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Annual Ephraim Employee Party

Ephraim employees (and their families) took a break from throwing bowls to throw a few bowling balls instead. Our annual party was a blast! We rented the historic bowling alley in the basement of the Fort Atkinson Club in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. The kids all had more fun setting up the pins than rolling the balls…it worked out perfectly!

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Making a Catalog

Peek at the behind-the-scenes making of our 2019 Studio Collection catalog

Many thanks to Laura and Andy Salerno who graciously shared their century-old home for Ephraim’s 2019 Studio Collection photo shoot. Each year we scout out a unique site that acts as a backdrop to our new designs.

Built in 1897 for the Scholl family as a double residence, or a modified duplex to accommodate mother and daughter, this charming Queen Anne-style home with American Gothic influences graces the tree-lined south end of Main Street in Lake Mills. It’s nestled between several other historic homes and its interior boasts original pocket doors, wood floors, a coal-burning fireplace and embossed Victorian wallpaper, or Lincrusta, among other period-specific architectural details.

Meet Jacob, the Norwegian Forest cat. With his hardy disposition and curious nature, he is the “alpha kitty” among an endearing bunch of felines who happily abide in this cozy home.

These meticulous and artful architectural renderings of the Salerno home were discovered behind a neighbor’s shelving unit 100 years after the home was built. At the age of 43, the architect Charles P. Rawson worked for the Radson Architectural Company in Madison. He was an original contributor to Architectural Digest and a published subject matter expert, authoring several books in his day.

Last, but not least, a big thank-you to our photographer, Nicole Cooke for her incredible technical skill and artistic eye. And to our graphic designer, Tony Cooke for his creative work pulling all the little pieces together into a sweet catalog.

Would you like to receive the 2019 Studio Collection catalog in your mailbox? Click here to join our mailing list!

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A Photo Journal of the Miniature Making Process

Miniature Process

During late winter, Ephraim artists boldly engage in an emerging tradition. We find space on our shelves and in our creative consciousness to build miniatures based on beloved Studio Collection designs. Our fine motor skills are already honed from holiday ornament production which intuitively turns our attention to what we fondly call “minis.”

 

Miniature Octopus Vase

In fact, it’s the artists’ experience over the past 15 years in developing and making hand-thrown ornaments that led to experimenting with one-of-a-kind miniature vases. The process offered our studio unique challenges, taking years to work through.

 

Miniature Stalwart Oak Jar

While the finely-wrought details in glazing and sculpting minis require similar techniques to their full-sized counterparts, it also requires more delicate motions, sharper tools, and ongoing patience. Loading an asymmetrical, minuscule figure with a tiny foot into the kiln demands precise balance so the pots can fire evenly.

 

Miniature Craftsman Rose Vase

To date, Ephraim has only managed to offer four miniature designs in short-run, limited editions – all in the last six or seven years. We will continue to welcome this post-holiday challenge because, in the end, the effort keeps us nimble and each successful attempt keeps us cherishing these astonishingly adorable and rare mini reproductions.

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Making Space • These 11 Designs Retire at the end of January

Retiring Designs 2019

Each January we make space for the year’s new designs by retiring a handful of pieces from production. This carves out creative capacity and studio space for us to refine new designs that are in the works for the year ahead. While this is exciting creatively, we are wistful each time we have to say goodbye to a beloved piece of art.

Top row (left to right): Tropical Orchid Vase, Art Nouveau Crocus Vase, Orange Tree Tile, Giboshi Lantern

Center row (left to right): Revival Rose Jar, Noble Dragonfly Vase, Koi Pool Tile

Bottom row (left to right): Canopy Vase, Midsummer Vase, Aqueduct Vase, Crown of Snowdrops Vase

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January Update from Kevin + Studio Scenes

  A note from Kevin Hicks, Ephraim Pottery’s founder

As new energies and perspectives rush in with the new year, I pause to reflect – there’s much to consider! Foremost, I feel humbled by your incredible support, thank you. Ephraim’s vision of creating art in a collaborative, cooperative space is enlivened by your interest in our work. In partnership, we are able to continue to foster our curiosities and challenge our creativity to delight you, our fellow art enthusiasts.

Collaboration probably isn’t the easiest way to make art, but in our experience, it might be the most gratifying. We are ever-amazed at the elevated ideas that surface when we share the process – wading through myriad concepts, contemplating, compromising, experimenting – ultimately building off each other’s ideas. We seem to always arrive at something refreshingly satisfying that would never come from any of us independently. Today I am encouraged to see more collaborative models in the workplace, schools and other communities. This way of interacting with the world pushes us to explore and thrive beyond imagining. We highly recommend it.

I am excited as we plan and execute creatively in 2019, inspired by you, each other and the world around us. We never rest on finding new ways to speak through our artistry.  It’s been a privilege for me to participate in the studio throughout each and every one of Ephraim’s 22+ years in business. What I see happening right now – artistic synergy, lessons learned, evolved ideas and relationships – may just make this the best year yet. We are excited to develop and present to you a range of exceptional pottery and wood offerings. Let’s continue to stay connected through this journey – we enthusiastically welcome your support in 2019.

Studio Scenes • January Edition

Happy 2019 from all of us at Ephraim Pottery. January finds us actively planning 2019 campaigns, organizing space, and refining new designs while pottery production continues.

Collaboration is alive and well as we confer with each other about our new designs for 2019. Below Alek, Jill, and Becky meet to discuss the glazing on a new vase; Jennifer and Allison strategize at the kitchen table; and Kevin and Alek work together to pug more clay.

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Studio Scenes • November Edition

This November our makers are as busy as the elves in Santa’s workshop, energized by creating the festive ornaments and vessels that enhance your holidays. Managing these projects entails tracking many steps, an abundance of patience and endurance, and a love for the work.

1. Jill translates your online orders into work orders for the artists. 

2. Artists get their hands and minds to work throwing, sculpting, and glazing.

3. Smiles emerge (along with sighs of relief) when perfect pieces are pulled from the kilns.

4. These perfect pieces arrive in Becky’s shipping area where they are packed with care and delivered to your doorstep!

5. We also made time in November to give back with a fun side project.

6. We fueled our long studio hours with a healthy lunch and time spent together around the table.