Arrow Fat Left Icon Arrow Fat Right Icon Arrow Right Icon Cart Icon Close Circle Icon Expand Arrows Icon Facebook Icon Instagram Icon Pinterest Icon Twitter Icon Youtube Icon Google Plus Icon Hamburger Icon Information Icon Down Arrow Icon Mail Icon Mini Cart Icon Person Icon Ruler Icon Search Icon Shirt Icon Triangle Icon Bag Icon Play Video

Pottery Thoughts

Fall Activities In Door County, Part II

Fall Activities In Door County, Part II

Welcome back to our blog series on fun things to do in Door County this fall! Door County is a magical place with so many amazing activities all year round, but there’s something especially wondrous about a fall trip up to Wisconsin’s spectacular peninsula. The other-worldly colors, the crisp, cool air, a visit to Door County just can’t be beat.

Ellison Bay Pottery Studios has the handcrafted pottery that you’re sure to love, but we also have the inside scoop on places to check out in Door County. Stay tuned for some great fall activities, and stop by or shop online from Ellison Bay Pottery Studios today!

Bring Your A-Door-able Costumes

With the many Halloween-themed activities that happen in Door County, the end of October is an excellent time to visit — particularly for families with kids who love dressing up. Jack O’Lantern Days in Fish Creek is great for trick-or-treating, mask making, a costume contest, and even has live owls that kids can observe. Thrills on Third is another great Halloween opportunity, where Sturgeon Bay features activities such as pumpkin painting, walks through haunted houses, a costume parade, and slime making. Both of these events take place the weekend of October 26th.

Eat Everything

Apple pies and crisps, cherry cobblers, pumpkin muffins, fresh seafood — whether you’re checking out a farmers market or dining at an exceptional foodie restaurant (which are truly everywhere in Door County), there are infinite foods to enjoy and try while you’re on the peninsula. For some truly unique and delicious meals, try the cheese curd pizza at the Wild Tomato in Fish Creek, a whitefish kimchi BLT from Wickman House in Ellison Bay, or some Swedish fare at Al Johnson’s — and be sure to check the roof for some surprise guests!

Shop Around

One of everyone’s favorite things to do in Door County is to visit all the wonderfully quaint shops that dot the peninsula’s streets. From clothing and local food items (cherry jam and homemade cheese, to name a few) to handcrafted pottery, you simply can’t go wrong when you spend some time shopping in Door County. Park your car in one of the staple towns, such as Fish Creek, Ellison Bay, or Sister Bay, and stroll around while window- or actual shopping. Not only are you finding some excellent souvenirs for yourself, you’re supporting local businesses as well.

Watch a Pottery Demonstration

Ellison Bay Pottery Studios offers free demonstrations for visitors! Our handcrafted pottery is unique in many ways — each piece is handmade and individual, but also functional, and can hold food and liquids, as well as go in the dishwasher and microwave. You can witness first hand the process that goes into making our handcrafted pottery, and find incredible gifts to take back home with you. Whether for yourself or for a loved one, a piece of handmade pottery is a timeless and thoughtful souvenir.

We’re located at the very northernmost part of Door County, in beautiful Ellison Bay. Stop by our store or shop our online collections — we hope to see you and are thankful for your business!

Continue reading

Fall Activities In Door County

Fall Activities In Door County

Something that every Wisconsinite (and many an Illinoisan) know is that there’s no better place to visit than Door County in the fall. The incredible colors of the deciduous forests, the striking landscape of rock and water, a trip to Door County is one of unparalleled beauty. There are so many reasons to come up to the peninsula all throughout autumn, which is why Ellison Bay Pottery Studios has compiled a list of the best activities for the season. Take a look at our list, and while you’re driving around, stop by our Door County pottery studio for demonstrations, gifts, and incredible artwork!

Take In Some Views

“Stunning” is about the only word that best describes Wisconsin’s scenic peninsula. In autumn, the vistas become even more mesmerizing. Drive up Northport Road for some winding fall views, all the way up the peninsula. Make sure you spend some time at Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek — on a warm day, renting bikes is ideal. Heading east towards the Lake Michigan side, you’ll see some wonderful beach views and one of the impressive Great Lakes, which will probably make you feel like you’re standing at the ocean instead of the edge of Wisconsin. These are just some ideas, but there’s not a bad view in sight when you’re traveling up through Door County.

