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The Potter's Tool Box: AMACO-Brent



(Image courtesy of Amaco Brent.)



In the eighth grade, I learned about pottery's historical/ geopolitical importance at the bottom of an archeological shaft in rolling Judean hills.

The archeologist told a group of "very" interested thirteen/fourteen-year-olds how clay connects us to the past. At the end of the tour, we were allowed to take a piece of unrestorable broken pottery. So, I brought home a tiny piece of red clay. Sometimes before I go to pottery, I look at this shard and think that pottery transcends time.



(Image courtesy of Earl Wilcox.)



When I was twenty-three, I began my ceramics journey. I quickly learned how the three stages of ceramics (throwing/building, trimming, and glazing) each offer a unique challenge to the potter. Out of all the stages, I find glazing (when you add a paint-like substance to the work to give it a specific color) the biggest gamble. When you glaze, you need to know how the color you add will interact in the kiln or if you added enough layers. The greatest gift to anyone glazing is consistency. AMACO-Brent creates high-quality glazes, pottery equipment, clays, and more for people at any stage of their pottery journey. I spoke with Arielle Day, Marketing Manager at AMACO-Brent, to learn more about the company.


(Image couretsy of https://artsupplydepo.com/ceramics)




1. What makes AMACO-Brent different from other companies?

As a family-owned company, Amaco-Brent creates an environment that empowers employees, customers, and artisans. Our culture encourages employees to pitch ideas about all facets of the business (new glaze colors or increased revenue). We foster creativity, respect, and advocacy in every action. My time at Amaco-Brent is just one example of how the company embodies meritocracy. I have been a part of the Amaco-Brent family for seven years. I began my journey as a part-time employee and worked my way up to become a department head.



(Image courtesy of Amaco Brent. The image depicts AMACO Team Members at their NCECA 2023 Booth in Cincinnati, OH.)



2, How does AMACO-Brent honor its past and embrace innovation?

In 1919, pharmacist Ted O. Philpott founded the company. Initially, AMACO produced ceramic plaques from photographs using oil-based modeling clay. The permoplast s what Gumby is created from. While creatingPermoplast, we created objects, specialty glazes, and more for high-end department stores. The company has always valued education since the company's inception. In 1921, AMACO initiated the educational ceramic market with the release of its handbook that aimed at educating the consumer on the best use of its product.



(Image courtesy of AMACO. The image depicts founder AMACO Founder, TO Philpott.)


The Crayon, Watercolor, and Craft Institute CWCI was established in 1936 and was changed to Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) in the 1970s. The idea behind the foundation of this organization by AMACO was to instill safety leadership in the ceramics industry. The foundation of this institute was supported by AMACO, and it also collaborated with the institute to initiate the first-ever glaze labeling safety practices.


We adhere to our tradition of innovation by enacting our values into every decision we make. We encourage employees across the different departments to learn more about the technical & creative side of ceramics. Our Director of Special Projects is departing on a Sabbatical to join The Archie Bray Pottery fellowship in Montana this summer.




3. How does AMACO-Brent incorporate its mission and vision into its products?

We incorporate our mission by synthesizing individual backgrounds to create high-quality products. Our customers know that they will have rewarding and consistent results when they use our products. Our vision is to continue to develop products to help people create art.



(Image courtesy of AMACO-Brent.)


4. What is the future of the company?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a spike in ceramics interest. We want to continue to develop to become the most innovative and accessible ceramics manufacturing company in the nation.




(Image courtesy of AMACO-Brent.)





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Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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