I have a custom made butter dish. It sits on my counter, a beautiful and practical piece of pottery that I ordered while browsing Art & Roses, a local event at Julia Davis Park in Boise, Idaho, held the first Sunday of June. The exhibition had too many booths of wall art for my attention span, but when I arrived at Mud Pie Arts, I and my companion lingered a long time. Naturally, it was the eye-catching pottery that first drew us into the stall, but the genuine, comfortable friendliness of the proprietor, Patricia Sadler-Trainor, and her husband made the stop one-of-a-kind for the day.
There were rectangular platters, bowls of various sizes, vases, mugs, and… butter dishes with lids! However, the butter dishes for sale were only sized for one cube. I mentioned how much I liked them, except for the limited capacity and she offered to make her first two-cube butter dish. I paid the deposit, along with the purchase of a couple of other pieces for gifts, then began the rest of my summer.
A few weeks later, I received the phone call to go pick up my treasure. Patricia’s studio is located behind her house in the North End of Boise, with the entrance through a garden gate.
On the spur of the moment I had asked Natalie to come along with the camera. When we arrived, I asked Patricia if she would mind telling us a little about her business and art. The particular details of each business or craft are always fascinating to me.
Patricia loves to answer questions about her work. She patiently explained aspects of her processes, such as how many boxes of clay she buys at once to how she creates the textures. Her clay comes in boxes like these, which are the last few boxes of a much larger shipment:
She uses a potter’s wheel or a slab-roller, however, she may coil or weave the clay, depending on the desired product. If she has made flat sheets of clay with the slab-roller, she puts the clay around a form chosen from her shelves.
Her forms are hardened solids, themselves formed from such things as Styrofoam meat trays or whatever has potential.
Tools to press in texture can be anything from exotic designs from wood block stamps found at import stores to bubble wrap.
Besides paper bags full of powders (glaze ingredients to be weighed on a her triple beam scale), there are stacks of plastic gallon buckets, which looked like they had previously held ice cream, filled with mixed glazes. The work tables and benches are well supplied with brushes, scrappers, spatulas, and mallets. There are also tubs of clay scraps being soaked to bring them back to use. We smiled to see the ubiquitous yogurt containers being reused, since we reuse them at our home for a variety of things.
That day there were not very many finished pieces to see because they were packed up to transport, but even her window sill was lovely to look at.
Below, she explains the textures and glazes of a finished bowl –
Here is the blue bowl one of my daughters received for her birthday a few days ago:
You can see more of Patricia’s work if you visit her website. There is also information about where she will be selling her creations, as well as information for other potters about her glazes. Here is one more view of MY butter dish so that you can get a closer look at the gorgeous blues and browns on the other side:
Patricia’s studio was plainly a well used, well loved studio, a place of reveling in her art and making items that people delight to buy. Anything purchased from her is classic now and a show piece to savor for years.