Vendor Spotlight: Harriet Heller Pottery

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Welcome to our Vendor Spotlight! Where we feature some of the many vendors who will be at our Altenative Fair this year. Today we're featuring returning Alternative Fair favorite Harriet Heller Pottery! As well as being a vendor, Harriet is a long time shopper!

I would like to add, as it is Thanskgiving, that we'd like to thank all of the wonderful vendors who have agreed to be interviewed/have their work featured. 

1. As a returning vendor, what do you enjoy about the Alternative Fair?

I have attended the Alternative Fair as a customer for many years and always found items that I know my family would enjoy.  I prefer to support local artists and vendors or were produced by fair trade for holiday gifts.  When I returned to making pots about 4 years ago, I knew that this would be the first fair I would apply to and have been selling at the Fair since then.  I see many of my friends who return every year and I want support Metro Justice in their goal toward social and economic justice for everyone.

 

2. What are some of the tools you use for your pottery?

Most of my pottery work is made using an electric wheel and various tools for trimming the bottoms of pots.  I create texture using wooden or plaster stamps and found some great rubber or plastic mats for applying texture.  I also overlay a variety of glazes to create interesting and unique designs on the surfaces.

3. On average, how long does it take to create a piece from conception to finish?

I've been asked this question before and it's a rather hard one to answer.  The short answer is about 2 weeks.  The longer answer:

When working on the wheel, I make a series of forms such as a dozen mugs or eight honey jars.  I begin by wedging about 5 pounds of clay to remove any air bubbles and then divide the clay into smaller balls depending on what I am making.  Then I sit as the wheel and throw the forms; small items take about 5 minutes each, larger forms such as bowls or pie plates take about 15 minutes each.

The lids are made at the same time as the jars. Then I have to let the pots dry overnight until they are at a stage called leather hard so I can trim the bottoms.  Handles for mugs would be attached at this time.  The pots then need to dry for a few days depending on the temperature in the studio.  When dry to the touch, they are loaded into an electric kiln and fired to about 1800F which takes about 2 days; one day to bring the kiln to temperature and another to let it cool.  Then I glaze the pots which are then fired in an electric kiln to approximately 2230F or a gas kiln to 2380F.  Again it takes a day to fire either kiln and about 2 days to cool.  If there is a lot of work in the studio, it may take a week before my pots get into a kiln.

 

Skip out on Black Friday this year and shop with us December 5th and 6th! RSVP at our Facebook event page and let us know you're coming! https://www.facebook.com/events/1521840118059601/

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