In small towns, many businesses have multiple purposes*. Quyle Kilns is one of those places. A family run business that has a winery tasting room, grassy music hillside, a hilltop wedding venue, a metal forging shop and a pottery studio that's been churning out treasures since 1954! You'll drive right by this property as you climb Highway 4, just outside of the charming town of Murphys on your way to our cabin, just another 10 minutes up the mountain.
The last two summers we've greatly enjoyed a couple of their annual outdoor concerts, complete with their local wine (Brice Station Winery) and of course an intermission slice of homemade pie from the Red Apple fruit stand.
I've been driving by Quyle Kilns for the last year and a half, hoping to find four precious Mondays in a row so I could attend their monthly beginner pottery class and I'm happy to say that finally, the November stars, schedule and clay aligned for me to attend!
I've been spending my Mondays (and open studio Thursdays) sitting among some kind and patient retirees who lovingly take their time learning and perfecting their craft. Me on the other hand, as I do most things in life, find myself once again on a mission to accomplish a task. Gene, one of my fellow students, had his darling wife Phoebe stop by recently and as she shook my hand she said, "Oh you're the one making all of those bowls." That's what I'm known for. Christmas gift bowls.
"How many bowls do you need to make?"
"As many as I can!!"
If that story wasn't entertaining enough, I have one more to share with you. In the early 70's my dad worked for a little business just off Healdsburg's Main Street, called Brent's. Robert Brent was a good friend of my dads and they had a motley, hippy crew that made potters wheels! I spent 12 childhood years roaming the facility and playing with clay. I fondly remember some of the ruckus company parties, including a summer time shindig when my dad hosed out the dumpster and filled it to the brim so us scrappy kids could enjoy a swim.
Today, in 2017 I'm sitting in a studio filled with Brent's wheels that still function today! Tens of thousands of pottery pieces have been produced on these wheels and I'm immensely proud to be sitting at one of my dad's creations, learning and creating something new, some 40 years later.
What a wonderful small world,
p.s. Spoiler alert Dad, your Christmas gift will likely be a bowl.
Another p.s. The bowls in the first image on the right are some of my almost finished / unglazed pieces. They are riddled with rookie imperfections but I still love them.
* Quick side-note about dual purposes businesses... they normally have been reserved for small towns, but as I see it, it's the way of the future. If you're thinking about starting a business or opening a shop, think creatively and diversely. My friend Katie and her business partner Erica opened up Gather & Mill; the most lovely curated shop of goods. In addition, they hold creative workshops, yoga classes and rent their charming space for special events. It's prospering and precious!