It all started this past July with an inconspicuous email.  I had no idea at the time what magnitude this pottery request would have.  Someone was simply requesting 30 to 60 custom mugs.  The twist was that they wanted to know if I’d use the clay they found during their construction of a 16-mile highway project designed to bypass Portsmouth, Ohio.  I replied to the construction company who is building this highway, and received another reply back the very next day.  They asked, “How many mugs is too many?  I talked with the CEO today and he would like 100 at the least and upwards of 500 at max.”  And so began the wonderful 500 mug story.

Five days later, my husband is home alone & a knock on the door startles him.  On the other side of the door stands the CEO of Portsmouth Gateway Group, his wife, and two 5-gallon buckets.  I had tried to warn my husband with a text message earlier that day saying, “A man with two buckets of clay is coming to the house.  Please accept buckets.”  He greets the couple & realizes he has no idea why they are bringing us buckets of clay.  Naturally, my husband politely offers them a complete tour of the clay studio and they accept.  I get a call later from my husband admitting he “just gave two strangers with buckets of clay a tour of our clay studio… They were very nice people, but I have no idea who they were!”  I tried not to laugh &  proceeded to explain.  The buckets of clay were wild clay that the construction company found on site while building the highway.  When a potter acquires clay from the clay supply shop, it is normally a fairly sophisticated blend of several clays.  Wild clay, on the other hand, could be unpredictable.  So the testing of the wild clay began.

Approximately five tests later, it becomes apparent to me that the wild clay we are dealing with was going to bubble up like warts & warp & even melt a little when fired in the kiln.  I tried my usual temperatures in the kiln first; then I tried very low temperatures after that.  Nothing would work.  On a total whim, I made a last minute decision to take some watered down wild clay & “paint” it onto the side of a couple mugs before whisking them away into the kiln for their first firing.  Magically, this little experiment totally worked!  The wild clay could survive the kiln firing if it was just a thin layer painted on.  I now had a way to incorporate the company’s wild, native clay into their mugs!  The design came along & was finalized by November.  An Ohio cutout of clay would be added to the mug, the wild clay painted over the Ohio shape, & the mug would be two earth tone colors.

On November 18th, the construction company had a board meeting planned.  As the board members filed into their meeting, a Highway 823 mug was set out for each one of them.  This was the beginning of the company-wide distribution of mugs for each and every employee.  There are 500 employees.  Let there be 500 mugs!

By November, I also had decided I was in way over my head.  There was no possible way for me to single handedly make 500 mugs in a timely manner.  I reached out to one of my pottery class instructors who in turn suggested asking four local potters.  All four accepted my plea for help!  First on board was Adena Griffith who is an amazing ceramics instructor and taught me everything I know about silk screening images onto clay.  Then I reached out to a potter that I was recommended to me who I never met before, Liz Delatore.  Liz is a talented ceramics sculptor & also uses the potter’s wheel quite well.  Finally, I asked potter couple, Sandy Lang & Walter Weil & to my delight they also said yes.  Sandy & Walter have made a fulltime career of being professional potters & are vastly experienced in the world of ceramics.  After getting help from these four local potters, it became clear I needed even more help.  So I asked my husband, Nick, & his sister, Rose.  They also both agreed to help and worked on adding handles, attaching Ohio’s, and painting clay over the Ohio’s.  Then Nick & Rose also helped stamp the mugs with “made in Ohio” stamps, waxing the mugs’ bottoms, & glazing them.  I owe everyone a great big thank you!

Today was the day I was able to finally say to the construction company’s CEO “The 500th mug has entered the world!”  It’s been a long road to make the 500 mugs, but it’s been a great road.

Thank you Adena Griffith, Liz Delatore, Sandy Lang, Walter Weil, Nick Singer, Rose Singer, & Portsmouth Gateway Group.  You all made it possible!

This project took approximately five months, 750 pounds of clay, seven potters, & exactly 823 words to tell the story.

