Why I’m Ending A Profitable Project

(estimated reading time: 4-6 minutes)

For about 15 years, I’ve been making pottery full-time. First as a student, then by starting Cherrico Pottery. After handcrafting about 30,000 pieces of pottery, I can tell you from first hand experience that making pottery is really hard.

I’m a “production potter” which means I make pottery in repetition, in a variety of styles and colors, for people to eat and drink from. Each month, I handcraft about 500 pieces of pottery. Then, a team of employees sand, polish, pack and ship each pot to customers, for people to use and enjoy in their own homes.

It’s a good living, but that’s a lot of pottery to make by hand.

Repetitive work is tough. If you’re not careful, you can get overuse injuries:

    • back strain from lifting heavy clay boxes
    • neck and shoulder knots from hunched over work
    • carpel tunnel wrist pain from throwing or sanding pots

For long-term sustainability, of both employees and me, I need to continually explore ways to reduce the strain on our bodies.

Two years ago, I began a research project. I tested having a version of my “Cosmic Mug” designed and made in a factory, by other workers. I created “Cosmic Mugs” to inspire us to think about how all human beings are connected, through the cosmos. So, why not use factories globally to create thousands, perhaps millions of mugs?

The goal was to get the price down to $19.95 for a pair, with free shipping, so anyone could afford Cherrico Pottery.

At first, China seemed like the perfect place to mass produce porcelain, a.k.a. “Fine China” because the Chinese have spent 2,000 years mastering the craft. With 1.4 billion people and hundreds of porcelain factories, they can make thousands of artistic mugs fast, cheap and with remarkably high quality.

After choosing a factory, I designed and bought roughly 1,000 mugs at about $10-$15 each. Most sold for about $26-$36 each.

That’s a pretty good start, considering over 800 sold and only 200 remain.

Next, I got a quote for a larger order of 10,000 mugs. They could be finished in 30 days, at around $4 per mug.

Sounds great, right!? That’s a 60%+ lower cost up front for me. That also means lower prices for customers– win win?!

Not exactly. I decided not to buy 10,000 mugs. Instead, I’m ending the project.

Why I’m Ending Our “Factory Designed Cosmic Mug” Project

After the remaining 200 Factory Designed Cosmic Mugs sell out, they’ll be gone for good. Seriously. No April fools.

Years of diving deep into the business of factory sourcing has given me one key takeaway: factory work is really hard on people.

I want my art to be good for all humanity, not just profitable.

For a quick glimpse of what it’s like to work in factories, these two documentaries are enlightening. Both helped influence my decision to start, and also end, my project.

American Factory

Manufactured Landscapes

Here at Cherrico Pottery, we considered building a factory ourselves, to have more control over how people are treated as employees. We already have a large studio. Maybe we should keep expanding.

Sienna Cherrico in front of our Pottery Studio, 3000sq. ft. building on our home property just north of Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

Where would you rather work: a factory or a studio?

Factories make things faster, cheaper and more profitable. The problem is people are treated like machines.

Studios make things with creativity and connection. The problem is the products can’t scale in quantity, requiring higher costs.

The world needs both. But where would you rather work?

I’d rather work in a studio, but I’m also lucky enough to be able to say that, and choose that. Most people don’t get to make that choice.

For millions of people, perhaps billions, factory jobs are the only jobs available. Some factories might be wonderful places to work. Others might have terrible working conditions.

Regardless, if people didn’t need to work 8-12 hour shifts on the factory floor, do you think they still would?

Robots and Universal Basic Income

The world needs manufacturing. Most of the objects we’re surrounded by were made in factories, including whatever smartphone, computer or device you’re reading this on.

What will happen as robots continue replacing people in repetitive factory work? Robotic hands might even be dexterous enough to craft pottery soon.


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Maybe robot help won’t be such a bad thing. Ideas like Universal Basic Income or “monthly citizen income” could let more people meet their basic costs of living. Then, perhaps more people could work on jobs that fulfill them personally. If machines can help reduce hard labor, why not let them?

