So…. we were hanging out in downtown Calistoga, California looking at the tourist map on Main Street. I see it lists of a number of antique shops, coffee shops, restaurants and a bookstore. Off in the corner a little square on the map says “Calistoga Pottery.”
My eyes lit up! Of course and I had to check it out.
Calistoga Pottery is a little shop behind a home on the highway just before the turn into/out of Calistoga. We had the privilege of chatting with the owner/operator/artists, a husband and wife team. He makes the pottery and she glazes the pottery. Together, Jeff and Sally have been in business almost 40 years.
They make dinnerware for more than a dozen of the local restaurants. A list hangs on the wall by the door. They also sell their pottery to the public out of this working studio, the one pictured here.
Both Jeff and Sally were absolutely lovely to talk to and were particularly enthusiastic when we told them we were from Canada. Sally told us of a time when she lived in British Columbia in the 1970s. She remembers it very fondly. When it came time for me to complete my purchase, she joked that I could even pay in Loonies (Canadian coins) if I had them!
Sally showed me a number of her signature glazes, including one that was made from the ash of grapevines from a local winery. Such a beautiful effect on clay!
I did also mention to Sally, how much her shop reminded me of the pottery business established in Manitoba by another potter, my friend Jeff Bettle. “Manitoba Jeff” has transformed an old church and made it into his home and studio over the course of the last 20 years. I told her how much I admire people who master their craft and share it with others. Theoldchurch.ca
Maybe someday the 2 Jeffs and Sally will bump into each other at a clay convention. They can swap stories and tell the tales of life and work aside a highway, and the tourists who stop in. And they’ll have a laugh about that charismatic chatty Cathie who happened to connect over clay, in Calistoga California one July afternoon in 2019.