Wednesday, December 13th: Ripple Pottery is Reborn


HOLIDAY SPIRIT. KRISTEN: BRIAN O’HARE HAS OWNED RIPPLE POTTERY IN RUMNEY FOR 13 YEARS. HIS GALLERY, WORKSHOP, AND HOUSE SIT SIDE BY SIDE. BRIAN: IT IS IDEAL FOR A POTTER. IT IS REALLY HARD TO COMMUTE TO WORK WHEN YOU HAVE A JOB LIKE THIS. THERE ARE TIMES WHERE I’LL WAKE UP AT 2:00 IN THE MORNING TO COME AND CHECK ON SOMETHING, OR AFTER DINNER COME OUT AND FLIP OVER MUGS THAT ARE DRYING, SO YOU REALLY HAVE TO BE IN TUNE WITH WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND YOU. IT WOULD BE NICE SOMETIMES TO STEP AWAY, BUT I THINK FOR THE — FOR MOST POTTERS, IT IS KIND OF A LIFESTYLE. THIS LOCATION IS IDEAL FOR ME, ESPECIALLY FOR MY FAMILY, BECAUSE WE ARE SET BACK FROM THE ROAD FAR ENOUGH WHERE I DON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THEM. IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL SPOT. WE HAVE GOT CLIFFS AND ROCKS ALL AROUND US AND WE ARE RIGHT NEXT TO A MAJOR TOURIST ATTRACTION, THE POLAR CAVES, SO WE DO SEE A LOT OF RESIDUAL BUSINESS OFF OF THAT. IT’S WONDERFUL, EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT OVER THE PAST 12 YEARS NOW, WE HAVE EXPERIENCED TWO FLOODS.>>TRYING TO SAVE OUR COUCH AND ALL THAT, BUT JUST NOT HAPPENING. KRISTEN: WONDERING — BRIAN: ONE DURING HURRICANE IRENE, WHICH THEY SAID WAS A 100 YEAR FLOOD AND A LOT OF PLACES HAD NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THAT, AND KIND OF TWICE AGAIN AFTER, ONE ON THE FOURTH OF JULY AND THEN WITH WHAT JUST HAPPENED ROUGHLY 30 DAYS AGO. KRISTEN: HIS PROPERTY SITS NEXT TO THE BAKER RIVER, AND DURING A STORM IN NOVEMBER IT ROSE 19.5 FEET, CAUSING WATER TO FLOOD ONTO HIS PROPERTY. BRIAN: SEVERE DAMAGE, STRUCTURAL. WE LITERALLY HAD TO GUT EVERYTHING. ALL OF MY EQUIPMENT WAS RUINED. THE HOUSE — AS MUCH AS YOU CAN THINK OF WHAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN FIVE TO SIX FEET OF WATER COME INTO YOUR HOUSE, IS WHAT HAPPENED. KRISTEN: AND TO MAKE MATTERS EVEN WORSE — BRIAN: I HAD JUST GOTTEN DONE LOADING THE KILN WITH THE MAJORITY OF THE STOCK THAT I NEEDED FOR THE CHRISTMAS SEASON. I WOULD SAY CLOSE TO $9,000 OR $10,000 WORTH OF POTS JUST DISINTEGRATED INSIDE THE KILN BECAUSE THEY WERE STILL GREEN, THEY WERE STILL JUST CLAY. IT WAS TRICKY. IT WAS A LOT OF LOSS. I TRY NOT TO THINK ABOUT THAT TOO MUCH. BUT WE — I HAVE THE BASICS RIGHT NOW, I HAVE A WHEEL, CLAY, MY KILN IS WORKING. THAT IS ALL A POTTER REALLY NEEDS. KRISTEN: AND THEY ALSO HAVE THE SUPPORT FROM THEIR COMMUNITY, WHICH IS RALLYING AROUND THEM — ONE OF THE REASONS THEY ARE BOUNCING BACK SO QUICKLY.>>HERE, EITHER DOING LITERALLY MANUAL LABOR TO GET THIS PLACE BACK, WITH BRIAN, OR FINANCIALLY FROM PEOPLE. THE SUPPORT HAS BEEN AMAZING. I AM VERY TOUCHED, AND I KNOW BRIAN IS TOO. BRIAN: OVERWHELMING, THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE THAT CAME AND LENT A HAND, AND THEY STILL ARE. I AM DOING EVERYTHING THAT I CAN, BUT YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL. ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS I KNEW I HAD TO DO WAS TO LIFT THAT HOUSE AND GET IT AS FAR ABOVE AND BEYOND HARM’S WAY AS I COULD. KRISTEN: WITH THE HELP OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS, THEY ARE DOING JUST THAT, WORKING ON THEIR HOUSE AND SPRUCING UP THE WORKSHOP AND GALLERY IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON. AND THANKS TO SOME QUICK WORK, IT’S FULL WITH ITEMS FOR SALE. BRIAN: I MAKE A LOT OF FUNCTIONAL THINGS, THINGS PEOPLE USE EVERY DAY, WHICH TO ME IS REALLY SATISFYING. I OFTEN THINK, HOW MANY PEOPLE OUT THERE START THEIR DAY WITH A MUG THAT I HAVE MADE? THOUSANDS BY NOW. BUT I ALSO PLAY. I LIKE TO CREATE THINGS THAT ARE MORE INTERESTING FOR DECORATION, SO I KIND OF FIND AN ANGLE IN EVERYTHING THAT I DO. YOU HAVE TO PLAY THE BILLS, SO IT IS OBVIOUSLY THE MUGS AND THE THINGS LIKE THAT THAT ARE MORE ACCESSIBLE FOR MOST PEOPLE THAT COME HERE, SO I DO PRODUCE QUITE A BIT OF THAT. IT’S A VERY HANDS-ON JOB. AS AN ARTIST, IT’S GREAT TO BE ABLE TO PRODUCE THINGS THAT ARE ACCESSIBLE AND THAT CAN GET OUT THERE INTO THE WORLD. HENCE THE NAME RIPPLE. I LIKE TO THINK THAT THINGS KIND OF HAVE THAT EFFECT AS THEY GO OUT. IT’S REWARDING. I DO REMEMBER AS A KID DRAWING AND PAINTING, AND I LOVE DOING THAT, BUT FOR SOME REASON THE CLAY JUST REALLY SPOKE TO ME, AND I HAVE BEEN THROWING POTS FOR ABOUT 23 YEARS NOW. SO I KNOW IT IS WHAT I WAS MEANT TO DO. KRISTEN: AND DESPITE THE HARDSHIPS ALONG THE WAY, BRIAN SAYS HE WOULDN’T WANT IT ANY OTHER WAY. BRIAN: I’M SEEING PROGRESSION AND I’M ALSO SEEING HOW THINGS ARE GOING TO BE SO MUCH BETTER WHEN THIS IS FINISHED. I FEEL STRONG — NOT ALL THE TIME, BUT I REALIZE THAT ME AND MY FAMILY HAVE THAT STRENGTH, AND THAT IS ONE OF THE THINGS I TAKE FROM THIS, THAT IT WAS A TEST TO SEE WHAT WE CAN DO AND OVERCOME AS A FAMILY, AND I THINK WE ARE GETTING THROUGH IT AND I AM PROUD.

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