artists. You can also read all about it on their website.
One of our great joys here at the pottery is having young visitors. So many children have grown up coming here again and again to poke around the massive kilns and swing on the swings while Mom and Dad, or Nana, or Grandpa shopped in the barn. They know where the cookies are, and they know they are welcome. Often they quite opinionated shoppers with discerning taste in the pots they choose!
Many of these children, now grown and planning their weddings, have contacted me to work out a wedding registry and they now enjoy the same familiar Mark Hewitt Pottery plates, bowls, pitchers, and mugs of their childhood in their own homes. Skillfully crafted, wood-fired, handmade pottery has become their aesthetic. Maybe Mark will still be making pottery when their children are ready for their own pottery dinnerware!
2020 has been a difficult year for so many – loved ones lost, businesses closing, too many people struggling to make ends meet. We are all called upon to be as generous as possible – shopping with small independent businesses, trying to keep our local restaurants afloat, and supporting local food banks, and the many other organizations trying to help.
We will have a collection box for our CORA, our local food bank, here during our sale. Any donation gets you a chance to win a lovely pottery vase!
As the days shorten and the nights get cooler, I find myself slipping into the holiday spirit. It’s fun to anticipate seeing our familiar customers again, and meeting new ones!
Be safe, stay well, keep caring, and book an appointment today to come spend a little time chillin’ with us, here at the end of the Johnny Burke Road.