July 20th, 1969 was when humans first set foot on the Moon. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin (who owns a Cosmic Mug thanks to our friend Stacey at StarTalk) is 87 years young and he’s STILL active on Instagram, reminiscing about the experience:
Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield also let us send him a Cosmic Mug. In his book, “An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth” Hadfiled tells how his childhood dream was to walk on the moon. That goal wasn’t reached, but it put him on a path towards successfully becoming an astronaut and achieving his Guinness World Records title for ‘first music video filmed in space.’ Joel studied Hadfield’s work, sent him a Cosmic Mug and got an inspiring letter in return. He said:
“Why climb the highest mountain? … We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills…”
– John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962
Entrepreneurship is one skill that has many of the same core values that propelled the United States to the moon. Entrepreneurs are required to spend years overcoming failures and striving towards success. You can learn how Joel launched and sustained his pottery business immediately after college graduation in this eight part authorship series for American Craft Council:
We decided not to wish you a “Happy Asteroid Day!” because it’s not really a celebratory day. It’s an international day for the science community to educate and raise awareness on the seriousness of asteroid collisions with Earth. June 30th was chosen to be International Asteroid Day for a reason.
June 30, 1908:
Referred to as the “Tunguska Event,” an asteroid exploded over a Siberian forest causing mass devastation. It was a mystery to natives for decades on what caused this explosion, until scientists stepped in. It’s the largest impact event on Earth ever recorded during human history.
“You kind of want to know how to move asteroids around – that’s a good thing to be able to do, because one day we’re going to find one with our name on it.”
– Neil deGrasse Tyson
Our friends at StarTalk created a video with some of the best reasons for why it’s important to care about asteroid research. Dr. Tyson is an important science communicator, but he also has a soft spot for art (shown by The Starry Night painting reproduction hanging in his office or the Copper Red Mug that snuck into this interview):
Here at Cherrico Pottery, we donate regularly to The Planetary Society as members and periodically for additional research and understanding of asteroids. You can hear straight from them about the importance of asteroid defense in this video they launched today:
($126 value: $48 retail + $15 packing and shipping each)
You can win this free Asteroid Cup and a set of these Cosmic Shot Cups in honor of Asteroid Day. Simply answer the question below in our comments to enter:
How has science impacted your life?
Leave a comment below before Friday 7/7 telling us how scientific classes, scientific discoveries, or science in general has impacted your life. We’ll pick the best 3 comments and give the winners this Asteroid Cup and 2 sets of shot cups, totally free!
To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment, or the moderator will not approve your comment or include you in the giveaway. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Please allow 24-48 hours for your comment to appear. You must also be on our email newsletter distribution list to qualify, so please make sure you are okay with receiving our email newsletter before you leave a comment. We will pick winners Friday around 2pm Central and you will receive the pottery shipped to you nearly anywhere globally, totally free. *ENDED: Congrats to our winners Nancy, Valerie, and Lou. Thanks so much to everyone for participating!
The average person spends about $115.57 on presents for their father, which totals to about $12,700,000,000 a year.
Claude Monet is widely considered the father of Impressionism. Monet’s art represents nature abstractly, in ways that communicate far more beauty than what human eyes can see.
“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” – Unknown
Joel Cherrico’s father, Gene Cherrico, played an important role during one of his most defining life moments.
Joel and his dad were on a road trip just before he launched “Cherrico Pottery” back in 2010. Joel was hesitant about taking on the risk of starting his own company, investing his $3,000 of savings and committing to a small business loan after graduation, instead of getting a job like all of his friends.
You can learn more about the origins of Cosmic Mugs from Joel’s authorship for American Craft Council: “A Potter’s Journey.” Learn why Joel chose an art major, how he developed a business plan, launched a small business and has operated his pottery business for seven+ years in this American Craft Council “Web Exclusive” blog series:
Another person who Joel drew inspiration from while growing his business was Robert Herjavec.
