Designing fanciful handmade pottery pieces using clay, color, and an abundance of creativity, a Birmingham artisan makes her mark on the tradition of ceramics.
Though Susan Gordon’s dreams were always immersed in the world of art and design, she never knew how a little bit of clay would shape their course. At Auburn University Susan had aspirations of becoming a graphic designer, but when she took a required ceramics class, she discovered her true passion in creating with clay. “I absolutely fell in love,” she says.
A few years later, she bought a kiln and set up a studio in her basement. In 2013 she secured her first wholesale account, and Susan Gordon Pottery was born. “Three years and 79 retailers later, I really do feel like I’m living my dream,” the artist says. Now available in boutiques around the South and beyond, Susan’s offerings range from dinnerware and serving ware to decorative accents and jewelry.
She seeks to create collections that have distinctive, detailed looks, and her products encapsulate a contemporary timelessness. A curated palette of signature shades marks her work. “We choose our colors very carefully and strive to offer a selection that can be used in a lot of décor styles,” she says. Each piece is also edged in a 22-karat gold luster for added allure.
Another element at work in Susan’s wares is an intended multifunctionality. Her heart-shaped dishes, a bestseller this time of year, make wonderful gifts for an array of holidays and events—from Valentine’s Day to engagements to weddings. Unique wavy bowls in assorted sizes can be employed as jewelry displays or strictly as decoration, but they are also perfect for entertaining and can be used for serving in style.
“When it comes to the functional pottery we make, I definitely think of slowing down and savoring the beauty of a delicious meal,” she explains. “Southerners are big into entertaining. We love to collect serveware and use our favorite pieces to serve our friends and family.”
Like the variety found in her ceramics, every day for Susan is different, but her best ones are those when she is “elbow deep in mud,” designing new pieces or collections. She is committed to creating one-of-a-kind wares that will stand the test of time and bring pizzazz to daily routines.
“Our work is elegant, modern, and timeless, but not overly fussy,” she says. “It can be used for chips and dips at a tailgate or on a beautifully set table for the holidays and every day in between. We want our customers to feel like they have made an investment in a work of art that lasts and appeals to tastes that cross generations.”
For information, visit susangordonpottery.com.
By Elizabeth Bonner
Photography by Mac Jamieson and Charity Ponter Photography