Top 10 highlights from our 20th year in business.
1. Reaching our 20th year of business at a high point. In this momentous year, which we view as a bridge from our past extending into our future, we achieved profound growth. Through reflection of the lessons learned over the 20 years of experimentation, trial and error we have decisively stepped forward this year. Our choices in everything from design work to business practices have lead to a level of stability that will sustain us for years to come and allow us to continue to do what we love.
2. The “Colossal Dragon Vase” and the unexpected result of this “art for arts sake” project which was followed by people across the globe. Over the course of several months this vase provided a very amusing and challenging side project. Despite the numerous complications and high unlikelihood of achieving a first quality finished piece, we did just that. We then sold it at auction and donated half of the profits to youth arts programming and food banks.
3. The ever growing successes of our West Gallery in Cambria, California and our Studio Gallery in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. Both locations opened additional rooms expanding the retail spaces and accommodating larger inventories of pottery. The galleries also hosted more events than any other year. This allowed more people to see a wider selection of our pottery in person and hand select their purchases. Visitors frequently comment on the beauty of our galleries and have been known to make up excuses to linger longer… Each gallery is situated in an idyllic little town, which themselves are well worth the visit.
4. The 20th Anniversary Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter Collections. The idea behind creating these designs was definitely risky considering our limited production capacity and forced us to multitask like never before, but resulted in 20 much loved and highly collectable designs. Aligning our creativity with the seasons of the year felt right at home with our nature inspired approach to designing. We are very pleased to announce that we will carry on with the season collections in 2017, offering you fresh limited edition pieces. The most popular pieces from each of the 2016 seasonal collections were as follows: spring – Snowdrop Tile & Frog Log – tied, summer – Reflection Lantern, fall – All Hallow’s Eve, & winter – Beekeeper’s Ornament.
5. Our first Artist Anniversary piece that is not ceramic art, but a work of art created in wood. 2016 marks the 15th year that John Raymond has been employed at EFP as an artist. He worked in creating and applying glazes for most of those years, but since 2012 has spearheaded the wood shop. John’s “American Craftsman Wall Shelf” fully represents his devotion to detail, skilled handiwork, fine design aesthetic and innovative thinking. With this piece he has created something brand new that easily fits in a bungalow or craftsman home and is widely admired. John will be making these wall shelves until they retire May 15, 2017. And then we hope he will take a vacation!
6. Our 2016 Studio Collection and the 3 additional Artist Anniversary pieces within this beautiful group. The Artist Anniversary pieces will retire May 15, 2017. Our 2016 Studio Collection pieces represent our core aesthetic and current expertise in the ceramic field. The 2016 Studio Collection designs will be produced in editions of up to 500. They are available in our galleries or made to order, just for you, online.
7. The opening of Bloom at the Studio Gallery. This tile painting workshop space is open to visitors during our regular gallery hours. With Bloom we hope to share our enthusiasm for art-making and facilitate access to our glazing methods. We invite you to join us at Bloom and get your hands in the ceramic process. More details can be found on the Studio Gallery page.
8. The experimental ceramic shade art lamps dreamed up and hand-thrown by our artist and owner, Kevin Hicks. Always pushing boundaries, Kevin has outdone himself this year with these extraordinary lamps. Historically there are very few examples of hand-thrown lampshades. Fulper made them from 1911-1918 with leaded glass. The Ephraim lamps shades are made with mica. Each lamp made in our studio explores the boundaries of what can be done in clay and brings a better understanding of the design potential. A total of 12 first quality lamps were made in 2016.
9. The expansion of our custom work option. This year we have been able to flex within our Ephraim style aesthetic to accommodate many alterations in form, glaze and sculpture to suit the personal artistic sense of our patrons, providing them one-of-a-kind pieces that fully represent their dream. These custom pieces bear a special C mark on the foot to signify their custom work classification. If your imagination is running wild with a custom idea (that still fits in our wheelhouse) contact the office (888-704-7687) to discuss details in 2017.
10. Our collaboration with Michael Thee Studio and the launch of “Glaze Drop Jewels”. This special line of jewelry is handmade by Milwaukee jewelry artists Michael Thee and Mary Wolhgemuth using “drops” of our glazes which are a by-product of our firing process as the glaze flows off our vases. These one-of-a-kind adornments can be found in our galleries and at times on our website. Read all about this unique collaboration and the the resulting jewelry on our blog.
Thank you for your interest in Ephraim Pottery and for supporting our artists who carry on the tradition of American art pottery. We owe our existence to our customers and are forever grateful to the people who choose to buy our handmade products. In the new year we hope to continue to push boundaries and surprise you with exciting new designs and experiences.