After robots help reduce the hard, human cost of manufacturing, then maybe we’ll revisit using factories to make “Cosmic Mugs” affordable enough for anyone on the planet to experience them.

Until then, I’m headed back to the studio. No more time spent sourcing from factories. Instead, I’m putting that energy into exploring new art. The challenge now is making the best art I can, in appropriate quantities and fair prices, and trusting that people will still support it.

Tracing Our Trash: The More We Know, The Less We Waste

(estimated reading time: 7-9 minutes)

This is a guest blog post written by Aubrey Walter,  student worker at Cherrico Pottery during her undergraduate studies at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University. This post is a reflection of her work in the pottery office, assessing our environmental impact of shipping pottery to thousands of people globally. Enter Aubrey:

“Save what you love. A river. A mountain. A jacket. A pair of hiking boots. It all matters because it’s all connected…there is a powerful connection between treating our things as disposable and treating the people who make those things as disposable. And there is also a connection between the way we trash our stuff and the way we are trashing the planet, which is the ultimate source of all of that stuff.”

– Naomi Klein, qtd. in “Let My People Go Surfing”

People often ask us, “Is Cherrico Pottery natural?”

Yes, clay comes from the ground. Yes, Joel mixes his custom glaze recipes from natural materials, like wood ash, feldspar and silica. 

But the truth is, everything comes from the ground. Even the smartphone or computer you’re using to read this was made from raw materials, which were originally mined from the earth.

How to Serve Customers and the Environment

At the time of this writing, Joel is currently throwing, glazing and firing over 500 pots per month. About 90% of those ship directly to customers’ doorsteps just weeks after he makes them.

How do we properly serve these avid pottery buyers, while still having deep respect for our environmental impact? First, we look to companies that have successfully achieved this themselves. 

Every month, Joel requires each member of our team (including himself) to conduct “Reading and Research” to help us all learn the best ways to grow Cherrico Pottery, and ourselves personally. We read books, watch TED Talks, and post our quotes in the pottery office wall.

Photo by Avery, Joel in front of our Quote wall with one of his favorite books: “A Potter’s Book” by Bernard Leach

Recently, I’ve been reading Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard, founder and CEO of Patagonia. A passionate outdoorsman, Yvon was hesitant to turn his passion into a business, weary of corporations focusing on profit and production, often destroying the very environment he grew up enjoying.

But Yvon took on this challenge with the founding of Patagonia, breaking the rules of traditional business and committing wholeheartedly to environmental responsibility. 

As Yvon writes in the introduction to the book,

“Despite a near-universal consensus among scientists that we are on the brink of an environmental collapse, our society lacks the will to take action. Patagonia exists to challenge conventional wisdom and present a new style of responsible business.”

During my time as a student worker at Cherrico Pottery, I’ve seen Joel and Sienna make these same commitments to environmental responsibility. 

We use 100% biodegradable packing peanuts to ensure our pottery arrives safe and sound to our customers. These peanuts are made from an organic starch that will decompose in water, leaving no toxic waste.

But not everyone wants peanuts because they make a huge mess. They’ve even been banned by Amazon because they’re so inconvenient and messy. So, we’re experimenting with our new “EA Air Cushion Machine”, which allows us to make our own bubble wrap and pillows with a #2 recyclable film.

Doing More With Less

As we said before, everything comes from the earth. Every material has pros and cons. For example, paper is a renewable resource and biodegrades, but it requires a lot more more raw materials to produce than plastic. It’s heaver to ship, less protective for our fragile pottery (requiring more material) and cutting down more trees to make more paper isn’t a great solution.

Whether using paper, plastic or biodegradable starch, the most important thing is that you make an educated decision about what to use, and how much. 

This TedTalk featuring Leyla Acaroglu has given us a framework, called a “Life Cycle Assessment” to look past environmental folklore and determine how we can make the biggest positive impact. 

Tracing Our Trash

Once our materials are used, where do they go?

We are also evaluating our footprint as a business by tracing each item of waste. As you can imagine in a small business that ships globally, we need to consume a lot of materials. 

