July 23, 2014

Sweet Baby

This amazing thing happened. Will and I have a new baby girl named Eva!  You may already know this if you follow us in other social media.  I've had this blog for 6 years and if you've paid attention, you've followed me through lots of changes over the years. With that came less time for writing here and a need for focusing on a balance between time with my husband, my personal well being and my pottery career.  Now new and bigger changes are around for us. This sweet little 2 month old has turned our world upside down! I am planning on getting back to work and slinging clay around very soon.  It'll be a different work pace than I've had before in the studio, but I was ready to discover other things in my life, knowing full well a life isn't all about work and pots!  It'll be exciting to see what new things eventually turn up in my work from this life change.  She's the sweetest thing that's every happened to me, that's for sure! 

March 7, 2014

Too busy for bloggin'

If you want to stay in tune with what I'm doing, the best place to find me is through my Instagram feed @joytannerpottery, or at my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/joytannerpottery. The days for long blog posts are few and far between as life speeds up and fills in all around me.  But I'm still here, active as usual!

Over the winter we have settled into the studio, making lots of pots, building the kiln shed and now we are in the process of connecting our electric kiln and building a soda kiln.  Yes, we like to keep busy around here.  It's been really nice getting used to the new space.  I'm so excited to finally have my own soda kiln.  After hopping around from different Artist Residencies, it's going to be great to discover changes in my work from this big change of having a permanent studio and our own kiln. Spring is coming soon and with that lots of new changes to come. 

November 17, 2013

Settling In

Moving for a potter is no easy task.  Everything is heavy! We also had piles of kilnbricks we had to move, waiting to be made into a future kiln very soon.  We've been settling in and unpacking in the studio. I already made some pots to warm up the new space this past week, which felt great.  I love it! Now we have to finish the flooring in the gallery and set it up for the local studio tour coming up in a few weeks, December 6-8.  If you're in the area, come on by to celebrate our new studio and gallery opening! 

After that we'll start building the kiln shed and then build a soda kiln and hook up our electric kiln.  Things have been so busy lately, it was all we could do just to get our studio moved into!  So the shed and kiln will be up soon. Until then, nothing's stopping me from starting to pile up bisque ware for our first firing!

For more info about the Toe River Arts Council Studio Tour, visit www.toeriverarts.org

October 2, 2013

Spruce Pine Potters Market

It's that time of year again! Our favorite pottery show with our potter neighbors, the Spruce Pine Potters Market! About 30 local potters all under one roof working in all types and temperatures of clay.  Will and I will be set up next to each other, so come find us and all of our new pots! It's a scenic drive up to this beautiful area in the fall, so make a weekend out of it!

Hope to see you there!

October 12-13, 2013
10-5 pm
Spruce Pine, NC

Follow the SPPM on facebook!


September 28, 2013

Coming right along

It was a busy summer! Our building took shape, and now this fall, we will be moving out of the EnergyXchange and moving into here.  Our kiln shed and kilns aren't built yet, but we will work on building that after we have moved in.  One last firing at the EnergyXchange will be this week, in the wood pallet kiln. It was a good kiln, but I'm excited for new challenges and endeavors awaiting us in a new kiln and a new studio.

The front porch has already been tested and approved by our dog.

Autumn light and shadows in our field.

July 18, 2013

Building a Studio!

We're moving right along with construction, minus a few rain days.  Here's the foundation! Today the floor is going in. I still can't believe this is actually happening, to have a brand new place to work in.  As I wind up the last few weeks of making pots in the studio for my last wood firing at the EnergyXchange, I can't help but reflect over the last three years, well, the last 9 years of living in North Carolina having temporary studios and how I made do with whatever I could get.  My last studio was inside an old farmhouse I was renting and I remember laughing as I walked through the kitchen carrying greenware pots on the way to the bisque kiln, and then back through the kitchen to glaze them in the studio!  Then I'd haul all the glazed pots 20 miles away to Linda McFarling's soda kiln.  Now the past three years being at the EnergyXchange has been a great convenient studio layout and experience with the wood kiln nearby!  However, I am ready to go. I am ready to walk across our yard and pop into the studio, craving that quiet studio time that you have to have to really get into your work.  I've been fortunate to have these past 9 years where I could really figure things out about my work and business in temporary situations without having to invest much risk.  Of course, there is risk, just being a self-employed potter!  But through time, I've gained strength to carry me forward, just through the simple fact of hard work, dedication and making careful choices.

