Hand carving adds individuality to potter's work

Hand carving adds individuality to potter's work

September 30th, 2011 by Casey Phillips in Business Around the Region

This custom-ordered, carved clay teapot with gold overlay and deer antler tusks took potter Bonnie Scoggins 80 hours over nine months to complete. Scoggins said most of her pieces take three weeks to finish due to her natural drying process.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

• What: Handmade pottery

• Company: The Bonnie Potter

• Website: www.thebonniepotter.com or www.etsy.com/people/TheBonniePotter

• Telephone: 423-605-2969

• Owner: Bonnie Scoggins

• What's special: Unlike some potters who rely on a single layer of glaze to decorate their work, Scoggins said she heavily emphasizes hand carving her work and uses multiple layers of under glaze. As a result of this approach, the pieces are more heavily textured and no two are alike, even from the same design, Scoggins said.

• The origin story: Scoggins' love of pottery began when she was 9 years old living in Boise, Idaho. Her mother said she needed an activity she could do with others, and since she had no interest in sports, enrolled her in a mixed media class instead. "I discovered clay, and I fell in love with it," Scoggins, 29, said. "There's something so earthy and elemental about it. After years of giving her work away as gifts, she sold her first piece when she was 22. In April, she quit her job as a customer service rep for an insurance company to pursue pottery full time.

• How long does it take to make: Three to eight weeks, depending on the complexity of the piece, number of firings and the duration of the natural drying process.

• Where it's sold: At the Chattanooga Market, the Eager Beader in Cleveland and through her ETSY profile. Custom orders accepted by email or phone.

• What it costs: $5-$100

• Lessons of the trade: "Even if I don't like it, somebody else may," Scoggins said. "Your tastes aren't necessarily the tastes of the public. It's important to be open to that. Also, be friendly."