#500mugs

 

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We were enjoying a pint and relaxing at our favorite local Reynoldsburg restaurant & bar called Prost recently.  We are regulars there since it is so close by and offers such an abundant myriad of craft beer selections.  Their menu is fantastic as well and offers primarily Panini’s, bruschetta, soups, and salads.  This particular night was a busy night for Prost with a Seventh Son Brewery tap takeover in full swing.  With it being as crowded and bustling as it was, there was naturally a line for the loo.  As I waited in line, I glanced down and saw that the free Columbus magazine, Stock & Barrel, was set out on a table.  I have to admit that I normally almost never seem to grab free magazines but for no particular reason, I felt compelled to get one this time.  So I returned to my table, magazine in hand, and began chatting with my husband some more.  I paged through the magazine a little bit but we soon decided it was so crowded that we would just have one pint and depart for home.  The drive home is not long, but during our short travel is when it happened.  Probably only 1/2 mile from home, driving down a busy street, I suddenly screamed and grabbed my poor husband’s shoulder who was driving.  “EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” I screamed in the shrillest scream imaginable to which he responded, “WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING? STOP SCREAMING! WHAT IS IT?” I gathered myself and exclaimed “WE ARE IN THE MAGAZINE!  OUR MUG IS IN THE MAGAZINE!” I was told to please refrain from screaming while in the car, but as soon as we got home I showed him the article and he recognized our mug and shared some of my enthusiasm.  I say our mug because I am 90% convinced that I made the body of the mug, one of us trimmed it, and my husband definitely attached the figure eight style handle.  Later, we fired it the first time (bisque fire) and then I glazed it with the colors I picked out.  So it is really made by both of us, which is fun.  Today I wrote a message to Stock & Barrel saying thank you so very much for including our mug.  Not only did they include our mug, but they also mentioned Crafty by Nature by name in the article itself.  Boline Apothecary is where the writer of the article bought the mug, which is also mentioned in the article.  If, by the way, you have never been to Boline Apothecary, it is a really amazing shop if you like natural, healthy goods including plant-based remedies, tinctures, aromatherapy, natural body products, teas, and so many more natural & wholesome items.  Thank you again, Stock & Barrel, for the amazing mention in the article.  This “Drink Local” article has really put a smile on my face and it feels good to feel we are acknowledged as being part of the local mug making community in Columbus.

To go to PROST! – 7354 E Main St, Reynoldsburg, OH

To go to Boline Apothecary – 15 W Dunedin Rd, Columbus, OH

Thank you for reading my small novel, and now here is the actual article:
article

Our mug sits at the bottom of the mug-stack.

If you have trouble reading it, the text of the article is here too:

DRINK LOCAL: mugs that reflect belief in our local economy.

I’ve been accused of many things, most I’d rather not share in a public forum. However, the title of Coffee Cup Queen is one that I don’t mind putting out there. Others might say Coffee Cup Hoarder is more appropriate… so I have a lot of coffee cups? So what? The way people collect whole wardrobes of concert t-shirts, or magnets from everywhere they land, is analogous to my little hoarding dalliance.

I have cups that support my various passions – Dear Sugar’s (Wild’s Cheryl Strayed) “Write Like a Motherfucker” is one of my favorites, so is my PaperSource “Do Something Creative Everyday” mug. Then there are the place memories – coffee delivery systems from places like Cape Cod, Mexico, Medieval Times (those knights are hot), New Orleans, New York, Vermont. I even once went through this weird phase where I had to use my Columbus Museum of Art mug every morning, some caffeine-loaded good luck talisman type fixation. Looking at the range of them stacked on the counter is like binge watching my life in one glance.

Lately, I’ve been picking up cups and mugs that reflect my belief in supporting the local economy. If I pick up locally roasted beans, it makes sense that I extend that I enjoy it via a locally crafted mug.

To start your own collection, which not only supports locally-owned retail, but the artisans themselves, start with stores that focus on independent producers – Clintonville’s Wholly Craft and Easton’s Celebrate Local come to my mind quickest. However, there are off-the-beaten path shops as well. The Cultural Arts Center, one of the hidden gems of downtown, not only hosts exhibits and classes, but also features a small gift shop featuring, among its many locally crafted items, drink ware crafted in its vey own ceramic studio. Bonus: Each item is one of a kind. Boline Apothecary, with all its personalized teas and herbal remedies, has a small selection of pottery by Columbus producers Crafty By Nature.

If you don’t want to change up your routine, Starbucks’ “Made in the USA” collection showcases the pride of ceramic workers in New Waterford, Ohio.