June 30, 2013

Summer Studio Sale!

Plans are underway for our studio building to be built this summer.  Support our studio building project by buying pots! Now you can show your support more than ever.  Will and I both will be listing pots in our separate Etsy online shops today and tomorrow.  We have lots of great wood and soda pots for sale.  Please help us with our funds for our studio!  Every little bit helps and is appreciated!

My etsy shop is www.joytanner.etsy.com
William Baker's is:  www.williambaker.etsy.com

Keep posted as we update our shop with new listings! Here are some current ones below that are available:

With gratitude,
Joy and Will

June 6, 2013

Toe River Arts Council Studio Tour this weekend!

It's that time of year again! You can come up to the mountains for the Toe River Arts Council Studio Tour.  For the last time you can come see Will and me up at the EnergyXchange. We'll be headed out of the residency program this fall to create our own home studio, so come bid us a farewell and shop for some great pots we have.  We're definitely in the mood to clean out and clear out of our inventory before our big move, so if you come you might find some great sales.

Studio Tour is this Friday 12-4, Saturday and Sunday 10-5.
For more info visit, www.toeriverarts.org.

Directions to our studio?  We are at the EnergyXchange, 66 EnergyXChange Drive, Burnsville, NC 28714, one hour NE of Ashevile, NC.  Here's more specific directions: http://www.energyxchange.org/contactus/directions

This weekend you can also find some great pots of ours at our cooperative gallery, Mica, in downtown Bakersville, just about 15 minutes from our studio.  On the way you can pass several other great studio potters, like Michael Kline, Courtney Martin, Terry Gess, and many more artists that work in a wide variety of mediums.  So you can make a big weekend out of it, touring around Mitchell and Yancy county visiting galleries and studios.

Hope to see you soon!
Joy and Will

May 30, 2013

Carving, Fire and Flame

I love the rich red contrasted with the opposite side on this mug from the last wood and soda firing. It was a keeper for me. Sometimes I keep a couple of my favorites from a firing, to use and learn from, or to enjoy the rich surface.  I can't wait to get more out of the kiln like this one!  The wood ash and soda really accentuate the carving on this side pictured below!

May 13, 2013

Breaking ground

Well, not quite yet. Studio plans have just begun. It seems a daunting task since we have never built anything before.  So getting started is the hard part, but hopefully once we get going it will feel like we're actually getting somewhere.  I'm not actually worried about the kilns since we know how to build kilns and we already have the bricks waiting in a big pile for us.  It's the actual studio building where there are so many unknowns. 

This is the field I'll one day get to look out into from my studio window! The quiet valley is a perfect place for making, and each day we hear wood thrushes, hawks and owls nearby.  I can't wait until I can walk across the yard after breakfast and go throw pots.  Having impermanent studios for the last 9 years, now it is time to have my own permanent studio and I'm so ready for this change.  Right now I'm working on my last making cycle up at the EnergyXChange, I'll probably fire the wood kiln a couple more times and then we'll move out the end of September.  Here's to a big year ahead!

May 9, 2013


After throwing for the last 13 years sitting on a stool, now I have made the shift to throwing pots while standing up.  The past couple of years I have had increasing low back pain from my potter's life.  Leaning over the wheel, loading and unloading kilns, picking up heavy boxes of clay, scraping many a potter's kiln shelves plus my own, loading the car for shows, working long hours every day in the studio....well, let's just say these things have started to take their toll.  Not to mention I love to hike and garden.  I love hard work.  I love my potting life.  But what it does to your body is scary, so I have been really starting to pay attention.  I also have been striving for a sense of balance in my work to life ratio. I'm trying to force myself to slow down and do less.  That is a hard thing to do when you're a seriously focused worker-bee potter type like myself.

I have been actively doing yoga for the past two years, which I absolutely love and can't go a day without doing morning and evening.  It has brought me more than just physical well-being.  It grounds me, relaxes me, and I've even noticed that it gives me more self confidence in other things I encounter.  I recently have started a class on Feldenkrais, Awareness through Movement, which focuses on the relationship between movement and thought.  Simply put, breaking down movements very slowly, you can start to re-train your brain to move with ease and notice the bad habits you have established.  I'm trying to apply it to how I move through every situation throughout the day.  I've been really finding all of this I've learned about the structure of the body and muscles and moving very fascinating, and it's something that is always on my mind.  Maybe that's where some of these new skeletal - like carving patterns are coming from.  I just thought I'd share what's going on in the studio and in my head these days.  Making changes like these aren't easy, but I'm determined to work through them because I love being able to make pots and I want to continue to do so.

