A Little of
LickinFlames is a new name of that first business. The name LickinFlames comes from the unique characteristics applied to the individual pieces by the flames "licking" across the pieces in the kiln and in the post firing processes. Control freak that I am, it took a while for me to be able to give up some control to the flames. It seemed appropriate to name the brand after them.
Through the years, we've done arts and crafts shows on the lawns of local libraries, strip malls, indoor malls, street fairs, renaissance fairs and even in back yards of friends and family...we called them "pot parties." At one point we started selling wholesale with sales representatives at seven major wholesale gift markets. We supported 335 accounts in 37 states and had as many as nine employees. We've been down the route of casting and hydraulic pressing, forming upwards of 500 pieces a day and we've had studios in single car garages, double car garages and in a 3000 sf facility.
I have my degree in ceramics from the University of Idaho. I was one of the first to receive a degree in ceramics from there. Along the way I worked myself into "minors" in jewelry, sculpture and piano performance (really...piano performance)...and married my best friend, Brenda.
It was during a one year break from Idaho to take care of my diabetes that I was able to take a class in pottery at what was then Diablo Valley Junior College. It was magical. I love clay...period. I was a music major prior to that but clay rather abruptly pushed the music major idea aside.
Oh, don't get me wrong, I have other interests. I still do play the piano occasionally, and I like to play English Handbells, gardening (mostly native plants or dye material for fiber), fish for trout in Montana and play in Irish sessions with my B/C button box. But the darn clay really defines me.
Brenda is a personnel recruiter specializing in healthcare technology. She spends a good deal of her time as an Executive Board member of a large women's philanthropy. When she finds free time she will be knitting, dying or weaving.
I've had other careers and businesses through the years (the fish hatchery with 260 aquariums is a story in itself), but I've come back to clay a number of times. Sometimes I come back to see if it still attracts me and being the addiction that it is, I should know better. I still have a Robert Brent potter's wheel with a serial number of "72" and just have never been able to let it go...so I use it.
Now I'm using the wheel more often and am enjoying clay full time again. We live and work outside of Nevada City, CA, about an hour from Sacramento. No, this is not a hobby and no, we're not retired. Why on earth would I retire from something that I absolutely love to do. While life and the work continue to evolve, the clay is the same and for that I'm very thankful.