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The first time I became familiar with Jeremy’s pottery was at a photo shoot a few years ago. He wasn’t in attendance but the dish I was photographing was served in one of his bowls. As the chef placed the dish on the table, I was taken aback by how beautiful the presentation was. The food popped in its surroundings, a testament to just how wonderful his pottery is. I sat down with him a few weeks ago to get more insight into his process. And, as I was leaving, he gave me a stack of plates and bowls to bring home, which I’ve featured below along with three recipes (two vegetarian dishes and a gnocchi with smoked salmon).

Q. What led you to pottery?

A. I have been making pots for over 20 years but it has been a circuitous route to finding my way to full-time studio potter. Before working in clay, I spent over 10 years in the public health world – working on HIV prevention as a peace corps volunteer, working in Ecuador for a few yrs on health education, and then in Washington, DC working on HIV & public policy. I learned many lessons as an activist, educator & community organizer that really inform my current work, but it has taken a moment to realize how.

Working in other countries on difficult health issues has really taught me to be entrepreneurial – to search for new solutions and constantly move forward. And these experiences helped me take a big risk 6 years back – to leave the public health world (and a consistent paycheck) to start my small biz as a full time potter.

Q. Where do you make all of your pieces?

A. In my small studio in Jamaica Plain, a community I love!

Q. Who do you make pottery for?

A. I’m actually not always sure who my pottery is for. I’m constantly being contacted by new folks that have an interesting use for my finished clay pieces which is super cool – and I consequently feel like the end-user of my ceramics is constantly being broadened. For example, last month, Kirkland Tap & Trotter pitched me to create a few different sized beer growlers for their bar. And a few years back, Razors Barbershop in Somerville commissioned shaving mugs for their old fashioned straight razor shaves. I have also been crafting beer steins for my neighbors and buds the JP Beer Garden folks that they use at their popup events, and I spent years making hundreds of trophies for local Boston road races. In retrospect, I had no idea that barbers, bartenders, chefs, and so many different types of folks would have creative uses for my work and it has been so exciting as new projects roll in. I am always open to new funky collaborations!

Q. What’s the process like for making pieces for restaurants? Do they give you a specific style that they’re going for or do you present ideas to them?

A. I really see my work with restaurants as a collaboration. I want my work to fit within the vision of the space and complement the food, so I like to work with chefs from the outset, talking about size, shape, color and feeling that the work should convey. I always invite chefs to come down to my studio to see my work and from there we can talk about specifics. In some cases, I will create prototypes that we can try out and plate food on, and then refine and finalize the pieces from there. In other cases, pieces from my Elemental Line of work are perfect. I like to get to know the folks that are making use of my work so that I can make pieces that will complement who they are and what they will put on them. I think this more customized approach limits the clients I can work with but it allows me to build relationships and work closely with folks I like. And this is really what I most like about being a studio potter – that my work allows me to meet folks outside the clay world in my community and build creative & strong connections. Check out some of my restaurant collaborations by searching for the hashtag #ClayChefCollab.

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Q. What is your favorite part of the process of creating pottery?

A. I really enjoy all the aspects. I like the dreaming phase at the start of a new project, but I also love the making stage when I am hunkered down at my potters’ wheel for hours cranking out work. And of course it is gratifying and fun to walk into a coffeeshop/friends’ house/restaurant/barbershop and see my work in use!

Q. How have you seen your work change over the years?

A. Wow, it has changed drastically. In the past, I created work that was largely of interest to me. I dreamed up shapes and ideas and made pieces that I wanted to use. Sometimes other folks were interested & sometimes not. But these days, my workload is largely led by the types of clients I have. It depends on who is knocking on my door! I still carve out time to make some pieces for myself but it is much harder these days. For the past few years, I have been shipping monthly orders to Williams Sonoma + creating work for local restaurants, craft shows, and custom clients. It has kept me very busy – especially because it is only me creating all the work – but I always need some time to dream about what is the next project or form that excites me. This is partially what keeps me excited about my craft and moving forward.

