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Earth Day 2017

Earth Day Vase – 2017 Edition (recycled glaze) $218, with $20 per vase donated to The Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Two years ago, we asked, “What color glaze occurs from the accumulated glaze dust in our studio?” We discovered a black, speckled teal glaze and we used that color to make a limited run of “Earth Day Vases.” (read about the 2015 piece here). Inspired by our previous attempt at a recycled glaze, this year Becky wanted to find out what a glaze made from her scraping bucket would look like if she systematically omitted the green scrapings from the bucket. Becky painstakingly sorted her scrapings for an entire year. When the bucket was full, we reconstituted the glaze. The entire studio made predictions about the color – in the raw state the glaze was a chalky pink color that resembled many of our other glazes, but what color would it be fired to 2000 degrees?

The next morning when we plucked the sample out of the kiln, the whole studio had a good chuckle when we saw the color – green! Of course, in the end, this made sense because all of the yellow scrapings mixed with all the blue scrapings. The resulting glaze color is a unique shade of green with a softer tone than our leaf green; slightly bluish, though less blue than our teal glaze.

With this pleasing, creamy bluish green glaze in mind, we turned to Laura Klein to design a vase suitable to our new bucket of glaze and to an Earth Day theme. Immediately Laura seized on the idea of making a cicada vase. The rich symbology of a cicada from ancient art – representing rebirth and immortality, paired with poppies – representing sleep and death, seemed like the perfect, unique theme for this special piece.

Artist Laura Klein throwing the Earth Day Vase – 2017 Edition
Artist Laura Klein sculpting the Earth Day Vase – 2017 Edition

At Ephraim Pottery sustainable practices are a regular component of the workflow. We recycle our used clay within the studio & by donating to local ceramics programs, we purchase energy from a solar and wind-sourced power grid, in the woodshop, John uses “scraps” of his quarter-sawn oak to build the smaller tile stands, and we offer reusable cloth bags in our galleries. Various staff members walk or bike to work, others drive fuel efficient vehicles. The list goes on…but you get the idea – we truly care about this beautiful planet and strive to protect the natural world which is our essential source of inspiration in our art.

We invite you to add this special vase to your collection and to also continually strive to make healthy choices for our planet. In honor of Earth Day, we will donate $20 from the purchase of each vase to The Alliance for the Great Lakes. Their mission is to conserve and restore the world’s largest freshwater resource using policy, education, and local efforts, ensuring a healthy Great Lakes for all generations. Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day Vase – 2017 Edition (recycled glaze) $218, with $20 per vase donated to The Alliance for the Great Lakes.
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A Beautiful Time to Visit Cambria, California

Five years ago, on a leap of faith, Kevin Hicks, owner of Ephraim Pottery, opened Ephraim Pottery West Gallery in Cambria, CA. California’s Central Coast enchanted him and the beauty – so different from our Wisconsin surrounds – continually inspires us. The locals have been so warm, inviting, and enthusiastic about our art pottery. We feel like Cambria is a hidden treasure that we would love to share with you.

Our gallery manager, Shari Little – a California native and our wonderful ambassador to the area, answers some of our questions and provides a bit of insight into visiting her neck of the woods this season.

Shari Little – West Gallery Manager

Here in Wisconsin the weather is damp and grey in April. How is Cambria in April?

We’ve had over 35 inches of rain this season in Cambria and another storm due here on Friday.  Most people like to visit when it is sunny, which it typically is, so they can do all the outside activities – biking, kayaking, walking, hiking, paddle boarding, etc.  The positive side of all the rain is that it has brought our flowers early and lots of them.  I had a customer in this morning who shared some pictures of the Poppy Reserve she had just visited. 

Craftsman Poppy Vase in teal & Pacific Poppies Bud Vase.

Heavy rain has caused problems with roads and bridges in the area. How has that affected tourism?

I’ve spoken with other business owners here and we all agree that we’ve seen a very significant slow down because of the Big Sur – Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge collapse on HWY 1.  Right now, there is nothing but parking everywhere – East Village is the same.  If anyone would like to visit this time of year, they’ll have the towns to themselves with plenty of parking (unlike Summertime).

What are the must-see stops for visitors to the Central Coast?

If you have a day or a weekend to visit Cambria our sunny West Village gallery is a must stop. Here you will find an ever-changing offering of handmade art pottery, art tiles, woodwork and Arts & Crafts style furnishings. Our neighboring shops and eateries also have quality goods to offer, plenty to make for an enjoyable day of leisure!

While in Cambria there is great hiking and walking along the boardwalk next to the ocean at Fiscalini Ranch. Very nearby in San Simeon, there is a great spot to view the elephant seals. Also, a tour of the famous Hearst Castle never disappoints. Just south of us, Avila Beach is the warmest beach on the coast and is an upscale town with a golf course and a working pier. Nearby San Luis Obispo also has wonderful shopping and a fabulous night farmer’s market on Thursdays.

Fiscalini Ranch Preserve in Cambria, CA
Cambria coastline
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5 Reasons to Collect Ephraim’s new Spring Pottery

  1. Our seasonal collections are created in very limited quantities – on average less than one piece per state. Because the artists in the studio thrive on designing new pieces, creating them for a short time and then move on to explore new designs, these small collections are authentically limited by the number we can make by hand in these short windows of time.
  2. These particular designs will never be offered again and in this collection there are some very fine, pivotal, and unusual aspects to each of the pieces.
  3. Many of these build on Ephraim’s work from years past and would be wonderful additions to expand an existing collection. For example, the last two years in the spring we have created a limited edition frog vase and the Mill Pond Frog adds to this tradition. Where’s the Nuthatch vase is a transitional piece that fits in with our “Marblehead” line of pottery, which includes the Anniversary Rose and Revival Rose pieces from our Studio Collection. The Bonny Bluebells vase incorporates our rarely utilized snow glaze and could incorporate nicely with other snow-glazed pieces. The Southern Magnolia represents a departure with an unusual form, as does the Nodding Crocus Vase.
  4. We designed a new shop mark for the bottom of limited-edition collections this year. The mark, designed by Kevin, represents the Earth with rays of sun shining from behind our planet. The mark symbolizes the seasons as the sun moves around the Earth. We will use this new stamp, along with our Ephraim Pottery 2017 mark, for all the pieces in our Seasonal Collections.
  5. Financial advisors often recommend diversifying a portfolio with investment in high quality art. While investing in Ephraim’s highly collectible pottery you are also supporting the evolution of our mission – working collaboratively by hand, providing a living wage and sustainable model for artists.
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2017 Spring Collection – Limited Edition Designs

Spring is here! As the frozen landscape once again gives way to warmer days we joyfully celebrate some of the season’s most fleeting actors – a dramatic magnolia bloom, elusive nuthatch, delicate bluebell, humble crocus and emerging frog – with our limited edition 2017 Spring Collection. Available online March 1st – 31st, 2017.

Kevin Hicks throwing & sculpting the Southern Magnolia Vase – Limited Edition. Glazed by Jennifer Grelk.

Ken Nekola throwing and sculpting the Where’s the Nuthatch Vase – Limited Edition. Glazed by Jennifer Grelk.

Bonny Bluebells Vase – Limited Edition – Glazed by Allison Jelenchick. Thrown by Alek Schroeder & sculpted by Laura Klein.

Nodding Crocus Vase – Limited Edition – thrown by Alek Schroeder, sculpted by Laura Klein & glazed by Jennifer Grelk.

Mill Pond Frog Vase – Limited Edition – thrown by Kevin Hicks & Alek Schroeder, sculpted by Laura Klein & glazed by Allison Jelenchick.

 

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