Handmade Pottery in Local Coffee Shops

by Joel Cherrico


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Hi my name is Joel Cherrico, I’m 24 years old and I’m a potter. At the Local Blend coffee shop in St. Joseph, Minnesota, customers eat and drink from my pottery everyday. Community members are drawn there for the gourmet coffee, soup and sandwiches, and they are then surprised by artwork. Their entire meal is served from my pottery, and the pots are also available for sale. I bring my pottery to the Local Blend for free and they also take 25% of sales, while paying for any breakage. This innovative business model has helped support my life as a full time artist for about 2 years. It's also a great chance for people to eat and drink from my artwork everyday. 

I make all of my pottery at the Paramount Arts Center, in St. Cloud Minnesota. Through an Artist Residency, the Paramount lets me rent studio space and use of their gas kiln to support my career as a full time potter. 

I was recently awarded a $3,000 grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board (CMAB) to make a new body of work: about 1,000 new pots this spring. 500 of these pots will go to the Local Blend, and the other 500 will go to a new coffee shop opening in Minneapolis, called Up Café. This project will get hundreds of people eating and drinking from my pottery everyday.

The CMAB grant will pay for most of my clay, glaze and firings needed to make 1,000 pots. Your contribution through USA Projects would help pay for my artist honorariums and additional material costs while I make pottery as a full time artist.

If we meet the minimum grant goal, I'll be able to work as a full time artist for about 2 months thanks to the funding. I'll still work 80 hours per week, but I'm confident I can make at least 1,000 new pots by May 2013. If the minimum goal is surpassed, you will help me pay for an additional 2-3 months of artist honorariums and more material costs. This will let me spend more time on the pottery wheel making new work, instead of constantly trying to sell my older pottery to move forward.