May 7, 2013

Artisphere Festival

This weekend Will and I are headed down to Artisphere art festival in downtown Greenville, SC. We don't do that many outdoor shows anymore, but we've done this show several years in a row and always enjoy going back.  Will even won an award last year which also allows him entry in the following year's show, and was asked to be one of the jurors for this year's show. 

You can find us side by side in Booth #63 and #64, exhibiting our finest of the wood and soda fired pots fresh from the wood kiln.  We hope to see you there!  A perfect show for Mother's Day, too, we'll be sure to have lots of nice gifts for giving, including vases and planters.

May 10 - 12, 2013

Friday 12-8
Saturday 10 - 8
Sunday 11 - 6 


April 11, 2013

Spring News

Read the latest spring enewsletter from Joy Tanner and William Baker Pottery here at this link.

And if you didn't get this in your email inbox, you haven't signed up for our mailing list, so you can do that here!


The photo was taken hidden down in the gorge where it feels great to be away from cell phones and internet in the Wilson Creek wilderness area below Grandfather Mountain near Linville, NC.  

Happy Spring!

March 17, 2013

Blue Ridge Potters Guild workshop

Will and I are headed up to Roanoke, Virginia to co-teach a workshop for the Blue Ridge Potters Guild next weekend. It's always fun doing these pottery workshops together; while many aspects of our career and approaches to clay have been similar, there are differences in how we work that are fun to discover and learn from.  We have a similar eye in regards to form so it's fun having a running dialog in the studio about what each of us is working on, with the result of this often sparking new ideas for each other.  When we get back, it's glazing time for a spring wood firing is in our midst!

March 11, 2013


For a chance to win a free Joy and Will pot, if you are at NCECA this year, follow along on Instagram to play! As you can see from the list above the potters participating are an amazing lineup of potters. Adam Field, a potter from Colorado has come up with this brilliant social networking event!  Follow each of the artists listed above on their Instagram feeds to participate.

Follow me @joytannerpottery
Follow Will @williambakerpottery

"HIDE'N'SEEKAH will be hiding 36 pieces of pottery in Houston, TX during this year's NCECA conference.  Clues to find each artist's work will be posted on their own personal Instagram feed (which is why you have to follow all 36 of them and not just HIDE'N'SEEKAH).  Not on Instagram?  No better time to start!  Finders keepers!  HIDE'N'SEEKAH is NOT an official NCECA event!!!"

The event takes place in Houston, Texas for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, or aka, NCECA.2013, March 20-23. The pots will be hidden around the conference center and your job will be to find them!

March 10, 2013


The edges of spring are beginning to show around here if I take the time to notice.

I love to listen to podcasts and audio books while I am working in the studio. Some of my favorites include This American Life, Radio Lab, Freakanomics, The Splendid Table, Fresh Air, The Diane Rehm show and more.  Lately I have been thoroughly enjoying my friend and fellow potter Ben Carter's podcast, Tales of the Red Clay Rambler.  He interviews artists worldwide about their art and life.  I think you'll enjoy it as I do, even if you are not an artist.  I always find it interesting to listen to things in the studio that require such focused attention, when what I'm doing with my hands requires the same range of focus.  Now that my hands know what to do when throwing a pot at the wheel, my mind sometimes can wander off and get me uncentered, which doesn't help when throwing a pot!  I find keeping engaged with podcasts or audio books my focus heightens.  The muscle memory that I have gained through 13 years of making pots helps me consider other things about that form while throwing the pot.  It's so similar to playing a song at the piano.  When I first was learning how to play music when I was little, every note and hand position was painstakingly paid attention to.  Now I can play through a song without really paying attention to where my hands are on the keys, or where I am following along on the page.  Instead, I can refine the layers of the song through emotion, volume, and tone.  The same refinement comes at the potter's wheel. Now I don't have to tell myself to hold the tools a particular way.  My hands already do that.  That frees up my mind to think about what shape the pot needs to be, where I want the volume of the form, what areas are set up for the handle, or for the lid, etc.  Listening to stimulating, educational conversation with thought provoking ideas and stories also fuels this process of creativity.  I'm further stimulated and focused in my own world when working and listening.  I've talked with other fellow artists about this and have heard similar thoughts from them about their ability and love for listening to things while working in the studio.  If you don't already listen to some of these podcasts, I encourage you to do so and see where it takes you!  

