MiVT: Two Potters
BETHEL, Vt. (WCAX) - A husband-and-wife team of potters that live and work on an old homestead in Bethel, Vermont, not only throw their own, bowls, mugs, pots and pitchers, they’ve built a larger-than-life kiln where it all goes to dry.
"It's definitely unique," said Becca Webb, showing off their wood-fired kiln that has become quite the attraction in the area. "We sat in a coffee shop and we sketched out this thing. I had no idea what I was getting myself into."
Building a kiln this size has been a goal of Becca and Nathan Webb ever since they met and formed Two Potters 12 years ago. Becca fell in love with pottery thanks to a great high school art teacher.
"I'll never forget the first time I saw her throw a piece of pottery -- a bowl on the wheel -- and I was totally captivated," Becca said. "I still love it. When I wake up in the morning and I know that I get to make pottery that day, I'm like a little kid."
While her husband's pottery is more traditional, Becca says her creations are more organic, often featuring imprinted images. "These are just pieces of clay that I carved to look like a bird, and these get stamped into the side of a wet piece," she said.
The price of the pottery starts at about $30. Most of the pieces are meant to be functional. They're microwaveable and dishwasher safe. "It's like art that can be used," Becca said.
The kiln was first used in 2012 after taking three years to build. It holds 1,300 pieces. The four cords of scrap wood used at each firing not only provides heat for the kiln, but it has an aesthetic value. "Ash from the burning wood lands on the surface of the pottery and eventually melts, creating its own natural glaze," Becca said.
Managing a kiln like this isn't easy. That's why it's only fired up about once a year. It takes two weeks to fill it and the firing is about 90-hours long. Once it's over, the pottery has to sit in the kiln an extra week to cool.
"We have to involve other people to fire it, just because of the sheer number of hours and the labor it takes, and that's been one of the best part of our lives -- is involving other friends and potters who come and put their work in, in exchange for labor," Becca said.
A kiln captivating a community and a husband and wife, throwing everything they have into their lifelong dream.
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