Herjavec is an immigrant from Croatia who owns a world renowned computer security company in Canada. He is most known for being a “Shark” on the hit TV show “Shark Tank” (Joel has repeatedly submitted 1st and 2nd round applications to the show). In the video below, Robert shared his story of his father’s immense sacrifices to give him a better life.
Also in honor of Father’s Day, we’re launching two pottery giveaways:
Giveaway #1 is for new Cosmic Mug and Moon Mug customers.
If they’re sold out or too expensive for you, don’t worry! Joel will be releasing more Cosmic Mugs, including $79 Random Cosmic Mugs,$49 Flawed Cosmic Mugs and Moon Mugs before July. Stay tuned! For you pottery fans who are waiting for these great deals and on a budget, we’ve got something special for you too.
What is the most valuable lesson your father taught you? How did it shape you into the person you are today?
If you didn’t grow up with a father, please feel free to leave a comment about a lesson any other important person in your life taught you. Leave a comment below before this Friday telling us. We’ll pick the best 3 comments and give each winner a random World Record Pot and even more pottery ($767.00 value: $159 World Record Pottery + $20 packing and shipping average each, Spiral Bowl for $185 + $20 shipping, a copy of “A Potter’s Book” by Bernard Leach at $25 average value)given to 5 random winners, totally free!
To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment, or the moderator will not approve your comment or include you in the giveaway. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Please allow 24-48 hours for your comment to appear. You must also be on our email newsletter distribution list to qualify, so please make sure you are okay with receiving our email newsletter before you leave a comment. We will pick winners Friday around 2pm Central and you will receive the pottery shipped to you nearly anywhere globally, totally free. *ENDED: Congrats to our winners Carol, Jerry, Olivia, Ashlei and Steph. Thanks so much to everyone for participating!
What was the last thing you gifted or donated to someone, and why?? Leave a comment below before this Friday telling us one thing you gifted to a friend, donated to a local food shelter, non-profit organization, school, church, anything!We’ll pick the best 9 comments and give each winner a certain selection of the above 29 pots ($771.00 value)totally free.
To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment, or the moderator will not approve your comment or include you in the giveaway. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Please allow 24-48 hours for your comment to appear. You must also be on our email newsletter distribution list to qualify, so please make sure you are okay with receiving our email newsletter before you leave a comment. We will pick winners Friday around 2pm Central and you will receive the pottery shipped to you nearly anywhere globally, totally free.
*UPDATE 5/12: ENDED. Congrats Kristie, J.B.S., Diandra, James H., Dorthy, Michael, Amy, Leslie and Stephanie! You should have an email waiting in your inbox. Thanks so much to everyone who participated! I’m truly blown away by all of the kindness that all of you shared about the ways you spread generosity. Thanks again! – Joel
Coupons and Giveaway Expire Friday 5/12
Please give us a couple days to pack and ship, because I plan to spend my birthday busting out a few fresh pots and guitar riffs.
“There’s something about the physicality of clay…a worthless material to most people. Contractors can’t build in it, farmers can’t grow in it. The only worth it has is what you and I give it.”
*This is a guest blog post, edited by Joel Cherrico and written by Macy Kelly: CSB/SJU Marketing Intern at Cherrico Pottery. In this post, Macy addresses the ways we practice being eco-friendly at Cherrico Pottery.
I’ve never met anyone who loves getting a box filled with packing peanuts. We know, they make a mess. At Cherrico Pottery, it’s important that we deliver your pottery as safely and as eco-friendly as possible. That’s why our peanuts are 100% biodegradable. Sustainability is a fun challenge that we take on in multiple parts of the Cherrico Pottery process.
100% biodegradable peanutsto secure and protect the pots in boxes. They not only decompose in water leaving no toxic waste, but they are FDA compliant and made with “static-free organic starch.”
During Kickstarter, we used over 1,000 egg cartons to ship 1,000 pots. Egg cartons can always be requested via email during the checkout process in place of the biodegradable packing peanuts. When a shipment from Cherrico Pottery arrives, you will see the logo hand-painted on each box. This is because there is no point in branding with paper stickers or stamps on the boxes when we strive to be as unique and real as possible, while keeping the artistic vibe alive.
