Saturday, June 27, 2009

Stories and Connections

Over the past 30+ years, we have made thousands of individual pots. We are often amazed at the thought of all those pieces out there, somewhere, doing who knows what since they left our humble shop in Elk Falls.

Our pots are like children we have birthed, raised up and sent out to live lives independent of us. (Please, this in no way is meant to reflect unfavorably on our relationships with our real children!) But I'm getting to a story here...

Once in a while we run into one of these forgotten clay children and we get to hear a little bit of their "stories" or someone relates something to us about a piece we made and it fascinates us! A connection is made between maker and user that we really had no part in, and yet it is part of us. We are connected to so many lives and their life experiences, traditions, or even tragedies.

One such story was recently shared with us by a long-time Winfield acquaintance, Renee Lippincott, who works for the KS Dept of Commerce Office of Rural Opportunity - boy, is that a mouthful, and come to think of it, Renee is a mouth-full too (no offense intended, Renee!) An enthusiastic advocate for small town Kansas and a great dulcimer player. Well, Renee had purchased a 3-piece mixing bowl set we call Farmhouse bowls from us at Winfield some time back and recently told us the rest of the story. She purchased the bowls for her daughter's wedding after giving much thought to the gift. She wanted something that would last, something that would be used and become part of her daughter's life and home. Now a set of stoneware bowls may not be the first thing that would pop into most minds, given those criteria, but Renee has a tradition.

Renee collects bowls, especially bowls that were used by family members. A grandmother's favorite serving bowl, and aunt's bread mixing bowl - bowls that have memories connected to them. In this way, she collects special memories of eating Sunday dinner or smelling fresh baked bread in those homes. What a simple, yet profound idea. Bowls. Not usually highly prized or prominently displayed. But, oh the good things they have held - and shared. I've always liked bowls. They represent simplicity, openess and honesty (ever try to hide something in a bowl?). Thanks, Renee. You have inspired what I hope will be many such stories of our children that others may share. Now I invite you, our friends and customers (most of our customers have become friends) to share your connections with Elk Falls Pottery on our Facebook page. It'll be under Discussions. Also check out our website

We've heard many such stories over the years, and I'll try to share them here from time to time so they won't be lost. We love to hear from our many distant "children."