Welcome to the first of many FEATURE FRIDAYS!!! We are kicking off the celebration of the various makers that comprise Winslet & Rhys with our very own neighbor, Susan Gordon Pottery!
Susan Gordon Pottery is a small batch pottery studio located right here in Birmingham, AL. The magic happens at MAKEbhm’s new complex, directly adjacent to our storefront, where the products go from blocks of clay to packaged, postal, handmade masterpieces. The whole process takes place within an 18x27 open shop space. SGP is widely successful and has been featured on Martha Stewart’s website, Etsy, and continues to experience drastic growth. SGP's products are in high demand as it ships nationwide. Just yesterday, the studio welcomed it's 80th retailer to the SGP family.
The woman leading this ever-evolving operation is Susan Gordon herself; a spunky, enthusiastic, devoted artist and mother who expertly juggles many hats while maintaining dedication to her creative vision. Susan entered Auburn University with the intention of being a graphic designer, but an unsuspecting fine art requirement transformed her entire trajectory. Her clay class attracted her to the medium and she fell fast. "That's when I decided I was going to be a potter," she says with a smirk. "My parents were not happy, but if someone tells me I can't do something, then I make it happen. No one can stand in my way." Even when her first MFA professor at Montevallo University threw her best work in the trash, she remained determined. "I honestly needed that to take me down a few notches," she laughs. "When you're young you think you know everything, but that teacher really pushed me to grow and develop my work."
After attaining her MFA, Susan poured her creativity into paintings, meanwhile saving up for equipment. As soon as she purchased her first kiln in 2013, she set up shop in her basement. It was in that moment that Susan Gordon Pottery was born with just one other production assistant. Three short years later, she operates out of her studio space with four kilns and nine production assistants. When asked about her rapid success, she attributes it to her blind commitment and her unforeseen style. "Most people don't even know it's pottery," Susan explains. "As opposed to stoneware colors, I use painterly colors that don't reference clay." Susan designed her work to transcend itself and likes that it's not what people expect. Still, people love her clean and minimalist style. Susan's favorite part of her job is designing new pieces and collaborating with her team. "We're like a little community," Susan happily says. "We all keep each other up to date on our lives and all relate to one another on an artistic level. Everyone has meaningful creativity to give."
In addition to her close-knit team, Susan loves going to Steel City Pops with her two year old daughter, team lunches, dancing around the studio, Pepper Place Market and team member Anna Kate's Discover Weekly Spotify playlist. She is hilarious, fun, outgoing and cares deeply about her staff and promoting the importance of beauty and aesthetics. Anna Kate Marcum, one of Susan's team members, sums up everything perfectly when she says, "She has a lot of vision and drive behind her company, but still manages to have all the fun in the world."
We’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Susan and her team and look forward to unveiling a few new collaborations that are currently in the works! Be sure to follow along each week as we share the stories of all of our favorite makers!