In The Studio
Joel sacrificed natural gas kiln firings and Copper Red Glazes, even though he used to get gorgeous results. You can view and learn about them in these three blog posts:
His business model is devoted to long-term environmentalism. Gas kilns are easier to load and can produce beautiful pottery in bigger batches, but natural gas is a non-renewable resource. It doesn’t give opportunities to utilize free solar energy raining down from the sky. Electricity does. The electric kiln is not more environmentally friendly currently, but solar energy has the power to change that.
Kiln placement is another simple, smart choice that saves energy. Joel’s kiln is located in the middle of the studio, so it doubles as a radiant heater all winter. He also dries pottery using the heat of the kiln, saving energy and money every time he fires by being able to turn off other heaters.
Saving energy can be simple and beautiful, even with an act as simple as bringing pots outside to dry in the sun instead of using fans.
After taking a three day workshop from Steven Hill Pottery, Joel learned how to successfully apply up to 8 glaze layers on one pot. In this video, you can learn some of Steven Hill’s process too.
Cosmic Mugs have 4-5 layers of glaze each, but Joel chose not to purchase steel spray guns that Steven uses to get his magnificent colors. Spray guns require energy to fill a compressed air tank, as well as a spray booth to catch the airborne glaze chemicals. Instead, Joel created innovative ways to get similar effects simply using brushes.
Businesses aren’t required to use environmentally friendly materials or donate anything, ever. Cherrico Pottery has shipped worldwide to 16 countries, so we think it is only right to explore how we can help make the earth a better place. All of these donations are impacting the world in positive ways:
Monthly membership and occasional larger donations to The Planetary Society: planetary.org
Monthly membership and occasional larger donations to The American Craft Council: craftcouncil.org
Our goal is to break ground on a new pottery studio that supports future pottery production with 100% solar fired pottery. This is a ridiculously ambitious goal, but not out of reach. If Tesla can debut an entire product launch on stored sunlight, then it must be possible to power a kiln.
To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment, or the moderator will not approve your comment or include you in the giveaway. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Please allow 24-48 hours for your comment to appear. You must also be on our email newsletter distribution list to qualify, so please make sure you are signed up. Joel will pick one winner Friday around 6pm Central and you will receive the pottery shipped to you nearly anywhere globally, totally free.
*UPDATE 4/28: ENDED. Congrats Holly, Liz and Kelsey and thanks so much to everyone who participated! Did you know that the word, “solar” was mentioned on this post/comments about 27 times and the words “recycle” and “recycling” and “recyclable” were mentioned about 275 times WOW! I hope you had as much fun reading these comments as I did. – Joel
*This is a guest blog post, edited by Joel Cherrico and written by Macy Kelly: CSB/SJU Marketing Intern at Cherrico Pottery. In this post, Macy addresses fan questions from Cherrico Pottery Facebook Live videos about why Joel uses traditional kick-wheels instead of electric, motorized wheels like most potters.
You may be wondering why Joel Cherrico kicks his pottery wheel around and around, instead of simply pressing a motorized pedal and letting the wheel do the work. He learned to make pottery on an electric wheel in high school and understands that it might be easier, faster and less stress on the body, but he chooses otherwise.
The Karatsu kick wheel was handmade by a local woodworker who used wood from a local Maple tree. Sanded, finished wood is beautiful, which is often why Joel decides to perform his pottery craft on this wheel. The bench was made from White Cedar from the Minnesota North Shore.
When Joel broke the Guinness World Recordstitle for “most pots thrown in one hour by an individual” the Karatsu kick wheel was a key factor. Previous potters who attempted the record all used electric wheels, and the previous record holder used an electric wheel to throw 150 pots in one hour. You can watch Joel set the new record on his Karatsu-style wheel here,breaking the previous record by nine pots.
