In the back of Clogs-N-More, behind a curtain in the stockroom, two pottery artists quietly create innovative porcelain pieces that sell to buyers across the country. Since August 2020, co-owners Jenn Gauer and Meghan Radick have made 7821 SE Stark Street the home of their business JaMpdx Ceramics. The studio space is the center for their hand-crafted creations, with clay splatter across the walls and racks of products in various stages of completion. Consequentially, the production space is closed to the public. Instead, they rely on the company website and select retail locations to display their one-of-a-kind products.
The partners bring their unique skills together in nearly every creation. Jenn’s “the potter, and I’m the decorator, so I do things like painting or built these flowers. I was a cake decorator, so this kind of decoration is done using cake decorating tools squeezed out of a bag, just like frosting,” explained Radick. This decorating technique is one of the standout characteristics of the designs. Gauer and Radick were the pioneers of this process, with limited competition in the marketplace. “People are trying it, but we think 12 years ago we were the first.” Said, Radick. A comparable technique called slip trailing is common, but potters using that method usually work with a much wetter material compared to what JaMpdx Ceramics uses. “That’s just like the Rose you would see on a cake, and it’s made exactly the same way and just stuck right on the pot. Most potters are not at that level of cake decorating to be able to transfer that skill.” Said Radick while pointing to some of her recent work awaiting shipment.
Other innovations produced in the studio come from necessity. Gauer and Radick are knitters and observed a need they could fill with their profession. “Where one of a few potters that specialize in these yarn bowls. A yarn bowl is a thing that has existed for years, but usually, there’s a cut out in the side of the bowl.” Remarked Radick while demonstrating the uniquely notched lid of their design. They constantly update the product lines and improve the colors and glazing used. They buy raw porcelain from a regional supplier, Clay Art, in Tacoma, WA. All the items are food safe, with most pieces rated for dishwashers or microwaves.
This Stark Street store is not the first location for JaMpdx Ceramics. The pair initially started working together in Jenn Gauer’s basement. Only luck and a past work relationship brought this company to the historic downtown Montavilla area. “Well, I worked for Clogs-N-More for about 12 years, so when they saw this space, they saw the kilns in the backroom that were left here from Pottery Fun and called me,” explained Meghan Radick. “They called me and said, hey, you guys should come and take over this really well-priced space in this great neighborhood.” However, the timing for such a significant leap in operational expenses did not seem sound. “We were not ready to take over 1700 square feet of retail in a pandemic,” said Radick.
Fortunately for both companies, they were able to strike a deal to share the storefront, with JaMpdx Ceramics taking the back third of the space. They bought the leftover kilns and some shelving from Pottery Fun and moved operations out of the basement. “Being in the basement, it worked, but it’s nice for [Jenn] to have the work-life separation. And it’s been so nice to be able to open up a door and have fresh air come in.” Said, Radick.
This company continues a long tradition of makers taking root in Montavilla and creating exceptional products enjoyed across the nation. Although closed to walk-in customers, the pair feel part of the community and are happy they have this space. They can take special requests for color or design if they can sell the other 15 units they need to make in a production run. Visit them online at jampdx.com to see what they have and contact them with questions or requests.
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