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Nature-inspired ceramics

Bad weather and bad timing stymied foot traffic when potter Tori Hunt held the first of two Christmas sales at her home studio last month. She's hoping for better results for the second sale this Saturday.

"We live in a subdivision," says the owner of Two Ridges Pottery in Flintstone, Georgia. "Usually, a lot of neighbors walk over, but it was pouring rain all day and a lot of people were out of town for Thanksgiving."

She's hoping this sale, on the last Saturday before Christmas, will appeal to any last-minute shoppers looking for unique gifts. Her merchandise includes a multitude of what she describes as "nature-inspired ceramic essentials" — mugs, teapots, plates, bowls, pitchers, sippers, spoon rests, lemon juicers, stemless wine cups and dog bowls, to name a few. In addition to individual pieces of pottery, she has holiday gift boxes that come with a coffee or tea blend.

Her signature design is her handmade mountain mugs, inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, where she grew up. Her studio's name, Two Ridges, is a nod to her favorite views off the Blue Ridge Parkway, where she and her husband, Christopher, have camped and hiked.

Available in various colors, each mountain mug includes the etched image of a mountain range on its base. Other nature-inspired motifs on her pieces include various tree leaves, squirrels, birds and honeybees.

If you go

* What: Open studio sale

* When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21

* Where: Two Ridges Pottery, 39 Durance Drive, Flintstone, Georgia (just south of St. Elmo)

* Phone: 828-424-0114

* Email: tworidgespottery@gmail.com

* Online: http://tworidgespottery.com

On her website, she explains, "Every piece of Two Ridges Pottery is handmade from start to finish, made with love and the hope that it'll be enjoyed for a lifetime by whoever takes it home, a reminder of all the natural beauty out there."

Hunt, 23, says she's been drawn to art since elementary school and had developed a real interest in pottery by high school, when she made a six-piece dinnerware set that her parents still use when guests come for dinner.

She and her husband also have several pieces of pottery in everyday use, including a pour-over set designed to enhance the aroma and flavor of coffee. "We use those every morning," she says.

She came to the Chattanooga area to attend Covenant College, graduating with a degree in community development. As a full-time potter, she may not work directly in her field of study, she concedes, but her field of interest produces its own sort of community development. "I think art can do that," she says.

Hunt says she especially enjoys the creativity and process involved in pottery.

"You're not just sitting down once and finishing something," she explains. "It takes several weeks to finish anything."

Hunt says she opened the studio in June 2018 and has made hundreds, if not thousands, of mugs and other wares since then.

She does a lot of piece-by-piece sales but is hoping to expand to more corporate and large-scale orders, such as dinnerware for wedding registries and logo branding for businesses.

"I'm moving away from the one-offs," she says. "It's not long-term sustainable. I'm looking to do more wholesale for businesses, churches, yoga studios, farms, nonprofits, really any kind of place."

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281.

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