So often I am asked about my growth, from basement to small business, and how I got from point A to point B. Never have I felt like there was one thing that made me get here, but a series of small steps, forward and backwards that eventually got me to where my business is today. Something I have always been able to rely on, from day one, are my tools.
After becoming hooked on the wheel from a few evening ceramic courses, I purchased my first used wheel online, that came with a tiny sitter kiln from 1974. Little did I know this would be the start of my relationship with Skutt products. I would spend any second I could find sneaking into my basement, between all the busy moments of mothering two little girls, to learn how to use these new- to- me tools. I quickly realized and how they could become an extension of me.
The wheel felt pretty straight forward– center, pedal, lean in (literally with your whole body). The kiln on the other hand was a bit more intimidating, especially being a sitter kiln. Unlike the new electric kilns, sitter kilns need a little more attention during their 10-14 hour firing time. You have to learn to read the language of the cones and what the melt status of that cone means for your kiln temperature determining the outcome of your pieces.
I quickly began to do some research and reach out for help. I first asked my uncle who was an experienced potter and had plenty of experience with Skutt kilns as well. His advice– “Drink 36 oz of water, when you have to pee (in about 5 hours) go check your kiln.” He wasn’t wrong, but also, I was a little weary.
I decided to go straight to the source, the Skutt website. While skimming through their site I quickly learned that they offered easy access to product support. Not long after pummeling them with questions I had all the answers I needed to learn exactly how to use my kiln. I’ve always admired them for that.
About two years later, I was now a sitter kiln expert and had taken the plunge to rent a studio space where I purchased my second kiln. Once again a Skutt kiln which I had later mentioned in an interview on a podcast called The Potters Cast. My space, and now small shop in Sellwood, Oregon bordered the Milwaukee neighborhood and in turn the Skutt production warehouse. Through learning about their new neighbor in my interview, the Skutt team and I connected and got to know each other a little more and have built a strong relationship to date.
The Skutt team recently reached out and gave me the opportunity to test out some of their newest products, more specifically the Skutt Classic Wheel. The wheel is smooth, powerful, and at the same time graceful. Once again, adding to my collection of tools that I continually am able to rely on as I grow from basement to small business.