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July 23, 2011

Shop Talk: Little Delaware Pottery

Shop Talk is a weekly column featuring locally owned and operated businesses. This week, we talk to Stephanie C. Theado of Little Delaware Pottery in Delhi.

How long have you lived in the area?

Six years. Before that, I lived in the mountains of North Carolina for eight years.

Tell me about your business:

I am a potter, working in soda-fired stoneware and porcelain. Although I have a full line of functional ware, I have been focusing on steins and mugs lately. I love to make things that a person will use daily, perhaps bringing a new awareness to their day.

I have a lovely studio on the ground floor of my house in Bovina, and I fire the pots in my gas kiln in the garage. All my pots are thrown on the wheel and fired to 1280 celsius _ very hot! This ensures that they are microwave-, dishwasher- and oven-safe.

I have studied with Masako Miyata (James Madison University) and Susan Beecher (Sugar Maples), but a lot of my influence comes from my grandparents’ home pottery in France as well as my peers in western North Carolina and nature itself.

Describe a typical day in your business:

Before starting anything, I like to make sure that my workspace is clean and organized. First, I’ll get some clay, wedge it, which is like kneading bread dough, and weigh out different sized pieces. Then, I’ll sit down at my wheel and center myself first by looking out to the mountains and river. Once I feel good, I start throwing the clay on the wheel. I like to make things in a series because I enjoy getting into a rhythm and more in tune with that particular shape. One day, I’ll throw pots all day. The next day, I’ll work on attaching handles or spouts or finishing the bottoms and lids. Another day I may spend glazing and decorating. In either case, I like to focus on one main task per day. I end each day with a good session of cleaning.

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