In honor of the 20th Annual Northeast Artists' Studio Tour, we've interviewed our super talented artists to share how they got where they are and why they make the work that they do.
Today we're featuring potters Nate and Hallie Evans of Allamakee Wood-Fired Pottery. Their studio is location #26 on the tour, at 2856 Blair Road near New Albin, IA. This year's tour is Friday through Sunday, October 13th to the 15th, with all locations on the tour open from 10am to 5pm each day.
Who are you and what kind of art do you make?
Nate and Hallie Evans, co-artists at Allamakee Wood-Fired Pottery. We make functional wood-fired pots.
What's your background?
We are Luther grads, and then went down to apprentice at a pottery in Pittsboro, NC for 2 yrs, in 1997-99. Once back in the area, Nate worked at a production pottery and I helped another potter build a huge wood-fired kiln, and we tore down his old kiln to use the bricks to build our first kiln. After a summer doing that, we set up our own pottery.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist? What part of your process do you most enjoying doing?
I love working at home, and working with Nate. We have a nice work cycle that lasts about 3 months, so we get to do different things: make pots, move wood, load, fire and unload the kiln, clean pots and get them ready to sell, and then start over.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Before a full time job as potters, one of us has worked at other potteries, worked at a bike shop, worked grounds at Luther, painted dorms at Luther, worked at an arts council, worked at an organic farm, worked at a group home, worked at a retirement home, worked at a family video store. Nate currently also works in Decorah doing window restoration.
We both love to create something that is both beautiful and useful. We like working with our hands. The world is a better place with more art and less "stuff"!
What inspires you?
The beauty of our surroundings...we love our valley. The variation of plants and flowers and colors are seen in our pots.
Who is your favorite artist or what is your favorite piece of art?
We have a lot of art from other artists in our house. Some of our favorites are other pots made by close friends.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I always enjoy when people are truly in love with the pot/s they're buying. I remember someone cradling a vase in their arms for about an hour while they walked around our shop looking at other pots and our studio space. It's also nice to hear someone saying that the first mug they reach for in the morning is ours.
What will we see when we come to your studio?
We live WAY out (use GPS, or see directions on our website), but have a beautiful bunch of gravel roads that twist and turn to our house. We have a showroom with hundreds of pots, big and small, and you can tour the large kiln, our studio space and the yard or porch are great for a quick rest. We have home made soup and bread all day each day for customers, and have live music for a couple hours on Sat. early afternoon.
More about the Northeast Iowa Artists' Studio Tour:
The Northeast Iowa Artists' Studio Tour is a unique opportunity to explore artists studios for an intimate look into their creative process and a chance to purchase their newest works right out of the kiln, hot off the presses, paint freshly cured...you get the point! This year, you can experience 51 artists at 38 locations while also taking in the charm of Northeast Iowa's small communities, local fare, and the breathtaking scenery of the Driftless. Each artist is different, but they all share a passion for imagination and each one welcomes their guests with gusto. Visit the Tour's website to download a brochure, map, or GPS coordinates for each location.