But even small things, like our shipping labels and packing stickers, are destined for the trash.

Stickers and shipping labels cannot be recycled due to their adhesive contents that get caught in recycling equipment. Their waxy backing is made of layers of both non-recyclable plastic and paper.

The thin, jute twine that we use to package our pottery is 100% recyclable and biodegradable, but it comes wrapped in protective plastic that we cannot recycle. So does the bubblewrap and cardbaord bulk boxes on full 4ft. x 4ft. pallets- all entirely wrapped in non-recyclable plastic.

Each of these items, small and large, are essential. We couldn’t fulfill thousands of pottery orders, and maintain customer satisfaction and safety, without each of these necessary pieces to our puzzle of running a sustainable business.

How do we stay environmentally conscious, while embracing global demand for Cherrico Pottery?

Whenever we come across a new challenge, we go back to this mantra:

Treat everyday like earth day.

Even when Joel starting working with multiple Chinese factories to source a brand new type of Cosmic Mug, this mantra helped us to do it responsibly.

We call porcelain “Fine China” because the Chinese are simply the best porcelain mass-producers in the world, specifically for this type of “Tenmoku” pottery. It’s a specific type of intricate, black glazed pottery that you can learn about here, that the Chinese have been refining for 1,000 years. They can make high quantities of these mugs with both higher efficiency and quality than anyone else in the world.

After they arrive, the Cherrico Pottery Team individually inspects each mug for quality, then giftwraps them in our hand painted, recyclable cardboard boxes. 

But what do we do with all the excess packing materials from China?

Each of these yellow boxes came from China and held 20 “Factory Made Cosmic Mugs” wrapped in bubblewrap, Styrofoam, cardboard and plastic.

Over the years, we’ve examined and fine-tuned our process. We’ve implemented alternatives to the waste-generating and single-use aspects of our business, wherever possible.

So, instead of putting non-recyclable packing materials in the trash, Joel came up with a better solution: dunnage.

Dunnage Bags: How We Reuse Non-Recyclable Packing Materials

We now turn most all of our trash into “Dunnage Bags” to be used as packing material, instead of peanuts or air pillows. We simply put our excess, non-recyclable packing into biodegradable bags from the local co-op.

While these bags still eventually end up in the landfill, they allow us to reduce and reuse:

  • Reduce our consumption of other packing materials
  • Reuse these non-recyclables, instead of throwing them right into the trash

Did you know that you can reuse these bags in your own packing?

We know that our environmental footprint as a business is far from net zero, far from where it needs to be. And we recognize this. We are conscious of the waste we produce, the environmental impact our small business is having.

While many companies turn a blind eye to their waste, their emissions, their footprint, we have not. And we will not. Because the nature of our business, Cherrico Pottery, is crafted from the very minerals of the soil and the water of the seas. Pottery is an art of the earth.

Kenneth R. Beittel describes it like this in his article Zen and the Art of Pottery

“Pottery is the humblest of man’s arts. Even before it became metaphor, pottery brought Earth to shine forth in man’s world. It is best when it is most earth-honest; that includes process-honest; fire-honest, honesty of being itself. Mere expressiveness has no depth compared with rocks and mountains, sand and sea, which speak of being and presence.” 

Innately, our pottery craft requires that we be earth-honest, process-honest, fire-honest. It requires that we are conscious of our environmental choices. While many companies maintain a “business as usual” approach when it comes to environmental responsibility, we are striving to defy the norm. 

Think Globally, Act Locally


There is a saying at the Local Blend Coffee Shop that serves meals everyday from Cherrico Pottery. “Think Globally, Act Locally” is their unofficial tagline. It reminds us that even the smallest act, done by anyone just within their local community, can have global impact.

We’re continuing to have conversations about our own environmental impacts here at Cherrico. How can we be more sustainable? How can we be a model of environmental responsibility for other small businesses?

We’re learning a lot about your preferences as our customers, and are continuing to look for ways to consume less.

We’d love to hear from you.

GIVEAWAY: What is one thing you do to be more environmentally friendly in your own life?


