The Art of Making Clay: Susan Gordon’s New Pottery and Jewelry Shop Opens Window on “Making”


Susan Gordan decided in 2013 that she wanted to pursue pottery full time. It opened its first outlet in Homewood last week. It will also sell jewelry offering multiple collections of ceramic necklaces and earrings. Photo by Ingrid Schnader.

By Ingrid Schnader

For the first time ever, you can purchase Susan Gordon’s pottery and jewelry in a brick and mortar display case.

More than 200 people visited the store’s grand opening Friday at 1910 28th Ave. S. at Homewood to purchase the colorful and gold designs.

In stark contrast to the crisp white walls and uncluttered atmosphere of the new storefront, Gordon said his business had “humble beginnings”. She decided in 2013 that she was going to quit her job of leading an arts council and teaching pottery at the same time. She wanted to pursue pottery full time.

“I was in my basement in an apartment in Homewood doing all of this,” she said. “It was terrible, honestly. We had no heating or air. There were crickets everywhere and the basement was sometimes flooded. It was my slice of heaven back then, but it was pretty awful when you think about it.

She and her team spent the following years in several different makerspaces, but these places had neither heating nor air. Sometimes the clay froze overnight and they had to throw in thousands of pounds of clay.

Gordon knew she wanted to move into a different space, so each day after dropping her kids off at school, she drove around Homewood doing what she called “prayer driving.”

“I was like, ‘Where am I supposed to be? I feel like I’m supposed to be at Homewood. I feel like there is a place for me. I just feel like I need to find it, ”she said.

“I was going through Homewood and had passed this place. And I think they put this sign up maybe a few days ago. It was just a vinyl banner that they threw over the fence, and I can’t believe I even saw it. “

She called her agent and told him she wanted to see him ASAP.

“I wanted this space to be an inspiring place to come to work,” she said. “I wanted to be inspired. I wanted my people to be inspired. I wanted them to be comfortable and not to be freezing or hot.

One of Gordon’s favorite elements in the new showcase are the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the artists’ workspaces. Guests can look out the windows to watch the employees work hard, and Gordon said she plans to open the back occasionally for public tours.

“For me, the crafting is the most interesting part of the process, because it’s kind of a miracle that you can take a ball of spongy clay here and make it into a sculpture, a manger, a vase or a bowl,” she declared.

The first step in the process is manufacturing, which can be by throwing the clay on a wheel or using a pattern or bowl to shape the clay.

The next step is the smoothing process. The artist will take a clay sponge to get rid of any rough edges or scratches.

It takes a few days for the clay to dry – especially if the weather outside is humid – and then the clay is ready to be fired in the kiln.

“We have names for all of our ovens,” Gordon said with a laugh. “It just makes it easier to follow them, honestly. “

Skeeter is Gordon’s “old faithful oven” and is one of the first ovens she ever purchased. The biggest oven is called Elvis, because “it is the king”. Layla and Lilo are two mid-size ovens, and Buttercup is the smaller one.

“The art of making clay – it has its own personality, it reacts to its own environment,” she said. “It’s not cut and dry at all.”

Gordon said the clay itself is inspiring, but it also takes inspiration from just being a Southern mother, having a home, and thinking about practical things that she wants for herself. .

“What do I want to give?” She said she wondered. “What do I want to have in my kitchen?” What do I want to use? What do I need? “

Her love for clothes, fashion, and style led her to start selling jewelry and ditch the “pottery” of her business name. She started selling initial charms to friends and family, then moved to Pepper Place. Today, she owns several collections of ceramic necklaces and earrings.

“We are just happy to be here in our storefront and look forward to hosting more events in the future – not just pottery events or sales, but some cool and creative workshops here,” he said. she declared. “And we’re opening up our retail space so that people can have small gatherings here and so we have a lot of things going on that we’re excited about.”


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