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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
A lot changed in one year. Tens of thousands of new fans started following my artwork and our Facebook live videos have been “going viral,” which is just a fancy term for getting popular. Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly gratified that so many people are inspired by my art and career. The Cherrico Pottery Team and I are doing everything we can to serve these new followers and customers (make sure you are signed up for our email newsletter to snag any new pottery when it emerges from the kiln). It’s just that popularity doesn’t seem like a good goal.
Better goals entail crafting gorgeous art, serving customers in a thriving business, supporting an artist lifestyle and making the world a better place. Building something long-lasting and beautiful seems more helpful and honorable than building something popular.
With that that mind, this is my goal for the next year:
“One year from today, my goal is to break ground on a new pottery studio that supports future pottery production with 100% solar fired pottery.”
This goal is ambitious and has never been done before. It has that in common with setting the pottery Guinness World Record on a Kickwheel (the previous record of 150 pots was set on an electric, motorized wheel).
You might fall short with an ambitious goal, but you often fall into a higher level of accomplishment than you might have ever thought possible. Plus, the “worst case scenario” probably isn’t that bad. Tim Ferriss has a great TED Talk that illustrates the incredible power of questions like, “What’s the worst that can happen?“
Journaling helps. These bullet points are a summary of my journal entry from a year ago. They describe my “worst case scenario” plan for a failed GWR attempt:
Try again in one week. The record requires 350 pounds of clay and I have over 1,000. I can try again at least once more without consequences.
Determine exactly what went wrong. Remove the hindrance through practice for a minimum of 1 hour, twice daily.
Fire the practice planters and sell them for $5-10 each to cover costs. People bought nearly all 1,000+ practice planters in 2015, so they are a guaranteed sale.
If you run out of money, sell more Cosmic Mugs to the waiting list of people who didn’t get one during Kickstarter.
That’s it! There was literally nothing else to worry about, even if I failed. That was comforting. Stress and fear melted away, my focus returned to the record and I conquered it.
What are your goals? Where do you want to be one year from now? Leave a comment at the end of this post telling us something you want to accomplish, a place you want to live, a career or personal goal, any goal.
(GIVEAWAY RULES: Leave a comment on this post telling us about your “one year goal” before Friday, March 10th, 2017 at 5pm Central and we’ll enter you to win GWR pot #101totally free. One winner will be chosen randomly and announced in these blog comments the same Friday around 6pm Central. To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment about your “one year goal” or the moderator will not approve your comment. 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. Thanks! *ENDED. Giveaway Winner: Comment #105, Christa”).
This post was published March 7th, 2017, but it might live here on the internet for decades. Whenever you happen to read this post, share one goal you hope to accomplish one year from now. Put it in the comments below, visible to anyone. Mark your calendar to check back one year from now. What’s the worst that can happen?
To accomplish great things, it’s often important to selectively ignore popularity, red notifications and the intoxicating smart phone buzz. Focus on setting and achieving goals.
Happy Valentine’s Day! I just wanted to let all of you know how thankful I am that you are following my artwork and supporting our small team here at Cherrico Pottery.
As a full-time potter, I really appreciate all of your support. Whether you purchased pottery for your home, as a gift for someone else or if you simply shared a pottery Faceboook video, thank you so much.
This blog post is dedicated to the five musicians featured in all of our Facebook live videos. Writing and recording original music is incredibly difficult. Even just finding enough good music for one song requires countless hours of practice, sifting through a plethora of junk for just a few minutes of beauty. It’s like mining for gold.
These five bands pour their hearts into their work. They are all friends of mine and I’m honored to be able to throw pots to their groovy tunes so often. Please consider snagging a CD from them so you can support and enjoy their music too:
As far as new pottery goes, I’m busting out fresh pots daily. Please stay tuned for upcoming deals, like our $49 Random Cosmic Mugs coming later this month. Please make sure to double check that you are signed up for our email newsletter here if you want to guarantee that you get a notice as soon as new Cosmic Mugs are available, as pots tend to sell quickly.
Thanks again and Happy Valentine’s Day! – Joel and the Cherrico Pottery Team
“…a good design in pottery is the product of tension or ‘dialectic’ between the demands of pure utility and those of pure beauty, and only a long experience and continual struggle enables you to achieve a successful fusion of the two.”
The reason we’re giving away five free Random Cosmic Mugsis because we simply want to spread more cosmic love here on our Pale Blue Dot. Over 100 Cosmic Mugs have already entered the world for free through our blog giveaways, by giving them out to my friends and by shipping free pots to important people.
You could call giveaways a “marketing strategy” but in some ways they are totally inappropriate and irresponsible.
“Money is to a business what oxygen is to the human body. Cash flow is the lifeblood of business. The bank pumps cash in and out like the heart pumps blood. Sales bring in money like the lungs bring in oxygen. In 2013 I experienced the terror of running out of money, which was akin to feeling suffocated.”
Businesses need revenue. Plain and simple. I’ve felt the suffocating pain of running out of money before. Why should we spend so much time, effort and money giving away free pottery when we need pottery sales to survive?
Since 2014, we have been shipping free Cosmic Mugs to people you might refer to as “celebrity influencers.” Our goal was to get our best pots into the hands of people who are already impacting millions of people in powerful, positive ways.
Here are just a few replies from folks who received Cosmic Mugs as gifts:
Many of these replies brought me to tears. Giving away free Cosmic Mugs let me directly connect with my heroes. If you own a Cosmic Mug, you are in the company of all of these people.
Giveaways are expensive, but they create incredible connections that impact the world in powerful, positive ways. Even with the high expenses, that seems like a worthy goal.
“You are the average of the five people you most associate with.”
P.s. Thanks for reading this far! I’m curious…who are people who have impacted your life positively? Scroll down to leave a reply here on our website and we will give you 3 more entries to the Inspirational Pottery and Book Pairings Giveaway(active until January 27th, 2017).