Leave a comment on this blog post before 2pm Central Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 answering the question above (What is one thing you do to be more environmentally friendly?), and we will pick two people to win two free “Random Cosmic Mugs” from our back stock, each paired with two book copies from our “Reading and Research” shelves: Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard. We’ll mail them to two of you for free (giveaway 21+ void where prohibited, no unicorns…view more detailed giveaway policy here: cherricopottery.com/giveaway-policy) winner will be chosen by Joel Cherrico and announced in the comments one day after the giveaway ends. Please allow 24-48 hours max for our moderator to approve your comment, and winners will be announced here publicly Friday, March 27th, 2 PM or earlier 🙂

Think Constantly on the Changing of the Elements into Each Other

“Watch the stars in their courses and imagine yourself running alongside them. Think constantly on the changes of the elements into each other, for such thoughts wash away the dust of earthly life.”

– Marcus Aurelius

My morning ritual usually goes like this:

Today’s “Daily Stoic” passage was fitting, considering I filmed this video about “Cosmic Wall Platters” yesterday. I shared that exact same quote, totally by coincidence (even though yes, this art was inspired by ideas surrounding stoicism that I’ve been studying for a while now).

Even in modern society, with all of our advanced technology, crafting art with our hands is more important than ever. It connects us deeply to what it means to be human.

But living as a full-time artist is extremely rare today. Too often, artists are defeated by the fact that art can’t always exist unless it’s priced and sold.

“I always say to artists, ‘Don’t to be an artist unless you really really really really really have to.’ Because 99% of artists don’t have money. They have to make an enemy out of envy. Or it will eat them alive.”

– Jerry Saltz, qtd. in “The Price of Everything”

The “Art Market” can feel kind of gross.

Art becomes more valuable when famous artists die.

Some of the world’s wealthiest collectors are known for using art as trading cards of wealth, just like stocks and bonds. Stock traders have even been known to “short” the art market just like housing, automotive industry or anything else. (The Great Contemporary Art Bubble BBC Documentary)

Some galleries have even been accused of buying work from their own artists, only to prop up prices.

Museums give everyone access to society’s best art, but they only show a tiny selection of what exists. They are the gatekeepers to prestige and perception, yet overflowing with art. Most of their art lives in underground storage.

What’s the solution?

How do artists support doing what they love– making art everyday?

For me, the answer always comes back to something simple: focusing only on what you can control.

That means making as much pottery as I can (about 2,500 pots per year), pricing each piece of art appropriately, and selling it to enter the world right now.

Showing your art to the world can be terrifying. These are our babies! How do you put a price on something you poured your heart and soul into?

Figuring out your art serves people is scary, but it’s a worthy pursuit, because the need is great.

“Fear is the greatest problem for us potters. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of being accepted or rejected. If we can work without it, work for the joy of working, then we are free. Because we are no longer working for money, for fame, or for mother, but for ourself.”

– Jenny Lind, The Studio Potter, 1979

The Art of Making Paper

*This Guest Blog was written by Sienna Cherrico, wife and better half of Joel Cherrico. Sienna is the Office Manager at Cherrico Pottery, and an Artist who makes paper by hand. This blog post tells about her process of creating handmade paper. You can also watch a video of Sienna’s paper making process on Facebook here. Some technical words are bolded and defined in a glossary at the end of the post. 

Why I Find Papermaking Therapeutic

As I sit to begin writing this post, by hand, on paper, I am watching the rain fall and drips splash in the puddles. A perfect reflection of how I view the papermaking process. Respecting the pace at which water drips.

I have loved paper, in the form of books, journals, sketch pads, and cards or stationary for as long as I can remember. My mom is an artist and when I was young she made paper castings. She would get paper pulp1 from the local paper mill in five gallon buckets. Then, she would design and carve her own molds from foam insulation boards. Pulp was pressed into the molds with a sponge, trying to remove as much water as possible, for it to air dry. When dry, she would artistically paint the castings to be hung in people’s homes.

