Edible Upcountry - Studio-to-Table, Creative Collaborations
By Lindsey Deloach Jones
CICLOPS CYDERI AND BREWERY: THE ART OF DRINKING
"Another excellent model is Ciclops Cyderi & Brewery in Spartanburg, located inside the beloved Hub City Tap House. Proximity was influential here, too: a couple years back ceramicist Allison Gross, owner of Oak Leaf Pottery, heard the buzz about a new bar opening in town. Her first thought was, “How cool would it be to have a place like this using my mugs?” So she made a prototype and, despite her fierce introversion, forced herself to walk through the front door soon after their opening.
Luckily, the person on the other side of that door was co-owner Kolby Garrison, one of the most gregarious, inviting humans you’ll ever meet. Willing to gamble on Allison, he ordered a batch of 25 mugs on the spot using the last dollars he had in the bank that day. Once introduced to customers, the mugs sold out in four hours.
At Ciclops the mugs aren’t just an accent. As the inspiration for their mug wall and “Hub Club,” they have helped shape the culture of the place. Patrons who buy a mug can drink from it every time they come in, and true regulars who drink 99 different varieties of beer are upgraded to the “Board of Directors,” where they sip from top-shelf mugs bearing the Ciclops logo. Shelves along the back wall display the mugs, now numbering more than 150.
Allison has had other opportunities to work with local restaurants, including Rainer’s Café downtown. It was the confidence she gained from the Rainer’s partnership that gave her the idea to approach Ciclops. “I can’t thank these owners enough for taking a chance on me,” Allison says."
Belle Magazine - Artist Profile: Allison Gross
Thanks to Belle Magazine for allowing me to be their artist profile for the November issue!
The Q&A was so much fun. It turned out to be a rewarding a humbling experience to reflect on why I dove into pottery, what I love about it and what keeps me going through the thick and thin.
The article covers everything to how I make each of my pieces to where I draw my inspiration and what advice I can offer to other women makers trying to make a go of it running a small business.
And I'm so glad the piece was able to include a photo from Kavin Bradner Photography, who recently visited the Oak Leaf studio to snap some production shots. Thanks, Kavin!
Ivy&Branch - Oak Leaf Pottery, The elegance of Rusticware
By Maris Mabry, Ivy&Branch
I’m always excited to introduce a new kind of shop on Ivy&Branch, and I couldn’t be happier to introduce Oak Leaf Pottery as the first ceramics shop on the blog. I first encountered Oak Leaf Pottery through my friend Sarah Collins (co-founder of Modern Forestry Candles–reread my post on them here). Sarah is good friends with Allison Gross, the potter behind Oak Leaf Pottery, and I had the chance to see Allison’s work at Modern Forestry’s “Forestry Friday” event in early April.
Allison began to fall in love with ceramics during college, and she graduated with a degree in art education. She taught art for several years, but when she and her husband moved to South Carolina three years ago, she began to think seriously about doing ceramics full-time. Today, she has her own home studio and runs Oak Leaf Pottery as her full time job.
While interviewing Allison, I was blown away by her powerful work ethic and the sheer magnitude of responsibilities she has day in and day out. Not only does Allison run Oak Leaf Pottery, but she’s also a stay-at-home mom for her eight-month-old son, Levi. Balancing work with motherhood is no small challenge, but Allison has managed to tend to both with dedication and lots of love. She works around Levi’s sleep schedule and manages her tasks with the help of her husband, Dan. Read the rest of the blog post here.
Studio 62 on Carolina CW - Meet Savvy Restyle Market vendor Oak Leaf Pottery
Deep South Magazine - Throwing Wares in the Upstate
By Andrew Moore
Oak Leaf Pottery is making a name for itself with signature glazes, drips and functional pieces that double as works of art.
