Behind the Scenes with Museware Pottery

4 Aug

One of our favorite lines of pottery is Museware.  It’s a brand we’ve carried for many years and for good reason.  Today, we wanted to take you behind-the-scenes with this wonderful company.

In 1998sheree2, Sheree Burlington walked into a local paint-your-own-pottery studio and became completely obsessed. After three years of owning and operating a trio of studios, she began searching for a more creative direction.  In 2005 Sheree rented studio space in a historic mill in Manchester, New Hampshire. Fifteen hundred square feet of exposed brick walls, ancient & scarred natural wood floors, cool, rusted pulleys mounted to the ceiling.  And No Heat. She showed up with a bunch of paint and some brushes.  Years later, and in a new location, they work daily to create the hand painted, personalized pottery gifts we love, known as Museware Pottery.  Sheree is the designer and owner and refers to herself as “a licensed artist, seeker, writer, storyteller, sporadic blogger, pattern maker, humorist, singer and shameless self promoter.”

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Their unique company offers a wonderfully handmade line of ceramic family plates, platters, photo frames & more.  They are perfect for the many celebrations in life such as a long-awaited reunion, a happy housewarming, milestone birthday, retirement or other special family occasions. Each piece of their pottery is individually hand-painted. No two are exactly alike.

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This production table shot shows a typical wedding season day.

The Wedding Invitation Platter is their most popular personalized wedding gift. Conceived over a cup of hot tea & a Snickers bar, the exact language of an invitation or any text provided  is handwritten, in cursive, in the background on the plate.

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The Sketchbook collection is their newest addition to the line. It’s hand drawn, simple & modern. Plates, platters, vases and photo frames with a smile. Hand-painted and fired in a kiln and a perfect treasured item.  They are a gift that’s fresh, fun and personal. With a focus on the ever popular monogram, each pottery gift features a unique, rendered hand-sketched illustrations.

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Lots of testing goes into new product development. Each time they pulled a test piece from the kiln, they’d say “That’s my favorite!” “We love this 13″ plate with the house design for a housewarming gift – it’s our favorite – next to the monogram, owl, wreath, and flowers!”

aug-museware-002Museware Pottery gifts are entirely handmade. Real human beings handle every step of its creation, from the Italian guys hand pressing, trimming & cleaning the clay to the New Hampshire gal who carefully wraps, packs & ships a finished platter.

aug-museware-003aTheir designs are produced on bisque – unfinished white earthenware clay that is hand pressed & kiln fired to 1900 degrees. The bisque arrives by shipping container, eventually finding its way to their noisy, dusty mill. It arrives by skid and the guy who delivers it knocks on the door in such a distinctive way that they all know who it is. Once unpacked, each piece is carefully inspected for flaws. It’s rare that a piece comes out of the box and onto the shelf without some work. Bumps and other small imperfections are smoothed away with a stilt stone. Irregular bottoms are leveled by rubbing the pottery foot across the abrasive surface of a kiln shelf. It’s a noisy, grindy process and the air around the table gets cloudy with bisque dust.

All of this humanity means that everything about Museware Pottery is imperfect. The shape is imperfect – some slightly misshapen, others embossed with the maker’s finger prints. The painting is imperfect – humidity and temperature plays a role on thickness & viscosity. Since their studio is in an antique mill, if it’s windy outside, it’s windy inside. Even moving air can change the outcome.  The end result is that each piece is truly one of a kind. No two pieces are ever exactly alike, and that’s how they like it.  That’s art – perfectly imperfect.  Perfectly unique.  Try and enjoy Museware Pottery – we think you’ll love it too.

 

 

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