...is the crafty genius behind Dock 6 Pottery. A potter since 1988, Kerry learned to throw in Ann Arbor, MI and has been working as a full-time studio potter in Minneapolis, MN since 1997. She works primarily in wheel-thrown, high-fired stoneware. Her pots are fired to about 2400 degrees in a natural gas kiln so pieces without fused glass can be used in the oven, microwave, and dishwasher. Pots with fused glass are primarily decorative but can be used with dry foods and should be hand-washed. All of Kerry’s pots are durable and they will not lose their vibrant colors over time. She hopes you will enjoy her pottery for both its function and its beauty.
Talk about the beginnings of Dock 6 Pottery.
25 years ago, a collective of four potters got together to share expenses and artistic inspiration. Today, Dock 6 Pottery has evolved into a sole proprietorship, employing 45 of the best people on the planet. They help me make high-quality, affordable, beautiful things out of clay, and we do it all by hand. I sell to hundreds of galleries, boutiques, and museum shops across the country, as well as several major national and international retailers.
What makes Dock 6 a unique shop to buy pottery?
In traditional terms, Dock 6 Pottery stands out because of the popularity of our unique designs combining fused glass and pottery to evoke a sensation of the natural world. But what really sustains us over the long term, and makes Dock 6 stand out more broadly, is a commitment to my employees and the local arts community. I hire artists and creative people of all kinds. My employees not only include potters, but also musicians, actors, photographers, jewelers, fashion designers, glass blowers, painters, and graphic designers. I encourage and support my employees in chasing their personal dreams, and they bring that creativity and energy back to their jobs. That energy shows in the quality of the work.
How has your business evolved? How have you evolved?
As Dock 6 Pottery has grown over the years, I’ve had to evolve into a business manager and not just a potter. Interestingly, however, this same growth has actually made me a better potter. As time for creating has become more precious, my priorities for what I want to make have distilled and clarified. I take more time to think, sketch, and prepare for what I want to make so that every minute I have at my wheel counts.
Why do you think a localized economy is important?
People are the key here. A localized economy is important because people are important. People need to be happy, and so they need satisfying and fulfilling work environments. Locally-produced products can provide those opportunities for people while giving local customers a place they can go to find high-quality work they can feel good about.
How has living in Minnesota impacted your business and products?
Minnesota has the “perfect storm” of ingredients for a successful business. The rents are reasonable so overhead can be kept low, the labor force is reliable and well-educated, it’s in the middle of the country so distribution is cost-effective, and the buying public is genuinely interested in the process and the people involved.
How has the world of pottery evolved in Minneapolis/St. Paul? Where do you see it going in the future?
The Midwest in general, and the Twin Cities in particular, has an incredibly robust and knowledgeable clay community. There are so many potters and such a supportive environment, that all “ships” are lifted by the “rising tide.” In my opinion, the more potters there are, the better. It helps everyone—potters and pottery lovers alike—to have such a vibrant group of people to learn from, interact with, buy from, etc.
Talk about the fulfillment that comes from being an artist.
Seeing someone use something I made is the best feeling in the world. Making beautiful things people will use everyday is what inspires me the most and drives me to make new things. I think of every cup, plate, and coaster as a small piece of functional art. Bringing affordable art to everyday people is what keeps me motivated and makes my soul happy.