Unlike electric wheels, you can’t just crank the motor and power through the clay. It takes training, balance and a deep understanding of how to throw pottery while kicking at the same time. Artistry and athleticism are equally important. 40 pounds is extremely light for a pottery wheel, so there is no momentum to keep the wheel spinning unless it is constantly kicked. You can learn how Joel used meditation and intense physical training to accomplish this epic feat.
The wheel is so lightweight that it must be anchored to a board, held in place by the potter’s body. Downward force makes the potter and the wheel joined in the act of throwing.
Karatsu wheels are rare. It’s tough to buy or find one anywhere. You can learn how they’re made by reading “Body of Clay, Soul of Fire”or finding a local wood worker who might be able to craft a replica. You might even be able to reach out to the St. John’s Pottery directly and respectfully inquire about the process of learning how to use and obtain one of these rare wheels, which were originally brought to the Minnesota area by renowned potter Richard Bresnahan.
This awesome YouTube videoshows an artist crafting an Onggi kick wheel, which is a type of precursor to the Karatsu wheel. Onggi wheels have been used for centuries for larger pottery, generally over three feet tall. There are similarities between the two, but both are hard to find for purchase. Any talented crafts person could design and create a gorgeous, functional Karatsu or Onggi-style kick wheel.
York Kick Wheel
The second wheel used to craft Cherrico Pottery is the York kick wheel, shown below. It’s only about 16 inches tall, made from a cement mold around metal bearings. To raise the wheel to a proper throwing height, Joel crafted a Black Walnut top with White Oak risers, which are secured to the wheel like a pottery bat. The 24 inch height helps improve throwing posture, since older potters commonly struggle with back pain from bending over low wheels for decades.
The York weighs around 80 pounds, which is twice as much as the 40 pound Karatsu, but it’s actually more portable. It sits on three steel feet, so it does not need to be bolted down. It can be picked up, moved anywhere and taken apart in two pieces. Easy assembly and light weight make it extremely portable, compared to commonly used Lockerbie kick wheels weighing around 300 pounds each.
The York wheel has been great for performing pottery demonstrations all across the Midwest. In 2013, Joel used it up to five times weekly at local farmers’ markets and art festivals (left photo) and he brings it to Duluth Art in Bayfront Park in front of Lake Superior once annually (right photo).
It was created by Roger York in 2008. Joel purchased it from Mr. York during his sophomore year in college, after they spoke on the phone a few times about Mr. York’s career as a potter and his decision to make wheels. The wheel took him four months to craft and he only charged $250. He was 87 years old. Mr. York published the patent online here for free and you might be able to find one on craigslist someday. If you find one available, please email us here: email@example.com. Most people don’t know how to use this wheel and would gladly sell it for cheap. Joel was recently gifted a second York wheel for free, so he can put it to good use.
The York wheel is considered the “work horse” of Cherrico Pottery because of how this durable tool can travel easily. Rope is wrapped around Joel’s wheel because he used it so much that the thin middle piece (shown below) began to crack. The middle, cement section was wrapped with an entire roll of duck tape for strength, followed by rope for aesthetics.
Both Karatsu and York kick wheels are currently used to create all Cherrico Pottery. Next time you see Joel spinning pottery live on the Cherrico Pottery Facebook page, try and guess which kick wheel he is using.
What is one thing that you have learned from watching Joel throw pottery on his kick wheels in his YouTube or Facebookvideos? Share your newly acquired art knowledge in the comment section below.
Thanks so much for reading this post and for following Cherrico Pottery. Please subscribe to our email newsletter here and leave a comment below before this Friday telling us one thing you have learned about Joel’s pottery or Cherrico Pottery in general. Joel will pick the best comment about the best lesson one person has learned, and pick them to receive one free Cosmic Mug. To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment about something you have actually learned from us, or the moderator will not approve your comment and include you in the giveaway. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Please allow 24-48 hours for your comment to appear. You must also be on the newsletter distribution list to qualify. Joel will pick one winner Friday around 6pm Central to get one of our best Cosmic Mugs, totally free. Thanks!