Visit Washington Island

With ferry rides leaving every hour on the hour (from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.) from right here in Ellison Bay, you can traverse up to the beautiful Washington Island. Check out the hidden Stavkirke, an historic replica of a Scandinavian church, as well as Schoolhouse Beach, a pebble beach with crystalline water that’s sure to bring a sense of serenity to everyone who visits.

You’ll need to drive around on Washington Island, but it’s not a problem — cars can be driven onto and transported across the water!

See the Pumpkin Patch Festival

Just down the road from our Door County pottery studio in Egg Harbor is the annual Pumpkin Patch Festival, held this year on October 5th and 6th. With live music, food and drink tents, carnival rides, and games for every kid to enjoy, it’s guaranteed to be fall fun for the whole family. It’s a pretty busy weekend, so it’s recommended to get there earlier. View the schedule of events here.

In addition to the Pumpkin Patch Festival, there are tons of other fun fall festivals to check out in Door County each fall. The Apple Festival in Sister Bay, the Townline Art Fair in Ephraim, the Autumn Lighthouse Festival featured at the Maritime Museum — the list goes on and on!

Our next blog will cover even more incredible fall activities for you to enjoy. Door County is a magical place to visit, and you can make your trip even more special by stopping by Ellison Bay Pottery Studios. With demonstrations and ideal Door County pottery gifts that everyone will love, this is one stop you don’t want to miss on your trip. We look forward to seeing you, but if you can’t make it this time around, shop our collections online!

Continue reading

Pottery Studio Lessons: "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." Scott Adams

Pottery Studio Lessons: "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." Scott Adams

   We're in the middle of glazing, which is the perfect time to dream about what we're going to do next.  John has made all the glazes he wants to test in this firing.  I've still got to decide which glazes to use. The fun comes when we start talking about what we'll do after this firing: what we'll make and what we wish we would make. Glazing isn't a horrible part of the pottery making process, just a time consuming part. Most of our art designs were done on greenware so there are just a few creative decisions left.
Which glaze goes on what pot and whether we want more and more or less and less. It's a focused and detail driven process.  But once those decisions get made and we've written ourselves notes (essential!) then the hard work of being on our feet for hours begins and so does dreaming.
Kiln furniture is for pottery.
Then, there's the moving furniture stuff that is all John's job.  The kiln is outside and today it's not so cold, so I'll be running cups of hot tea out once in a while.
Above is kiln furniture--which holds kiln shelves up.  Each firing has different shapes and sizes of pots so he builds the shelves as he goes.  Kinda like using those cool bricks and blocks of our childhood.  He records everything he does. 
We joke that it's almost like Christmas here when we open the kiln, but it's better than that.  It represents 8 weeks of work and many answers to so many questions.  And that exhilaration energizes us to clean everything up and do it again.  

Continue reading

Winter Soup Mug Flash Sale Extended till Monday Morning!! Special Thank You Gift included!

Winter Soup Mug Flash Sale Extended till Monday Morning!! Special Thank You Gift included!

The One - The Only - Super Soup Mug Sale

Friday 3/25  9am-8pm

+ a BONUS!

A secret surprise thank you gift with each purchase

Until I met John in 2003 I hadn't used a hand thrown soup mug.  Years before, my Mom and I had been in John's studio to buy my brother and his fiancé a shower gift (goblets, of course) and we loved everything we saw. But I just didn't think of it as something for me.  Someone else, yes. Me, no.

I had small children and I assumed that pottery was too fragile.  Took too much care.  Wasn't really practical.  

Sale?  What about the sale?

So marrying John and using pottery day after day was quite an introduction.  Turns out my children couldn't easily break the plates and bowls; they tried to get out of washing dishes. They fussed over the rules a bit (one dish in the pan at a time to prevent chipping....OMG it takes sooooo long--said some whining child!).  Soon it was second nature for even the youngest daughter. 

Although I thought of only using the soup mugs for soup or stew, I soon learned to enjoy John's great chili in a mug and then there's the hot oatmeal in the microwave that is perfect for a morning like this. My children quickly found the soup mugs were the perfect size for ramen (with peas, or eggs, or left over chicken) and each kidlet went to college with a soup and a coffee mug.  

