We had the good fortune of connecting with Kim Mitchell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kim, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I didn’t set out out to create a business. It wasn’t my intention. I was simply doing what I loved, and before I knew what was happening, a business had emerged! I have collected pottery forever, it seems. Then I began taking pottery classes because I wanted to better understand the process. What I discovered was that I loved to create tangible, beautiful, useful pieces from a messy, muddy ball of clay! I love the planning, execution and fine-tuning of the details. I am thinking about pottery almost every moment of the day. I dream about pottery. I appreciate insomnia for the chance to ponder my current projects a little more. My family members were my first customers. Then I began selling at shows and markets and then taking commissions. Earlier this year I opened a webstore. (Kimmitchellpottery.com/shop), and now I’ve been selling to customers around the world! I love the idea that someone in the Netherlands is drinking their morning coffee from one of my mugs and that desert flowers in Arizona are happily bundled into one of my vases. I love the chance to participate in turning details of someone’s daily routine into something special. I am in the business of making pottery, but I’d be making pottery even without a business. I guess that’s the secret — doing what you love!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think I’m most proud of the happiness my pottery brings to others. When people send me photos of my work and how it blends into their lifestyle, my heart leaps! I primarily make functional pottery, and when someone invites my work into their home, I’m honored! While I’m always eager to try new techniques and styles people have told me they can recognize my work a mile away! I like that my style resonates with people and that I have many return customers. Collectors! It wasn’t difficult for me to reach this point. In fact, it was fairly quick and easy. I was blessed with the time, resources and ambition to pursue a dream. And I’m incredibly grateful for that. In return, I enjoy mentoring and encouraging other potters I cross paths with. I get a great deal of satisfaction helping others see potential in themselves. It’s one of my biggest motivators.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’ve only lived in Colorado for about 3 1/2 years, so I’m still in the honeymoon stage with all of this. When good friends come to visit, it will always include venturing up to higher elevations. Maybe we would hike. Maybe we would drive up Trail Ridge Road. If it’s a weekend, we would stop at the Stone Cup in Lyons for coffee and a little live music from some really great local artists. I’m a vegan so my favorite places to eat are either plant-based or vegan-friendly. I love Tangerine for breakfast (Boulder and Longmont) and Leaf for dinner in Boulder. If we’re in Denver we will definitely eat at Watercourse! There are so many great places to grab a beer in Boulder County… breweries, cute little spots on Pearl Street. Can’t name just one! One of the things I love about living in Colorado is the pace. I don’t live by a tight schedule, and so when we have guests we really take it easy. I spent much of my adult life living outside a major metropolitan city. Entertaining guests meant train schedules and taxis, tickets, reservations, etc… Pretty much anything we do with our friends here is gonna be awesome because of the views. And it won’t require much planning! Except maybe to prepare an awesome vegan picnic!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband, Jim Mitchell, does just as much to support my business and enable my success as I do. He just doesn’t get any of the credit! He does everything from running my website to mopping muddy floors and everything in between. He helped me build my beautiful studio from the ground up, and he knows more about clay/glaze combinations than any non-potter anywhere. He listens to my ideas and helps me plan. I would not be a professional potter without him. My daughter, Abby Hall, is a great artist and graphic designer. She’s also a professional athlete, the best cook I know, and her home improvement skills are amazing. Yet she makes ME feel like I’m a hero! She never grows tired of pottery conversations, and there are a lot of them! She is honest with me, she inspires me, and I could not make it without her input. My friend, Donna Miers, was my first pottery teacher and the first person to recognize that I had a future as a potter. Her encouragement has meant the world to me. She saw something in me from the beginning that I hadn’t yet recognized myself. I have watched her balance her art with family life and many other commitments and still maintain joy in all of it. She’s been a great mentor to me as a potter and for many other reasons.