Q. Anything else you’d like to share?

A. Last fall, I needed to make something different & new because I was being crushed by fall orders and holiday sales prep, so I started making clay spoons. They are small and quick to make and all different shapes. I had no idea what I would do with them or how they’d be used, but folks were interested SO I just started gifting them to friends. I have given away dozens by now and like to think they are my alternative business card. And folks have put them to use in really creative ways! They’ve sent me photos and I’ve posted some online using the hashtag #spooningboston. Check them out and if you are interested in a spoon, hit me up!

Follow Jeremy on Social Media Sites:
Website

Facebook
Instagram
Email: jeremy@oguskyceramics.com

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  • February 8, 2016 - 6:54 pm

    dixya @ food, pleasure, and health - i did take few class in college and it was a very therapeutic process..i’d do it again..thank you for sharing these, loved the interview.ReplyCancel

  • February 8, 2016 - 11:11 pm

    Tieghan - Thank you so much for sharing such a fun post, I loved reading the interview, the recipes are simply PERFECT and the photo are gorgeous!! :)

    Also, I NEED all that pottery. In LOVE with it!ReplyCancel

  • February 9, 2016 - 9:35 am

    Liz @ Floating Kitchen - His pieces are beautiful! I love this interview and your photos. I was recently reading about the shifting trend of restaurants starting to use pieces from local potters instead of the boring white plates that we all know so well. And I gotta say, I absolutely love the idea and can’t wait to see more restaurants doing this!ReplyCancel

  • February 9, 2016 - 9:52 am

    Elizabeth - This work is stunning! My plain white dishes just aren’t sparking creativity these days and I’ve been in the hunt for some great pottery – I can’t wait to check out Jeremy’s work! I love the visual storytelling you’re doing here. You’ve brought the process from clay to finished meal to life beautifully.ReplyCancel

  • February 10, 2016 - 10:29 am

    Naomi - Love this interview. The pottery is is gorgeous as are your photos. and of course I can’t wait to try the recipe – so simple and looks so good!ReplyCancel

  • February 10, 2016 - 11:46 am

    Kevin | Keviniscooking - What a great interview, enjoyed that and it reminded me of visiting a potter in Istanbul. Such a fascinating art form. I actually took some video of this master, it was incredible how it all came together. And the recipes here are as tantalizing as the beautiful photos. LOVE gnocchi!ReplyCancel

Oaxaca Old-Fashioned #cocktail

We’ve been traveling a lot these last few months. Each time I tell someone that we’re going away again, I get the same response: “Another trip? You’re really doing it up this winter.” Yes, this was the plan a while ago, to get out of Boston as much as possible. After last winter, it seemed absolutely necessary that we spend some time in a warmer climate during the month of February. And then we were asked by Eric’s mom if we’d like to take a trip to Mexico with them. They’d be renting a house in San Miguel de Allende, a city in central Mexico that’s full of artists, music and American expats. How could we pass that up?

So, that’s where we are. Chances are we’re sipping on some tequila. Just a guess. I didn’t want to leave you all out, though, so here is something I’ve been anxious to share with you fine folks for a while. I came across this wonderful agave-based drink a few months ago on The New York Times website and knew it would be my kind of cocktail. It’s smooth and a touch smokey (from the mezcal) and pretty wonderful to sip on by a roaring fire. But I do need to bring something up. I realize that I did not serve this on the rocks and, well, to be honest, this was an accident (though I consider it to be happy one). I wasn’t paying attention and I got caught up in the glassware I was using and forgot that oh, hey! this is supposed to be served on ice. I found this to be perfect just stirred and strained into a cocktail glass. I’m not sure how you feel, but I like my drinks sans rocks during the winter months. I want a drink that will make me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside and that’s exactly how I felt after just one of these. Of course, if you want the rocks, that’d be just fine and dandy.
Oaxaca Old-Fashioned #cocktailOaxaca Old-Fashioned #cocktailOaxaca Old-Fashioned #cocktailOaxaca Old-Fashioned #cocktail View full post »

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  • February 3, 2016 - 3:26 pm

    Kevin | Keviniscooking - While I don’t drink anymore, it sure is inviting and the photos are just beautiful. I have yet to go to San Miguel de Allend, even at the behest of several friends who go regularly. One day! Other fantastic, exotic trips keep coming up. In March we will celebrate 35 years – crazy – with a trip to India. Enjoy!ReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2016 - 10:16 pm