And then there were the brilliant customers who used them as a watering dish for their bunnies and ferrets. No tipping was the selling point! More people pointed out how good they were as candle holders for pillar candles--the handles are the most romantic part.  

What do you mean secret surprise gift?  Tell me more, please.

And then there are leftovers: zap your choice in the microwave and TaDa----Lunch or dinner.  

Easy wash up.  Food safe glazes and no wacky plastic chemicals to worry about either.  Sturdy and beautiful.

They are truly little works of art you can use everyday.  

hand made pottery soup mugs

(Left)-FAG

(Middle)-SMSBG

(right)-AB

(front)-DO SOLD

hand made pottery soup mugs

(left)-CB SOLD

(middle)- ANB

(right)- FASBG   SOLD

(front)- GR

 

Details of the sale:

Each mug is $44.  Shipping is $15-$18 depending on the number of mugs you buy. 

Special Secret Thank YOU Gift with each purchase.  This gift was selected especially for this fun soup mug sale.  

Send me your email with your selection and I'll send you a PayPal invoice.  I'm not running this through the store this time.  If you really don't want to use PayPal, call us at 920-740-5859.  

As soon as I get your order I will note that sale on the website and on Facebook.  

 

 

 

Continue reading

Making Enough Pottery for the Season and Preparing the Soil for Planting in Door County

Making Enough Pottery for the Season and Preparing the Soil for Planting in Door County

small pottery studio production

John loads up the glazing table with cups and covered dishes for me.  These are two of our most popular glazes. 

There was a time, years and years ago, when Ephraim was our family's vacation destination.  Then my folks bought a hotel in Ephraim and I started cleaning bathrooms.  I got summer jobs in the tourism industry, mostly housekeeping and dish-washing and as a server. I went to college and finally married and moved to Baileys Harbor to become a ------ dairy farmer/dairy farmer's wife. Yeah.  How did that happen?

Years after that, once I sold the cows and machinery, I moved myself and my four children to Ellison Bay and married a potter.  It didn't take long before I noticed that the seasonality of my previous dairy life was similar to our studio and gallery life. 

On the farm in Baileys Harbor, the job I hated the most was picking stones in fields, preparing them for planting.  Hate is a strong word, I understand that.  But it doesn't even get close to how much I loathed that job. 

Door County's soil is mostly rock with a little dirt thrown in.  If you've gardened here you'd be nodding in agreement.  Look around as you drive through the county and you'll see those cute rock fences.  Those were made by farm families every spring.  Parents and children, and if they could afford it a hired man, would walk out or ride the bucket attached to the front of a tractor, to the first field to be cleared of stones.  A seed planter can be damaged by rocks and stones in the field, so this was a very important, never ending, chore.  Winter with it's freezing and thawing heaved new rocks and stones up from the core of the earth to make my life a living hell each spring. 

In small fields we'd fill up the bucket on the tractor and Dave (my first husband) would then drive it over to the rock fence that seemed a little thin and drop those rocks. With larger fields, we'd pull an old manure spreader into the field and fill that up.  We'd each carry a white plastic five gallon bucket and fill it. Then walk over to the spreader. Dump. Repeat.  Our two older kids shared the bucket and would help each other carry it to the spreader, but they needed Daddy to pick it up for them.  They were probably better at picking rocks than I was because I was so crabby about having to do this task. 

It was a cold, damp, dirty, hard job.  But vital to our survival and success on the farm.  We all worked together as a family, something that built a strength in our family. 

When I moved my family to Ellison Bay, it wasn't obvious to me just how much my life on the farm, with it's cyclical nature, would have prepared me to life in the tourism industry.  Farms had better months for milk production and pottery galleries have better months for pottery production and income generating. 

The seasons corresponded as well.  January milk production would drop based on the fertility of our cows and, as everyone knows, Door County is totally closed after Christmas.  (That's a joke by the way.  It's people's perception that everything is closed so they don't come up and then businesses have to close for the winter because no one comes up; that's the Circle of Life--cue the music).

What we did on the farm in the winter was maintain and repair machinery.  We deep cleaned the milk house and updated records. Researched how to get a better yield with better seeds and how to improve the genetics of our cow's offspring and keeping our cattle healthy consumed us and increase milk production.  I'd spring clean the house in the winter so in the spring I could be outside picking those damned rocks. 

