Erin & Jason Hall | Episode 397
Erin and Jason Hall, owners of Alberta Pottery (Greenville, SC), are full-time artists creating studio pottery and sculptural ceramics. Jason earned his BFA from Clemson University; Erin a BA from Stetson University and MFA from Clemson. They work in stoneware, fire gas reduction, and exhibit nationally at juried shows.
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Erin what kind of goals do you have for your pottery?
We want to make more of it and we want to find a market for it. As far as our current location, it’s a family property that we hope to turn into a larger studio at some point. We would like to have a teaching space and a possible residency program offering a transition place to work. We would also like a wood kiln and to fire in soda or salt or wood soon. Possibly all three.
Jason how do you know when it’s time to go full time?
First of all you need to count the cost anytime you go into building anything and building a business is definitely building something. And you should have foundations and the start of that is see what kind of assets you have. We did a lot of white boarding. You could us a piece of paper. We would use markers and we kept these pieces of paper around the house and for weeks we would write and add things to it. What are the pros and cons? What do I own? What do I owe? How much credit card debt do I have? Do I have equipment? Our friend, Elizabeth, I think she pulls a wheel out from under her dining room table. She has 5 children and she finds a way to make a large body of work.
Erin what is a challenge of working so closely with a spouse?
Do you want honesty with this question? (laughter)
Jason: I take her tools.
Erin: He does! He is always stealing. He is a youngest child and I am an oldest child, which is an interesting combination. I like all my little things and I like my neat space and I like things to be clean and tidy and he takes all my tools and makes a huge mess of everything. I just have to just get over it. It’s OK I think there is a lot of wonderful things of working with your spouse and in very close proximity and there is some challenges too. Jason is more of a morning person so he will get into the studio earlier than me and I will take care of some of the business aspects of pottery in the morning. I will get in there in the afternoon so we do have some time to work separately as well. For the most part he is a great work companion.
Jason what is the blessing of working so closely with a spouse?
It allows you to do the things that you are not very strong with and that you can be vulnerable enough in that. I have been in work places and had very corporate experiences before where you are almost guarded because you are climbing the ladder but with your spouse you can open up and they know your weaknesses.
How do you find festivals or shows to attend?
Erin: We talk to a lot of people and get feedback from people we see at shows. We do everything through application generally as far as finding shows. And reading reviews of different shows that we think would be a good fit for us. And we usually try to go to them first to check them out.
Jason: And trusted friends. I took your question completely different. How do I find festivals? I find them differently than Erin. Erin finds them exhilarating and I find them exhausting. Because believe it or not I am a bit of an introvert.
My last question for you is: What is your favorite couple activity?
Jason: Probably eating. It really is.
Erin: Potters love to eat.
Jason: We had a professor who was always thinking about his next meal. That’s how he lives his life. He wakes up in the morning and thinks about planning breakfast and then he thinks about planning lunch and then dinner. So one of the blessing of working with your spouse at home is that we can make things at home and I love to cook from scratch and we love to eat together.
Erin: And I would say travel. I absolutely love to travel.
Jason: And we like to eat when we travel.
Erin: We actually taught on Princess Cruises for a while and we got to eat and travel while making pots.