After a very unexpected layoff from my management job in the food and wine industry, I decided to sell extra pots that I had from my part-time market gigs. In the spring of 2014, I threw a chalkboard a-frame sign on my lawn: "shed pottery open." I displayed pots on old crates that I had salvaged from a retired farmer down the road. If the weather called for rain, I covered my wares with a tarp and closed-up shop. If the sun was shining shed was open! I was contacted by local talent, Chef Adam Hynam-Smith, he was writing a cookbook: "Curbside: Modern Street Food From A Vegabond Chef" and wanted handmade wares to plate his recipes. Essentially, that is where it all began for shed. After working with Chef Adam, I went on to collaborate with some of Niagara's top restaurants, breweries, wineries, and chefs. I single handedly made thousands of wares for these different establishments. I worked myself into exhaustion, and made an incredible amount of sacrifices along the way, but that is what you do when your are truly passionate about something, you put your entire heart and soul into it.
In 2017 I reached a tipping point. As demand for my work increased, it became impossible to juggle both the large restaurant contracts while trying to stock my retail gallery - which had now gained its own busy momentum. Now, I was working harder than before, it wasn't possible or sustainable for one human being. It was taking a toll on my mental and physical well-being. I couldn't make everyone happy. Despite my best efforts, "lack of product" was a term I heard far too often in 2017. Most importantly, I was losing my own happiness and passion toward my craft. Finding myself at a crossroads in my business and in my life, I could see only two options: 1) quit - which I threatened more often then I want to admit. Or, 2) find a solution!
The path to find a solution was the more obvious choice. I'm not a quitter and this was my dream, I couldn't give up so easily. A solution wasn't easy to establish. I had to find someone who was willing to work as hard as I do, who would care as deeply as I do, and who was willing and capable to make the work I was already creating. Selecting someone to share my very personal, very intimate studio space had to be a careful decision. The answer was in front of me all along. The solution was my husband, Ryan. He has always played a strong supporting role in my life and in my business, and he is a creative soul willing to make clay his passion.
In July, Ryan quit his corporate management job to work with me full-time as my apprentice. There is so much to teach him and so much for us both still to learn, but it's a beautiful life, because we are now in this together. 2018 is going to be a whole new year and direction at shed. We no longer take on new restaurant contracts, we only continue on a much smaller scale with our existing local relationships. We have passed on all shows to produce solely for our retail gallery. We have exciting plans for a new firing method in the spring (hint below!). shed is still so young and so much continues to change and evolve with each passing day. We are humbled and grateful to have tremendous support from our community and beyond, allowing us to stride forward with our shed pottery dream.
Our promise to you as husband and wife potters is to always work hard and put only our love and joy into our work. Thank you for following along in our journey, we can't wait to see what the future brings!