Onside Media sat down with Ileana Tierney, founder of One Rock Pottery. At 56 years old, Illeana gave up her role in graphic design and began a pottery business where each piece is handcrafted by her.
Throughout Illeana’s life she completed a lot of art and eventually pursued a career in graphic design. In 2004 Illeana took her first pottery class and immediately wanted to continue working with clay as it “sang to her”. She continued to take workshops, learn online, and self-teach.
In 2006, she built a studio and spent many hours developing her skill. In 2019, Illeana made the decision to officially start One Rock Pottery and leave her full-time job. As she opened her business, the Covid-19 Pandemic was starting, which limited the shows, such as craft and home shows, she would have attended in-person to sell products. While this created a barrier, Illeana was able to use the time to create more products in the studio and develop a website.
Illeana notes that one challenge in creating hand crafted items is streamlining the overall process to create value for consumers. Working with clay can be a very time-consuming art as each piece requires creating the basic form, adding trimming and other small details, the first firing, decorating, and a second glaze firing.
While a professional like Illeana can reduce the time it takes, many clay pieces can take weeks to fully complete. Ensuring that the cost of a piece reflects the amount of time and energy while being able to match the customer’s perceived value is a delicate balance.
This can also be a challenge for artists like Illeana who focus on the small details. Each aspect such as the shape of a bowl, the design illustrations, how the product will be used, how comfortable the product is in an individual’s hand, how comfortable it is to pass the product to another person, as well as if the product is useable, are all things which are taken into consideration when creating the pieces.
As Illeana continues to work on her business, some of her goals include creating full product lines while adding products on a regular basis, as well as videoing the process and uploading it for others to use when learning to make pottery.
Illeana notes that when she was learning, online videos helped her succeed and by showing her process, she hopes to help customers understand the process as well as give back to those just starting the hobby.
With over 18 years of experience, Illeana turned a passion for pottery into a business that now has a successful online store, an Etsy shop, and 5 different collections. Offering products that are both useable as well as decorative, Illeana continues to step into her business and create her art.
Author: Kathryn Intini, Content Writer, St.Catharines, Canada. Kathryn is a fourth-year Business Communications student at Brock University. With an interest in big data analytics and a commitment to lifelong learning, she hopes to work in technical sales. She has been recognized for selling over $1 million in products at her summer sales job and her commitment to Autism Speaks Canada. If you have any stories or comments, kindly email: – kathrynintini.theonside@gmail.