I had an opportunity to be a part of the Michiana Pottery Tour this year. It took place on September 27th and 28th. I set up with 5 other potters in Goshen, the third stop on the map. We were located at Northern Indiana Pottery Supply, owned by Moey Hart.
I hauled my booth over Friday evening and set up my tent, tables and shelves. When I returned home my wife helped me finish price everything and pack up all the pots. Saturday I drove all the pots over and set them up and got ready to go. We set up our booths under two rows of big trees right beside the pond. It was a great environment.
The weather was perfect the whole weekend and we had a steady stream of people both days. I met people from all over the region including Kalamazoo, Ft. Wayne, Lafayette and Chicago. I never felt like I was overwhelmed with people but there were at least a couple visitors at our stop a majority of the time.
There were a lot of fellow potters that came through my booth. I talked with some of the locals including Eric Strader, Bob Smoker and part of the Bungart family. I also met a lot of new friends like Sarah Thompson and Amy Brookins. As we were packing up Brian Whirledge, his wife and a couple friends stopped in. We all got to take a look at Moey’s molds and glass blowing stuff.
It was also fantastic to talk to the fellow potters set up along side me.
Deb Walterhouse is from Kendallville and has her own space downtown. She also has a fantastic booth setup and a lot of experience doing events. She has a lot of great glazes.
Amy Klingler is from South Bend and is one half of the team behind The Pigeon and the Hen Pottery. I really like some of the glazes that she used. Her business partner Diana Palomo was going to be there but was sick.
Nathan Smith is a grad student at Notre Dame. He incorporates a lot of imagery into his pots.
Moey Hart and his family were fantastic hosts. He does a lot of wood firing around the area because he supplies wood for many of the kilns. My wife really liked his bowls and cups with Amaco glazes so I ended up with a couple of those.
My favorite part was talking to all the potters about their work and which glazes they use. It was awesome to trade pots. I came home with a pretty good collection.
As for sales, I feel like I did okay. According to my records I sold 19 pots on Saturday and 10 pots on Sunday. Not as many sales as the Middlebury Festival but I wasn’t banking on that since there was a little more competition and not as many visitors. Eight of the 29 were $5 clearance pots or ornaments which I also sold for $5.
I received a lot of compliments about my work. It was nice to get some positive feedback from other potters and from people that are collectors or fans of handmade goods. One group of three visitors came through my booth, went to some other stops and then came back to purchase a handful of pots. It was cool to see that some people made a day of the pottery tour and traveled around to almost all the stops. One couple purchased an ornament because their tradition is to get an ornament every year from something that they do together.
There was a lot of conversation about my small pit fired pieces which I completed way back in 2004 or 2005. I only had three of them with me but I sold two of them.
I have to thank my wife for helping me prepare, haul stuff back and forth, keep me fed, be there part of the time for moral support and everything else she did and does. Also thanks to Moey and his family for being great hosts. I love working with him because his excitement is contagious and he is a pretty cool dude. He even let me try some Standard 182. Thanks to my mom for coming to visit on Saturday and to my dad for coming to hang out on Sunday. Thanks to all the local potters I got to talk to and everyone who is involved in making this thing work. Thanks to all my new pottery friends for sharing some knowledge with me and keeping me company. And a big thanks to everyone who came to visit and especially those who bought some of my work.
The only downside of being part of the tour is that I didn’t get to drive around and see everyone else at the other stops. The good news is that I’ll get to see a lot of those potters at the Michiana Pottery Christmas Sale on December 13th. Stay tuned for more details.