In the studio we learn what pottery sold the best last year, what glazes were most popular, what new items we've been thinking about should be made.  We create plans for events, for inventory building, for maintenance and repair inside and outside of the gallery. Paperwork.  Improvements in the business, advertising to try and to drop. And we make pottery, lots of pottery, so that our shelves are full when we open the doors in May, or April, or whenever people start driving down the driveway a lot and we put up the open sign for good. 

Building an inventory can feel not so arty and more like a business, yet we have to think of what we do as a combination of creativity and taking creative risks and practical pragmatic decisions and jobs that must be done.  In order to keep our creative muscles strong we give ourselves some time each day to play with clay, to experiment with textures, or shapes or watch a YouTube video on a different way to fabricate a box or mug.  There are jobs that are not so cool such as recycling scraps of clay using the pug mill, with smells really bad and is loud.  That's John's job.  Keeping the inventory straight is mine.  All of these little things combined plus commitment to going to the studio and working every day is both ordinary and extraordinary. 

I mentioned the job I hated on the farm was picking stones.  One of the reasons was that there are so many sizes, from grapefruit sizes to Cadbury Egg size and smaller.  We had to have a limit or it would have taken days to clear one field of all stones and rocks.  But there was an upside.  Sometimes I would find pink quartz.  Sometimes I'd find granite rocks.  Sometimes I would find amazing fossils.  If I could get over my disgust with this essential job I could get into the treasure hunting excitement that even my kids, who were under 10, had.  Learning about the geology of Door County became a passion of mine.  I've always collected rocks and stones and they moved with me for over 40 years.  I remember where I got each one.  My Mom collected stones and rocks, as did my maternal Grandmother and they kept those collections close, like lining up the precious stones on the window sill in front of the kitchen sink overlooking the garden they came from. 

Then one day I meet a potter and begin learning a completely different aspect of stones. Of granite.  Learning where clay comes from. How it's created, by the earth, over millions and millions of years.  How we can transform this sticky plastic material into a kind of stone when we fired it just to it's melting point. 

I miss so much of my previous farming life: working with my children in the barn or field.  Dealing with my 'girls' in the barn and out in the field.  Fetching my 'girls' in the pasture at 4:00 am every morning and seeing shooting stars and amazing northern lights.  Slipping into the barn at 10:00 pm to give them one more slice of hay.

Then I think of how I, right after dinner, slip into the studio to cover up some project I've been working on, watch John at the wheel, sketch my ideas everywhere, write, meet people who fall in love with John's work, greet returning customers.  I get to create a display in the gallery. We get to have a picnic on our porch for lunch every day during the busy season. 

 

picking rocks in the spring

I didn't take photos when we were picking stones in the 80's so I've borrowed this one from a dairy mom in Ohio.  I had no idea Ohio had rocks in it's fields as well. 

 

Continue reading

What's so good about November?

The light for one thing.  Once the trees lose their leaves, the sunlight can get through and light up the woods.  It seems brighter around the barn and for that alone, November is good. 
The smells of autumn.  Leaves on the ground.  The grass mowed for the last time.  Crisp air which hints at the snows to come. Fall flowers still smell good and grace our home and gallery. Apples beyond ripe in the orchard fill the air with a certain piquant sweetness.
The pace slows down.  We're still very busy.  Stacking wood, throwing pottery, dusting the gallery, sketching the next new ideas for the winter, anticipating the last OPEN HOUSE of the year, trimming pottery, firing pottery. 
We've got one more firing to complete this year and it's going to be full of orders.  We take our promise to get these done and mailed in time for Christmas surprises. We love, love, love filling pottery orders.
The end of the season is bittersweet.  I love meeting new people, seeing old friends and learning something everyday.  But at the end of October, I'm ready to slow down a little, which is why we change to fall hours.  Gives us a little more time to think, something vital for an artist.  We get away from our little piece of heaven on earth and gain perspective.  

Continue reading

August Newsletter Birthdays and Anniversaries and Parties.......

Hurray----It's summer in Door County and...........


it's hot and humid right now, I left the air conditioner in the gallery on this evening and I'm sitting in coolness enjoying myself and writing this letter. I think I'll sleep here!
Door County was called the "Air Conditioned Playground of the Midwest" years ago for years but not anymore. We have steamy hot days and nights when the fan doesn't do much but move the sticky air around.
Anyway, that's not the only thing that's hot here at the studio. We just had a firing and John unloaded the kiln today. You can go over to our Facebook page and see the new pots right now.