I feel no shame expanding my coffee collection, especially when I am putting my money back into the local economy. • 

             – Written by Kim Leddy & Photograph by Chris Casella – Stock & Barrel magazine


Introducing our newest soap…

Clear Skin Charcoal Soap

Clear Skin Charcoal Soap

Clear Skin Charcoal Soap is made with activated charcoal used to draw impurities and toxins from your complexion as well as lavender and tea tree oils which are instrumental in eliminating bacteria from your pores.  The drawing action of the charcoal combined with the antibacterial cleaning from the lavender and tea tree oils makes for one seriously clear complexion.

Available now online at http://mkt.com/craftybynature/clear-skin-charcoal-soap

This one is a popular soap so I’ll be making more again soon to keep it in stock!  Thank you everyone!

Available in Boline Apothecary next week, starting on Thursday, August 13!  Boline Apothecary is located at:  15 W Dunedin Rd, Columbus, OH 43214 and is a fanastic natural herb and tonic store full to the brim with natural products, teas, herbs, and all manners of natural lovely items!


This Saturday May 16, 2015 – Columbus Eco-Chic Craftacular
Whetstone Community Center (Clintonville area)
3923 North High St, Columbus, OH
Indoors & Outdoors festival hours:  10am – 5pm
Free admission, food trucks, and 70+ eco (green) craft vendors!

Come find us (Crafty by Nature) at this fantastic festival this Saturday!  We’ll have new pottery, new soaps, lotions, and big happy smiles!  We always love to do this wonderful festival.  It’s eco / green because the vendors are required to be somehow predominantly ecological.  Items may be upcycled, recycled, natural, sustainably sourced, reusable, or some combination thereof.  Who doesn’t love things that are good for the Earth?

We hope to see you there!

#ecochic2015 #columbuscraftacular #eco #crafts


Our online store has moved.  Today is the first day of our new online store, and to celebrate, we’re offering 20% off your order by using the promo code WARMUP20

To enter our shop now, please go to mkt.com/craftybynature

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Simply add your items to the cart, hit “checkout” and look just above your total (dollar amount).  Right above your total, it will say “Add promotional code.”  Just click on that and enter WARMUP20 to enjoy your 20% off.  Good until whenever the weather is actually warm!


This coming kiln load will have some new pottery goodies in it. I have been working on a large 11 inch tall pitcher for a friend at work. It is tall enough that I will need to put it in the kiln with a special half shelf above it, so it can have enough room.

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Next I decided to make a pie plate that is a Pi plate. Pi is the symbol and number that is used in mathematics a lot. It translates into many decimal places but the beginning of Pi is 3.141592653…
This March 14th, 2015 will essentially be Pi Day (3.1415…) and we shall celebrate at 9:26am. Why? Because we are a bunch of nerds at my day job. Here it is so far. It’s numbers and Pi symbol will be much darker (black) once it gets fired in the kiln.

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Next up, I am making a set of mugs as part of a challenge that I must go through in my ceramics class at the Cultural Arts Center. The challenge is to build a bunch of items on the wheel in order to get to the next higher fire clay level. The first part of the challenge is to make a set of six practically identical mugs. My teacher said, “try to make six to eight mugs in one class, then trim all of them in the next class and add all their handles, fire them all together, glaze them all together.” So I set out to make six in one class. I didn’t think I could do it. I prepared, measured, and weighed my clay out ahead of time at home. I got to class and I started to make mugs with the prepared clay. Toward the end of the class, I reached in my clay bag to get another lump of clay but there were none left. I looked up at the mugs I made and there stood TEN glorious mugs! I did it! I even made four bonus mugs! I was so elated! Here they are after I trimmed them all neatly and added all ten of their handles.

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Last up, we have a real winner. This was very challenging for me to make. It is a shaving scuttle. I call it a double decker shaving scuttle because it has a smaller bowl attached inside of a larger bowl. There is a spout or hole between the two. What you do to use a scuttle like this is get your water running nice and hot from the faucet, pour hot water right into the spout to fill the lower chamber, get your shave soap out and make a bunch of lather that you put into the upper chamber or bowl. And voila! You get a nice hot lathering and wonderfully smooth and close shave! Even though these are a little tricky to make, I definitely want to make more of them. This is my very first one. I have made regular shaving mugs before which have just one bowl and I have once made another “double decker” scuttle except its two bowls were separate and just sat inside of one another. I really like this new way of making a fully loaded double decker shaving scuttle!