And if you have some recommendations for great audio books, I'm all ears!

February 27, 2013


I'm settling back into home to my simple potting lifestyle in the quiet mountains after a great time in Florida for the firing symposium.  It was such an honor for Will and I to have been asked to present along such widely recognized ceramic artists such as Don Reitz, Chris Gustin, John Balistreri, Matt Long, Trevor Dunn, Adam Field and Steven Lee.  What was even better, was getting to know them after the workshop, spending time watching the sunset, enjoying good food, sharing stories and laughs, and realizing our common bonds through not only the medium of clay, but through our goals and passions for creating a lifestyle out of expressing ourselves.  What's always amazing to me is meeting such great people within our clay community and realizing how simple our quest really is.  While we each have led different paths in clay, our motivations are exactly the same.  Listening to the slide talks of Don, Chris, John and Matt, I kept thinking I needed to work on my slide talk!  But then I realized, theirs were so compelling because they had about 30-50 more years of experience on me, with lots of life packed in that influenced the choices they have made in their work.  So I left there feeling fully inspired, and excited for my chance at this life I have chosen as an artist and what it will continue to bring me for the rest of my life.  I'm truly blessed to have found what I love to do so early in life and am honored when such great opportunities keep unfolding for me. Thank you, St. Pete Clay and the Morean Arts Center for this great chance to share a bit of myself to the greater ceramic community.

January 31, 2013

Tea time, Show time

This teapot, and another one of mine is awaiting tea among other handmade teapots from a great lineup of North Carolina potters at the North Carolina Pottery Center, in Seagrove, NC.  The exhibit opens this Saturday, February 2, from 12 - 2 pm, with tea and light refreshments.

They made a cool postcard with a crop detail from all of the potters teapots that come together to make a whole teapot! Can you find mine in the collage?

February 2 – April 27, 2013, “Teapot Series II, The Functional and the Conceptual”, North Carolina Pottery Center, Seagrove, NC

January 27, 2013


After taking a break from throwing last fall because of moving, finally when I got back to the wheel my hands felt rusty throwing pots. It was similar to the feeling of playing the piano again after 15 years of being away from it. I took lessons for ten years when I was young. Now though, my piano is happily residing in our new home, and my fingers are getting used to playing again. After throwing at the wheel this last month I'm also feeling like the kinks are just now getting worked out. Just in time, too, for our trip down to St. Pete Clay for firings and demos. The problem though is there is just not enough time in each day to do all the things I love to do!!

January 14, 2013

2013 Events

Here's a list of what I'm going to be up to so far this year....

January 26, 6-8 pm, “Momentum, the work of William Baker and Joy Tanner”,Closing Reception, Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, Mt. St. Francis, IN

January 12- February 24, 2013, “Florida Heat Instructor Exhibition”, Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, FL

February 2 – April 27, 2013, “Teapot Series II, The Functional and the Conceptual”, North Carolina Pottery Center, Seagrove, NC

February 9 – 20, 2013, “Florida Heat Firing Symposium 2”, Will and I are both presenting and firing the train kiln here at St. Pete Clay, St.Petersburg, FL

March 20 – April 20, 2013: “Functional Ceramics 2013”, Wayne Center for the Arts, Wooster, Ohio

March 22-23, 2013, Pottery Workshop, Join Will and myself in our workshop for the Blue Ridge Potters Guild, Roanoke, VA

April 20, 2013, Madison County Potters Market,Will and I both will exhibit in this annual show of local potters, Marshall High Studios, Marshall, NC

May 10 – 12, 2013, Artisphere Festival, Will and I both will exhibithere at this great art festival we do every year in Greenville, SC

June 7-9, 2013, Toe River Arts Council Studio Tour, Come visit our studio atthe EnergyXChange on this self-guided tour of artist studios and galleries in Mitchell and Yancey Counties. www.toeriverarts.org

September 7, 2013, “Potters Market Invitational”,  Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC

October 5 – 6, 2013, Workshop Presenter at the Mid-Atlantic Clay Conference, Front Royal, VA

More TBA!