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Monday, December 23, 2013

NOW!!! I want it now!!!!

I'm so excited.

I feel like a little kid waiting to open a present.

The last post was the grand announcement we had found a new house where we could have a studio in the garage. This post is about the anticipation of being ready to move into that new home..and that new studio.

I'll illustrate this with pictures.
This is what we are starting with.
Here is the interior, pre-purchase This is the back center of the garage

This was the basic plan, we ditched the right garage door and added more windows.It's only been a few weeks, but amazing things have happened already!

Here are the new windows where the door used to be.  

Here is the pocket door in the back right leading into the kiln room

Here are the new windows again, this time with drywall being installed over insulation, it's almost ready for us!

I'm all excited to move into this space. Seeing this transformation of the interior has been incredibly thrilling. I am so excited to see the sunlight streaming through windows as I look out into our backyard and the landscape, maybe a garden..maybe a bird feeder. This is such an amazing change for us. Rowan and I are so grateful to my sister and cousin for making this happen. It's a life changer. I anticipate next year will be an amazing year of focused growth for us. The town seems ready to welcome us and we're ready to be there!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Perfect Place for Potters!


We have finally found a new home.

We've been looking for over a year for a place that has very specific qualifications.

1) Zoning! We have to be zoned for a home business with pretty liberal space allowances.

2) It had to have an outbuilding that could be easily converted to an improved amount of studio space.

 3) The house had to be nice, good bones, not a huge amount of work just to move in. We were hoping for a step up in square footage and living environment.

4) It had to be within a days drive of NJ where Rowan's aged parents live.

5) and of course price. We're potters here, not app developers with hot product :) Every dollar we make has to pass through my fingers as mud.

AND most important, there had to be a lighthouse in our back yard. Yep, no kidding...and a river of course.  OK I was kidding about it being a qualification, but I wasn't kidding that it was there!

So we found a lovely home, not jut a house, not just a place to work in Tionesta PA on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest.

There is a two car garage, the town just did a zoning expansion to allow homes in the borough to have commercial enterprises.

We're going to have a pottery in our garage.

One of our neighbors is going to make chocolate in his.

It's in a big hunting and fishing tourist area. As one neighbor said, "pretty much any middle-upper income hunting family that lives in Pittsburgh has a camp here, and they bring the whole family." So retail is certainly a possibility..especially with our Oak and Acorn line.

Moving will have to happen when the studio is ready for us. Our guy is ready to tear into it the moment the papers are signed. When the studio is ready, we'll move so there is no production time lost. We expect it will be in January.

We attended an auction at the property on Saturday 11/30 because we wanted to try to keep some of the furniture with the house and pick up a few things our much smaller house is lacking. We had an unexpected bonus of meeting some of the members of the family that previously owned the property. They were all really nice, and seemed glad to know we would be living there and not turning it into a rental unit. We love this place and I am hopeful it will become a happy home for us!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Fall Update

I've taken to posting daily on the Hughes Pottery page on Facebook, and only writing a blog post on the occasions that I have 2 brain cells left to bounce off of each other. This has been increasingly rare as time has passed. This has been a tough year of transition for us. Some good, some bad, but change regardless.

 So what's been going on?

At the beginning of the year, Hughes Pottery ran a very successful Kickstarter Campaign to raise money to attend the Buyer's Market of American Craft and enter the wholesale market. The campaign was a success, and we went to the BMAC and we got a whole lot of new customers. So many new customers that we are still sending out the rewards we promised our backers. We got twice as many backers and twice as many customers from the event that we anticipated, so naturally it's taken twice as long to produce and send out the rewards. We're about done now, the only ones left are the ones that include chocolate chip Biscotti. And I think I still owe someone in Australia some magnets. They will be going out soon.

 The biggest new customer we got was Gaelsong and they have kept us hopping. Hot on the heels of Gaelsong was The Old Forge Brewing Company who had us make all the plates for the Grand Opening of their new location.

 It has been unreal. Hardly a minute to think. But life goes on and throws in some family stuff. In June we had to move one of the kids and a friend to school in Monessan PA. In August we had another kid move home from the DC area.

In the midst of all this new business and moving chaos we have been searching for a new house, We really need a place, a nice place, on the cheap with a 2+ car garage for the studio and zoning appropriate to running a business. It's hard to find. The last time I posted, on July 3, we had just gone to see a big old Funeral home. Since then we have seen some 10 or so houses. I think we have a winner, but we'll know in a week or so. I may even post here again before December to tell you all about it.

In the meantime, here it is October and we have very little personal stock, normally we have a sale at our house towards the beginning of November. I'm having doubts about having enough stock to have it. I'm getting focused on making for us now, so who a team Rowan and I can often do the seemingly impossible. If nothing else we'll have an amazing amount of stock for our online store through the holidays.

Stop by the Facebook page and visit, see what's going on in the studio, say hello!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Funeral Home Report from Oil City

So we've been looking for a new place to live and work, our little cottage home is just too little. We need more space, we need the studio out of the basement and we need an affordable place with a low mortgage , so we looked into this Artist Relocation Program in Oil City, PA

We've been ramping ourselves up a little bit with the possibilities because the homes are all very reasonably priced and we kind of set our hearts on this crazy old Victorian built in 1890 that spent it's last few years as a funeral home. Yep a funeral home. We figured the downstairs would be all set up for viewings..and the upstairs would be nice since that is where the family lived. We also figured that the outbuilding in the back would be a great studio. We were so disappointed. I noticed right away the paint job was peeling off..all of it. The inside was just as bad..the wallpaper (shudder ewwww) was also damaged, bubbled and wrinkly and it never stopped feeling like an industrial building, even in the living area. There was no real kitchen..there was no real flow to the place. It was a huge rat warren and the basement..was wet..really wet walking on boards wet.The electrical was updated on the bottom floor, but upstairs, there was a fusebox in the hallway. Yep. A Fusebox. Live.

So I'm going to upload a few choice photos here, so you can see the place and it's problems in all their glory.We're pretty sad about this, but I am sure there will be others to see.

Massive hallway downstairs

not bad..workable

This area was lovely

damaged ceiling

This was a nice room

This was the kitchen

More Damage

The Embalming to the kitchen

UGH Paneling from HELL

The very wet basement

Yucky wet moldy basement

One Garage Here, two up the hill. No contiguous workspace.