    Tieghan - Whoa! What a crazy fun drink! I will have to try it out! :)

    P.S. San Miguel is now on my travel list!ReplyCancel

  • February 4, 2016 - 11:02 am

    naomi - This drink – I love the sound of it. I think I’d actually prefer it like this rather than on ice.ReplyCancel

  • February 4, 2016 - 11:10 pm

    Denise - We keep toying with the relocation to Boston idea and then I think about winter. Shoving snow, big unattractive winter coats, freezing my booty off and we start rethinking. Now if these drinks and trips to Mexico were part of the moving back deal, it may work. I am loving all the IG photos .. keep them coming!ReplyCancel

  • February 9, 2016 - 9:46 am

    Elizabeth - Your travels of late have left me with only the slight twinges of jealousy, but after last year’s endless snowfall in Boston, you have certainly earned more than a few tropical vibes. And this cocktail! I love tequila, but until now hadn’t found a nice wintry way to drink it. Problem officially solved.ReplyCancel

    • February 9, 2016 - 9:23 pm

      Brian @ A Thought For Food - I think you deserve a trip as well! And I’m glad I could introduce you to this creation. It’s the perfect cold weather libation.ReplyCancel

Seared Scallops with Quinoa and Apple Salad + Butternut Squash Puree // www.athoughtforfood.net

I never plan very far ahead when it comes to holiday meals, so it’s kind of funny that I’m here writing about Valentine’s Day. It’s not even something Eric and I celebrate. Not in the way that some couples do. There are no chocolates or flowers, gifts or even cards. If we’re feeling romantic, we might give the other one a tap on the shoulder and say “Hey, I love you.” “Love you too.” Done.

We do take the opportunity to cook up something a bit fancier than we’d normally prepare on a normal night and this often means scallops or lobster. There’s usually Champagne, because we’ll use any excuse to pick up a bottle. And then we sit back and binge on whatever TV show we’re obsessed with. That’s married life, right there. That’s how we roll.

I’m excited to make these seared scallops again in a few weeks, mainly because Eric hasn’t tried them yet. Each time I’ve made them, I’ve managed to cook and eat the whole plate before he gets home. Sorry, babe. You’ll get a taste of these on the 14th. Promise. 
Seared Scallops with Quinoa and Apple Salad + Butternut Squash Puree // www.athoughtforfood.netSeared Scallops with Quinoa and Apple Salad + Butternut Squash Puree // www.athoughtforfood.net View full post »

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  • January 26, 2016 - 6:17 pm

    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence - I’ve got the same philosophy on Valentine’s Day!! I’ll usually make a big meal with some higher end ingredients. One year I did lobster. Another year I made a porchetta. Last year was steak (big steaks). These scallops look crazy delicious! Perhaps I’ll make them for Jorge this year :)ReplyCancel

  • January 26, 2016 - 11:29 pm

    Tieghan - Wow, these scallops look PERFECT!! Love the quinoa and butternut puree! ALSO, I do the same for V-day and I almost always do seafood!!ReplyCancel

  • January 27, 2016 - 7:18 pm

    Kevin | Keviniscooking - We don’t celebrate V-Day either actually. Not that we’re not romantic, but the commercialization of affection and all leaves me feeling a bit off. I say I love you everyday and mean it. He does as well. Don’t need a special day for that! We actually are celebrating our 35th anniversary in March by heading over to India, can’t wait!

    As for this post – heavenly, and I’m not even a big scallop lover. The sear on them, the color, the photos… wow! This is just an exquisite plate… from the apple quinoa and the puree, just lovely and most imaginative Brian.ReplyCancel

  • January 28, 2016 - 6:11 am

    Buffy - I’m drooling over your photos! This looks so good that it needs to make it onto the menu begore February 14ReplyCancel

  • January 28, 2016 - 11:20 am

    Naomi - Ah, this for a Valentine’s dinner – yes! I wish we could binge watch, married life with kids doesn’t allow for that.ReplyCancel

  • February 4, 2016 - 2:50 pm

    Heidi @foodiecrush - I’m with you on V-day, but still, these scallops would make anyone swoon. Look at that sear!ReplyCancel