Hence, I grew up with my hands in pulp. I got to help my mom create these forms, while watching the water absorb into the sponge, as the fibers in the pulp formed together. 

(My mother showing me the process of paper casting)

So, when many years later, as a senior art student in college, I was introduced to papermaking I instantly fell in love. The process nostalgically brought me back to my childhood.

Only now, I was learning to manipulate the pulp into forming sheets of paper, and out of local plant material!

When an art form is a direct product of the earth, it is so much more powerful to me. Your body is so involved in the process, from collecting and preparing the fibers to forming each sheet. It’s a healing process for me, my mind is free to wander and my body is so familiar with the process that I get in a calming rhythm. I feel connected to the earth in my own way through this bond of plant fibers and water.

A Brief History Of Papermaking

Humans have been writing and documenting for centuries, perhaps since the very beginning of time. Before paper was invented, people wrote on bones, monuments of stone, papyrus, wood, metals, leaves, and bark from trees. Parchment was used in both Europe and Asia Minor, made from sheep skin, as early as 1500B.C. The true origin of paper has been disputed, an emperor in China was credited in A.D. 105. However, historians have found fragments of paper made from hemp in China that came from nearly two centuries earlier. In the year A.D.615 the papermaking process spread to Japan and finally to Spain in Europe by 1151. The first paper mill was built in England around 1488. Papermaking became westernized and reached the United States, through a German Immigrant in Pennsylvania, in 1690.

In Asia many of the materials that were being used to make paper were bamboo, silk, tree bark, and other plant materials. When papermaking reached Europe they began making paper out of old recycled cotton rags, as the source was abundant at that time and eliminated the steps of harvesting and breaking down the plant fibers. The process of creating pulp started with mallets.  A person would beat the fibers with a mallet until they broke down. Then in 1680 in Holland a beater with a motor and rotating blades that could be lowered to break the fibers into pulp was invented, the Hollander beater, and changed the process forever. This beater and ones similar are still being used today for hand papermaking. Papermakers have been experimenting with making paper out of plant fibers, usually whatever grows in abundance locally. Artists also began experimenting in the 1960s and 70s with painting and sculpting the paper pulp as they continued to develop custom papers with combinations of fibers for prints. The art of making paper is still honored and enjoyed by many artists around the world, as it creates jobs and preserves the process in developing countries and allows many curious people to try the process through community courses and visiting artist’s studios. The variety of ways you can make paper and then what you can use it for is endless, there are so many creations yet to be discovered and made. Here is a closer look at the entire process, on a larger scale.

The Process

To understand basic steps for making paper, I broke them down into 6 simple steps:

  1. Selecting fiber
  2. Preparing fiber
  3. Beating the fiber into pulp
  4. Sheet forming
  5. Pressing: squeezing out all the water out
  6. Drying

I had to leave out many nuances that other papermakers would surely notice. But for the first time reader, I hope to make sense of the process through these basic steps.

#1) Selecting Fiber

Let’s start with selecting your fiber. The options are; recycled materials (old cotton jeans or rags), plant material (cellulose-grass, stem, or leaf fibers), or half-stuff2 (either plant or recycled material already processed once in a larger factory). Personally, I often use abaca3 half-stuff and incorporate my own local big bluestem grasses since a local touch is important to my personal artistic style.

#2) Preparing Fiber

To prepare the grasses, they are first harvested from a prairie or garden, and then cut down into one inch sections. You must avoid knots and seeds, then set the fibers in large pots of water to boil.

Once the fibers have broken down enough where they can be pulled apart, usually after at least 3 hours of cooking, they are done. They are then rinsed until the water runs clear. If using half-stuff, most varieties just need to soak for a few hours prior to beating.

#3) Beating Fiber Into Pulp

Now it is time for beating, which turns the fibers into pulp. The beater is a machine that is filled with water and when turned on, the fibers are added. The blades are slowly lowered and the fibers undergo fibrillation4 changing from their native shape to microfibers. When the pulp is cloudy, without knots or strands, it is finished. Beating can take anywhere from 3-8 hours.