Maybe you’re looking for a new mug to enhance your coffee experience in the morning or a new set of bowls to add color to your dinner table. Whatever your earthenware needs, you can find it thanks to Spartanburg’s Oak Leaf Pottery. Specializing in a diverse selection of red iron oxide stoneware coated in earthly glazes, this rustic business is growing quickly. And the duo behind it all is Allison and Daniel Gross.
While attending Towson University as an art education major, Allison found her passion for pottery through ceramics courses. After graduating in 2011, she became an art teacher for a local high school in Montgomery County, Maryland, and began making wares to sell through an Etsy store. After three years of teaching, she found out that her husband, Daniel, had received a new job with a daily newspaper in Spartanburg, South Carolina. With a big move in their future, Allison decided to quit teaching and dedicate more time to pottery. Read the full article at deepsouthmag.com.
The Laurel of Asheville - 15th Big Crafty Promises Enormous Support for Handmade Creations
By Leah Shapiro
Twice each year, The Big Crafty promotes handmade and small-scale creative entrepreneurship through its one-day events in downtown Asheville. The Big Crafty is a free juried market that features approximately 170 indie artists and craftspeople from all over the country, although there is a strong focus on local and regional enterprises.
The next event will be held on Sunday, July 12, from noon to 6 p.m. inside the Asheville Art Museum and outdoors on Pack Square.
This event also offers an opportunity to those who do not live here to reach a wider audience.
Allison Gross of Oak Leaf Pottery in Spartanburg says, “I am participating in Big Crafty because as an emerging potter, I know that Asheville plays a big role in the handmade movement and I want be a part of that.” Read the full article here.
South Design House - PMC Greer Family Fest: Savvy Restyle Market
This past weekend, we enjoyed meeting with many of the local makers and small businesses at the PMC Greer Family Fest. The two-day event featured live music, a creation station, KidsZone, delicious food vendors, and more than 100 businesses from the Upstate.
Our first stop, of course, was the Savvy Restyle Market. The Market featured 22 vendors and had a fantastic location during the event.
Oak Leaf Pottery:
Allison Gross has a special gift and shares this through her pottery. Oak Leaf Pottery combines Allison’s love of art and nature into wheel-thrown and hand-built functional rustic clay wares. From mugs, to bowls, lidded cheese plates, and whimsical vases, her pieces combine art with function and feature custom glaze treatments that capture the color and essence of moss-covered logs, lichen, and oak bark. Read the full article here.
Spartanburg Herald-Journal - On a mission for art: Former church is home for local artists to explore and share their creative spirits
By Leena Dbouk
What was once a vacant church building on West Main street now serves as home to a thriving community of Spartanburg artists.
Inside the former church at 578 W. Main St. is an artist co-operative, an autonomous visual arts organization that is owned by its members and houses studios for artists to either work alone or draw inspiration from the creative types around them.
Such co-ops are usually only found in large metropolitan cities where the artistic population is large enough to easily support such an enterprise. But in the fall of 2009, Howard Solomon — along with a group of fellow artists — decided to found the West Main Artists Cooperative to give local artists the opportunity to have space to fuel their creativity.
The mission of the organization is “to provide affordable workspace for local artists and to offer a place where artists can learn from a group of like-minded individuals,” Solomon said.
In the back room are three different-sized kilns, which are fired weekly. Allison Gross, who is both a culinary and pottery artist, sits at a wheel, her hands covered in wet clay. Her studio is filled with not-yet-finished pieces of pottery that are ready to be glazed.
“I joined the co-op when my husband and I moved to Spartanburg from Maryland,” Gross said. “I wanted a space where I could work on my pottery as well as meet other artists.
“I think that the facilities are great — especially ceramics — and I also love talking with and meeting others in the art community in Spartanburg. I think that WMAC has so much to offer for artists and the community.
“We offer classes, we sell quality handmade work, and it is a really great place to socialize and meet other people who make art or appreciate art. I am glad that I have a space to work that is located in a place made for artists by artists and is affordable. It is fun to bounce ideas off of each other and work together to keep everything going.” Read the full article here.