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I decided to change our logo just a little bit. Some people may have never noticed. Maybe you did. Who knows. Here’s the old and new:

OLD:

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And the new!

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Nothing much has changed, although I eventually plan to phase out making lotion so I can focus just on making soap and pottery. Sometimes people might say someone is “a jack of all trades but a master of none” and I don’t want to be that.


Beer Suds Soap

Beer Suds Soap

Beer Suds Soap, made with Great Lakes’ Edmund Fitzgerald Porter and ground up New Zealand Pacific Jade aromatic hops, combines the moisture-rich qualities of our soaps with the wonderful properties of beer. The next time you grab a beer to drink it, you might consider for one minute the possibility of applying it to your face instead. Then, you will likely drink it anyway. I don’t blame you! Well after a bit of research, we learned all about beer on your face. Here we go!

Beer applied to your skin can prevent free radical damage to the skin and assist it to look more youthful. Beer can also clear up your complexion, treat dry flakes, and make the skin smooth and supple thanks to the pantothenic acid and vitamin complex. The brewer’s yeast in beer is instrumental in the prevention of wrinkles and restoring the skin. Brewer’s yeast can also help improve the symptoms of acne by slowing down the sebum production and killing off the bacteria that trigger acne. Much like the antibacterial qualities of beer which fight acne, beer’s astringent component makes it useful for cleaning out pores. But that’s just the beer-ginning (beginning). We also added freshly ground hops into our soap as well! Hops just happen to be a stellar exfolliant and have anti-inflammatory properties which help soothe your skin gently. Hops boosts collagen and elastin levels which both improve skin’s structure and appearance. Humulone in hops can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin and decrease surface blood vessels. Overall, beer and hops together make an excellent skincare team!

Our Beer Suds Soap is full of rich, sudsy, creamy lather and since the hops and beer do not scent the soap very well, we have added a little bit of fresh cedarwood oil. Oh how we just adore the scent of cedar with its fresh cedar forest appeal.

So suds up! Beer Suds Soap is available at https://www.etsy.com/listing/183731834/beer-suds-soap-eco-friendly-and-natural?ref=shop_home_active_17

Our shop is always open, at http://www.etsy.com/shop/craftybynaturestudio

So next time you reach for that beer and are about to drink it, just think, “I might want this beer on my face!” And I know when no one is looking, you might just dab some onto your face just for giggles.

Beer Suds Soap

Beer Suds Soap


Coming soon is the newly made Charcoal Soap with Patchouli-Vanilla Swirl, made with activated charcoal and a wee bit of plain soap swirled together. The activated charcoal comes from burnt coconut fibers and it helps to draw out impurities and toxins right out of your skin, leaving a clear and clean complexion. We always add extra moisturizing shea butter and aloe vera to each soap so it leaves your skin feeling renewed and lovely. Our soaps will never dry your skin because we cherish happy, moisturized skin! This is the 2nd time we have ever done a hanger swirl and we are quite pleased. We actually use a coat hanger to swirl the soap; imagine that! It works like a charm! It is so exciting to see the soap once it is cut into bars and you can see all the swirls. I’ll have to post more pictures of that soon, now that they are cut. For now, here is the big soap block right before I sliced it into bars.

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Many new and different soaps are emerging at Crafty by Nature lately. We’ve been trying to make soap as often as possible and have found some new scent combinations of essential oils in the process. We of course have some of the traditional blends we’ve used before which are quite popular too.

Cutting into bars, "Orange Creamsicle" soap

Cutting into bars, “Orange Creamsicle” soap

We have recently made, so far, the following soaps:

Frankincense-Patchouli soap: a delightful blend of the spicy, orange scents of frankincense combined with the rich, woodsy depth of patchouli.

Orange Creamsicle soap: Ever have an orange creamsicle? This reminds us of it exactly! A delicate blend of sweet orange oil with the vanilla scent of peru balsam essential oil makes you almost want to take a lick of this soap like a popsicle. Almost… please don’t lick or eat our soaps by the way. They are much better appreciated through just smelling them!

Black charcoal soap with Patchouli/Vanilla: a real treat which has the rich, wonderful scent of patchouli combined with just a little peru balsam oil, which is a musky, earthy, vanilla scent from the tree sap of the peru balsam tree. Together, the two oils remind me from time to time of having a bit of a chocolate scent. The black charcoal part makes this soap jet black due to adding in activated charcoal sourced from burnt coconut fibers. The reason to use activated charcoal on your skin is that it draws impurities and toxins from your skin quite efficiently, leaving a clean and clear complexion.