#4) Sheet Forming

Sheet forming is the most active and demanding step of the paper making. A vat5, which is any sort of basin that’s at least 18” deep and 24” wide, is filled with about 4” of water. I start by adding roughly four quarts of pulp and many pinches of lightly beaten grass, as inclusions that randomly scatter the paper to add interest. With my hands, I stir the fibers in the water, this is called charging the vat.

Next, I dip a mould6 and deckle7 into the vat. The size of the mould and deckle determines the size the sheet of paper will be. Once the vat is charged, I slide the mould and deckle into the moving fibers at an angle and lift it carefully in one fluid motion.

As soon as it leaves the water, keeping it level, I gently, but quickly, move the mould and deckle back and forth and front to back. This helps create an even sheet, as the water drains and the fibers undergo hydrogen bonding8 (weaving together) to form a very strong piece of paper.

When the water stops moving, the fibers stop moving too. This is the most fragile stage for the fibers. If they are tilted too soon, touched or have a water bubble, the sheet will be uneven or have visible indentations. When most of the water has drained out of the fibers through the screen of the mould, I carefully take the deckle off and hold the mould with the fibers at an angle, watching the water drip off the corner. Once there is a pause between drips, it is ready for couching9. This is the stage where I am literally waiting and moving at the pace the water drips.

Layers of wet felt and pellons10 are set up to hold the fibers in place as they are transferred from the mould in the process of couching. Lining the mould up with the edge of the pellon or previous sheet of paper, I roll the mould down and press the fibers onto the pellon. As the mould lifts up, the paper fibers release onto the pellon and the mould is now clear. 

I continue this sheet forming process, adding pulp to the vat every six sheets or so, until all the pulp is gone. Now a stack of pellons and fragile fibers in the form of sheets create many layers ready to be pressed.

#5) Pressing: Squeezing Out All The Water

Sliding the stack of pellons carefully into the press, I pump the press to 2000 pounds of pressure. Water gushes out the sides pouring onto the floor and down the drain. 

After 20 minutes I apply even more pressure, up to 4000 pounds, for 5 minutes. This forces the fibers to hold their bond since most of the water has been removed and be able to be picked up, before it is set to dry.

#6) Drying

Once out of the press, I pull off the layers of pellons one at a time, transferring each sheet of paper to the blotters11 of the drying rack, sandwiched between sheets of cardboard. The cardboard allows air from the fan to move through the stack of paper and blotters as the sheets are forced to dry. About two days later, I come back to the studio to turn off the fans and again, layer by layer, reveal the now dry and finished sheets of paper.

Handmade paper appears to be so delicate with the deckled edges and beautiful textures, when in reality it is some the strongest paper that exists. 

Out my window the rain has now stopped, yet a few drips continue falling from the trees. I like to think about these drips growing the grasses that I will go harvest and bring to the studio to again mix with water to bond with the body and the earth in a new form. So we may communicate as we write to loved ones, on paper, and sit and watch the rain fall into puddles, one drop at a time.

Our Collaboration: Why we chose to make this kind of paper for Cherrico Pottery Patrons

Get this handmade paper Art on Patreon

I made abaca paper with big bluestem and reed canary grass inclusions for this project because it’s a lovely rendition of the common papermaking process and incorporation of local materials. We needed paper to clearly showcase the Cherrico Pottery logo, painted with India Ink by Joel, in a unique way. Abaca is made of the fibers from the stem of the banana plant, typically sourced from the Philippines. It’s a strong and predictable fiber that can be manipulated by how long it is beaten in the process of becoming pulp. The longer it is beaten, the stiffer it dries and even has a shrinking quality. When making larger quantities of paper, we use a fiber source like half-stuff so that the quality of the paper can be consistent over 1000 sheets. But I wanted to incorporate a local material as well, which is why I chose to harvest and include grasses from the prairie two miles from our home. It gives a personal touch and when you look at the paper you can think about the story of that grass and the process of how it got to your hands.


1) pulp: the result of plant fibers being turned into a viscous, cloudy looking slurry.

