2005 Letter from Hope Lodge, Cleveland, OH
Click to Letter to Enlarge
Because we value you, our customer, it is important that you understand who we are at Handsnclay and why Handsnclay is so important to us. Handsnclay has a very interesting story. I hope you find the time to read this letter as it fully explains our dedication to The American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge in Cleveland, OH.
My name is Rich Vicars. My wife Melodee is really the inspiration for Handsnclay. I am simply her technical consultant and web site designer. Melodee, on the other hand, is the vision, creative force, artist, teacher, friend, and master potter that breathes life into her craft, and into Handsnclay. As Melodee would never be so proud to talk about herself, I thought I would take creative license as her web site designer to tell you a little about her and her passion, Handsnclay Pottery.
The equipment that Handsnclay sells is endorsed by Melodee and is also used by the students that take instruction from her. So rest assured, these products are reliable and perfect for your needs. I am actually an engineer and help to select equipment that meets my tough engineering standards. So if you are interested in how your pottery wheel operates and what really differentiates it from other makes, just email us at Handsnclay and I will be happy to answer any questions you might have. You may notice that we only carry certain brands of equipment. This is because in our experience, and from an engineering standpoint, the lines we carry are superior to those that we don't carry. If you are having trouble seeing the difference in quality and performance among wheel or kiln manufacturers, please ask us for assistance. Once you "look under the hood", the differences between a quality wheel and a those that are targeting the lowest price are very obvious.
At Handsnclay, we do our best to keep our operating costs as low as possible, ensuring you the most competitive prices. We are a simple, customer focused company who will always be available to speak with you when you need us. Once you get to know Melodee, you will understand why Handsnclay is so much more than any other on-line pottery store that you have experienced. And when you get to know her, feel free to ask her about Robin, her bone marrow donor and the man who literally saved her life.
Rich and Melodee Vicars
Why the cat at the top of the page you ask? It's really very simple. The cat has been with us from the start and is pretty much a caricature of Vanessa, Melodee's cat, who from a kitten used to love to watch Melodee throw, tool, and glaze. Vanessa would perch herself on a small chair we had in the kitchen of our first home, throwing her paws over the back of it to watch what Melodee was doing at all times. She didn't want to miss a thing.
Vanessa is no longer with us but William, shown here, has been a very lovable replacement. William is our 100+ lb, overly hyper, but very sweet German Shepherd. He is smart as a whip (typical of the breed) and is soon to be 6 years old. Just like Vanessa, William sticks to Melodee like glue. In fact, she needs to gate him out of her studio whenever she works because he never wants to be left out of the action. When she works, he sleeps at the foot of the gate, about 3 feet from her closest potter's wheel.
But our fascination with, and love of, our pets is only part of the story about Handsnclay. Because Handsnclay was, and still is, a very active pottery studio. In the early days of our venture, Melodee actually created several hundred unique pet bowls and treat jars for both dogs and cats. She also supplied a local breeder who always ordered two bowls for each puppy that was born. One bowl was for the puppy to eat from, and the other was for the owner, to place on a shelf to commemorate his or her new pet in perpetuity.
Today, Melodee still throws custom pieces for pets and their people. She is presently giving private instruction to a woman who raises champion dogs. As the breed has very long ears that tend to hang in traditional bowls, she is working with Melodee to learn to throw bowls with narrow openings. In this way, the long ears will fall to the outside of the bowl.
Melodee also throws baby dishesdishes, vases, pitchers, mugs, and even dinnerware for persons with physical disabilities.
Herpottery creations are painstakingly made one piece at a time. The pottery is thrown on a potter's wheel (a Brent Model C), tooled, glazed, and fired to a beautiful sheen in a Skutt or Excel Kiln. We also offer pottery classes in our local area, right from our home studio. Both children and adults enjoy learning how to create unique pieces on the wheel.
Over the years, we expanded our offerings beyond that of instruction. At the request and persuasion of our customers and students, we began selling pottery and ceramics equipment. Consequently, we have become an Authorized Dealer in high standing for Brent Potter's Wheels, the undisputed leader in quality, reliability, performance, and heritage. As you closely inspect the high end features of a Brent Potter's Wheel, you will understand why others try to copy them but never quite succeed. And you will see how Brent Potter's Wheels are built to last a lifetime. We are especially proud of the Brent Wheels as they are manufactured in America, right around the corner from Handsnclay in good ole Indiana!
At Handsnclay, we offer competitive prices because we keep our expenses down. But we are more proud of our ability to fully understand your equipment needs such that we can recommend the perfect products for you. So feel free to ask us any question about the art of pottery. Melodee will be glad to give you her personal expertise, potter to potter!
We are pretty particular about our offerings and will not expand into product lines that we feel do not live up to the quality standards we promote and our students have come to enjoy. The wheels we sell are the same potter's wheels used by Handsnclay. So you can feel confident you are buying the best product for your application possible, and at the pest price! And if you are close to us, we will even let you pick-up your pottery wheel or kiln to save shipping costs (depending on the size of the order).
We sincerely hope you enjoy browsing our site. There is so much to see and learn. However, if you do not find the exact potter's wheel, kiln, equipment, or supplies you are looking for, simply send us an email to tell us what you need. We will be glad to quote your custom order and help you to select the best products for you.
Thank you for stopping by!
We have three potter's wheels in our studio; 2 Brent Model C's
We also have a Skutt 818 (similar to Excel EX-226) in our garage, connected to a dedicated circuit.
Rich built me a custom wedging board from lumber and hardware he purchased at the local hardware store and lined the entire wall of the room with cabinets for storage of clay, glaze and tools. He also installed several overhead light fixtures to eliminate shadows when throwing.
I get my slop buckets and bins from local discount stores and of course all of my clay and glaze comes from American Art Clay Company. Rich also installed an air vent to the outside of the building to facilitate fresh air exchanges.
Pottery is as challenging to the physical self as it is to the mind. We believe that activities that stimulate the mind are necessary to a happy and healthy lifestyle. So if you are interested in "bending your mind" even further, visit our good friends at BrainPuzzles.com for a variety of interesting Tavern Puzzles and Metal Puzzles. They are sure to give you hours of brain twisting enjoyment. And tell them that Handsnclay sent you for a special discount!
Handsnclay is proud to be an Indiana company.