Good partnerships don’t grow on trees. You find them buried in the mud.
Amy Sullivan and Rachel Greenwood are mud goddesses. Both have been making a living with their work since graduating from the NBCCD Ceramics Diploma in 2006. Both of their respective businesses, Amy Laloon Pottery & Greenwood Pottery, are well known in the Maritimes. Now they have partnered up to reach a whole new level of pottery prowess.
The wildly successful Clayspace in Moncton, NB is a place of learning and creativity. Initially a way to cut studio costs, the two well-known potters threw in on a small space together. They decided to offer classes in the space, but before they had even opened their doors, the local Times & Transcript newspaper had picked up their story. With no sign outside, and only one wall painted, they were suddenly inundated with emails from hopeful pottery students.
Within months they outgrew their original space, and took on a commercial space three times the size. They realized they had to move because they had to say no to so many requests due to space restrictions. Six months in their new space and they continue to grow, despite three competitors opening up in the same city. Incorporating interesting projects like teen night, pottery parties, and “March Break Mudness”, they easily fill the new location.
On this shared venture, they are debt free, and they now have two and a half employees. “This business that we thought would be me and Amy maintaining each other has really turned into a third entity that is feeding us and others,” says Rachel. One of their workshop students has become their apprentice, and another friend is brought in for her skill with teaching children. They have an “interesting symbiotic relationship” with Serge, their throwing specialist, who helps with production in exchange for use of tools and materials.
Trade is still a common practice among craftspeople, especially potters. These two have received everything from artwork to law services in exchange for their handmade goods. Rather than detracting from their revenue stream, they see this as a big perk, helping them obtain what they need and build a cooperative network. “I haven’t had to buy soap in years,” says Rachel.
As they have accomplished so many goals in such a short period of time, these dynamic women have their sights set on some new accomplishments. Keep an eye out for their collaborative Clayspace pottery line, which will help cover studio costs. They want to work less and make more, and that is well within reach.
-Allison Green, Textile Design Alumna & Mixed Media Sculptor