2) half-stuff: plant material that has been pre-processed in a factory and are purchased from a supplier. They need to be rehydrated before beaten, versus processing the raw plant material. Common “half-stuff” materials are: abaca, cotton linter, hemp, sisal, and flax.

3) abaca: a bast (taken from the inner bark of plants) fiber from the leaf stalk of a type of banana tree found in the Philippines and South America.

4) fibrillation: act of changing the structure of the fiber from its native shape, refining it to delamination and microfibers.

5) vat: a tub or container to hold your slurry of water and pulp.

6) mould: screen surface, similar to a window screen, stretched on a frame.

7) deckle: a second frame with an opening that sits or fits onto the mould, creating edges to hold the fibers.

8) hydrogen bonding: hydrogen & oxygen atoms and water are attracted to each other through similar polar charges and attach like magnets, through the process of bonding, and hold water and the fiber molecules together.

9) couching: the fluid act of transferring the fibers of a sheet of paper from the mould to felts or pellons.

10) pellon: a sheet of non-woven polyester cloth with absorbent qualities to hold and help release the fibers from the mould. Pellons are usually cut to the size of your press so that everything fits together.

11) blotter: a large sheet of processed cotton that is absorbent and acts as a barrier between the paper and the cardboard in the drying process.


Notes from my college course in the fall of 2011 at the College of Saint Benedcit/Saint John’s University Art Department

“The Papermaker’s Companion; The Ultimate Guide to Making and Using Handmade Paper” by Helen Hiebert

BONUS: Handmade Paper and Pottery Giveaway, $418 value

Giveaway, no purchase necessary: 2 people will each win one of Sienna Kuhn’s handmade paper Moon Cards ($29 value) paired with one of Joel Cherrico’s “Cosmic Mugs” ($180 value: $165 + $15 S&H average), totally free! To enter, leave a comment on this blog post before 1pm CST March 8th, 2019 responding to the following question:

What is one important thing that you learned about the art of making paper?

Simply leave a comment before 1pm CST Friday 3/8/2019 telling us one important thing you learned from this blog post. The Cherrico Pottery Team will select 2 different people to win. Each winner will get one of Sienna Kuhn’s newest handmade “Moon Cards” ($29 value) paired with  one of Joel Cherrico’s “Cosmic Mugs” ($180 value: $165 + $15 S&H average), shipped almost anywhere globally, totally free!

To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment on this blog post, 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 up to 48 hours, or sometimes even a bit longer, for the moderator to approve your comment. Limit one comment entry per person. Void where prohibited, over 21 years of age only. We will pick winner Tuesday 3/12/2019 at the latest (Sienna Kuhn is currently scheduled to choose winners around 1pm Friday 3/8/12 and we will try to make this deadline and announce winners on Facebook Live around 2pm Central that same day) and winners will also be notified via email.

The winners will receive the gifts shipped to them nearly anywhere globally. You can view more details at the Cherrico Pottery Giveaway Policy here or the Cherrico Pottery Terms and Conditions here. If you have any more questions or concerns, or please reach out to Joel Cherrico, anytime at our email here: contact@cherricopottery.com

Why We Treat Everyday Like Earth Day: Beautiful, Simple Ways To Be More Environmentally Friendly

*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.

Packing and Shipping

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.

It’s the same reason Joel uses kick wheels to make pottery rather than electric, motorized wheels.

Why Donations Relate to Environmentalism

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:

What’s Next? 

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.

If you want to help us accomplish this goal, please consider buying a pot.

🎁🎉 April Pottery Giveaway 🎁🎉

What’s one thing you do to encourage environmental sustainability? Leave a comment below before this Friday telling us one thing you do to try and be more environmentally friendly in your daily life, your job, hobbies, travel, anything! Joel will pick the best 3 comments and give them one of three pots ($459 value) totally free: World Record planter #26/159 ($159 value + $20 packing & shipping), one Cosmic Mug inspired by a Planetary Nebula ($125 + $15 packing & shipping) and one Cosmic Mug inspired by a Molecular Cloud Cluster ($125 + $15 packing & shipping).

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