Work in Progress......

   

and..........    

Completed.  

     
Here's one John and I created together. We think it's amazing. Can't even tell you how I felt when I saw it this afternoon. Stop in the gallery. We'll have the pots on the shelves by Monday.Or you can wait a week and come to our Anniversary/Birthday party on Saturday, August 22 from 1-5 and party with us as we celebrate 41 years here at EBP and John's 72nd birthday. I wrote a blog post sharing my thoughts on anniversaries and birthdays which you can read here.
We'll have cupcakes and refreshing beverages and stimulating conversation all afternoon. Please come.


UPCOMING EVENT!
Our September 'AMOST PERFECT POTTERY SALE' is coming up soon. It's one day only--Saturday September 12, 10-5. I'll send a reminder early September, but put it on your calendar.

ON THE BLOG!
A delegation from Jingdezhen was in Door County in July and they came up to our studio for a short talk and visit. (Eleven years ago Jingdezhen and Door County became Sister Cities; and two years ago John and I were members of a Door County delegation that were guests of Jingdezhen.) The delegation consisted of doctors and an administrator and they were most interested in learning about our health care system in Door County. They got to experience a good ol' Door County potluck and brat fry, visit some of the our parks and meet people. I've got more about that experience on our blog.

Thank you for reading.
Diane

PS

One more thing. We're on TripAdvisor and we'd so appreciate it if you would leave us a comment or review. If you have a suggestion or criticism, email us. We're always looking to improve everything we do. Thank you very much.
dm






 

 

 

https://tinyletter.com/ebpottery

Continue reading

Nature and Our Ceramics

Our ceramics are inspired by the stunning natural beauty of Door County, the southern part of the amazing Niagara Escarpment.

The arbor vitae cling to the cliffs and fill the air with it’s tenacious aromas, the fresh air off Lake Michigan and Green Bay lift spirits, the clear water and skies expand hearts and minds of all who visit.

 

It’s impossible to not be inspired. Our shapes, images and glazes reference the lakes, cliffs, forests, beaches, and weather in each piece of functional art we make.

We translate these powerful experiences into abstract and universal images that elicit an instant response by the viewer which makes visiting our showroom an interactive experience.

A bowl or pitcher may be reminded of a certain beach, person or moment, or a certain season, night sky, a concert or meal when you see a bowl or pitcher.  A connection is made, the story becomes yours and you know you've found what you were looking for.  

 

Continue reading

The Party

What was the best part of the party for me? I could say that not raining was the best part since the party was outside. I could say the food, since it was the FIRST time I'd ever had Paella.

But no, the best part was the friends old and new, some of whom drove hours just to celebrate with us. The friends who couldn't be here who took photos of their collections and sent them to us. The friends who called or took us to the Players or out for drinks in the following weeks. 

I'd include the music, which was the first time I'd ever learned of murder ballads or death folk (google that and be amazed). 

Again, it it weren't for all our friends we would have had a lonely evening, so-----

Thank You to all who came, sent well wishes and pottery photos

and gave us presents. We probably didn't get to talk to everyone but we did try.

Thanks also to Nick Hoover and Jess Holland: 'Death Folk' for their amazing and beautiful music;

 

The Brew Coffee House in Ellison Bay for the delectable Ooo Laalaa's and coffee, Island Orchard Cider House for the best cider ever and

 

Scott McEvoy Culinaria for making that yummy paella which everyone raved about.

 

 

Thanks to Martha Beller of Tweak, who gave us good advice; to Pat Keenan Graphic Design for her artwork in our ads, to the Peninsula Pulse and Kathleen Maci for that glowing article about John.

 

Thanks most of all to our children- Vanya, Tim and Carly, Shannon and Ella and granddaughters Taylor and Isabelle--everyone got a chance to help us prepare and host this party and for that we are forever proud and grateful.  

 

 

Continue reading

Potter's Pets and Other Shenanigans

Bibi, the Maine Coon, supervising John's throwing.
Albion, one of the early cats, looks to be sizing this space up for a cozy hide-away.
John and Harry Hybert working on the side porch with Snuffles keeping an eye out for ________?
It wasn't always serious ART WORK around here.  

Continue reading
Powered by Top Rated Local®