Orange Cinnamon Spice soap: a fantastic blend of orange oil and cinnamon bark oil. This might make you hungry for a cinnamon laden dessert once you sniff it.

Lavender Fields soap: a pure and true lavender soap that might not be breaking news or anything but it is a powerful aromatherapy aid and a tradition we cannot improve upon. Lavender is very relaxing and calming. Terrific after a frazzled stressful day to unwind.

Lemon Chiffon Swirl soap: with its wonderfully strong lemon scent, this soap is my husband’s all time favorite soap so far. It is actually scented with a blend of litsea, lemon, patchouli, and a hint of lavender. Litsea is a very strong cousin of lemon. It grows as a large shrub and produces very small but powerful lemon-like fruits where the gorgeous lemon scent is housed. The swirl in this soap comes from naturally pink, yes pink, clay which is instrumental in lifting out impurities and toxins from your skin.

Sage Swirl soap: a wonderful blend of pure sage oil with another oil known as clary sage oil. Clary sage reminds me of a cup of Earl Grey tea with a wonderful spicy and orange aromatic and a background of sage. Swirled with sea clay that is naturally green in color, this soap is another one that can lift impurities and toxins from your skin via the natural clay.

Lemon Rose soap: a delightful soap with a little dollop of pink clay for removing impurities and toxins from the skin. This one has lemon essential oil combined with geranium essential oil, which smells very much like a rose. Geranium oil is far more reasonable than actual rose oil so that is a big part of why we love it. This soap is yellow with a little hint of pink along the top where we blended in some of that beneficial pink clay.

Juniper Lime soap: oh how I adore juniper lime soap! Blended together are lime essential oil and juniper essential oil. The result is a very subtle, pale green soap bar whose scent is absolutely alluring to me. Creamy and lather-rich and such a gentle yet gorgeous scent blend.

Blossom soap: a fantastically floral blend of grapefruit essential oil with ylang ylang. Ylang Ylang is a fragrant flower that appears on a fast growing tropical tree and its flowers are used widely for perfume making and aromatherapy. The fragrance this flower produces is very similar to jasmine with a hint of neroli. Combined together with grapefruit essential oil, this floral soap we call “Blossom” is a real treat and will brighten your day.

Blossom Soap with grapefruit oil and ylang ylang flowers oil

Blossom Soap with grapefruit oil and ylang ylang flowers oil

SPICE soap: a man’s soap combining clove and cinnamon spices with orange oil and a hint of patchouli. This spicy blend says “man” to me, or at least how I wish my man would smell! The clove and cinnamon spices are front and center of this wonderful spicy blend. Our SPICE soap also employs activated charcoal in it so this soap is mostly jet black with some cream colored soap blended in. The activated charcoal, from burnt coconut fibers, will pull and remove impurities and toxins from your man’s skin. Also, we should mention that this soap is not just for men. I am already planning to use it as soon as it is fully cured and ready.

Next Up: BEER soap
Yes I said beer soap. Beer soap is fantastic for your skin. We’ll be using beer in this recipe in lieu of using water and we will also be adding powdered aromatic hops at the very end of the recipe. Beer soap generally does not produce a scent, so depending on the powdered hops lending a hand with that or not, we may add some manly essential oils to assist us with this soap. Cedarwood with clove and cinnamon spices is likely what we will use if the hops do not shine through with a good hardy scent. Beer and hops are extremely conditioning for the skin. Hops have an antibiotic effect and can also help soften and smooth the skin. Hops has an anti-inflammatory effect on your skin. It also manages to have anti-aging properties from reducing several skin aging enzymes and boosting collagen and elastin levels. So beauty is truly in the eye of the beer-holder, right?

Some milder soaps on the horizon include:
Vanilla soap
Sweet Almond soap
Honey & Oats soap

If you have a suggestion for a soap scent, feel free to let us know! Our contact information is listed on our page here: www.craftybynaturestudio.com/contact-us

Now back to planning and making more soap!

"SPICE" soap with clove and cinnamon spice blended with orange oil and a little patchouli

“SPICE” soap with clove and cinnamon spice blended with orange oil and a little patchouli