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How Forest Inn Pottery Started

Hello! My name is Justine. I live in Forest Inn, Pennsylvania with my awesome husband, Steve, our dog Zues, and a little flock of chickens. I've been doing bonsai since about 2014 and started making bonsai pots in 2016. This is how I got into each of them.

I've always loved clay. I used to scoop clay out of the sides of the creek and make things out of it and let them bake in the sun. Then I got some polymer clay and when I was around 10 I started making claymation videos with little characters I made up. I had wanted to go to an art school for ceramics after high school, but after seeing the cost, I didn't think I could ever make that money up by being a potter. Especially when there are so many mass produced items that sell for so cheap! In the end I don't think I made the wrong decision. I know a lot of people who struggled to pay for college and then finished college in the middle of a recession and struggled to find work. 

I then started working in the automotive industry not long after high school. I worked in parts stores for about 13 years, and usually ended up managing stores. I was getting stressed out and getting some pretty bad anxiety attacks that were keeping me up at night. I've realized now that there are a lot more people who have dealt with that than I ever would have expected. It sucks. I was looking for something to calm me down and decided to look up bonsai trees. I started reading about trimming and watching videos, and it actually did calm me down. I eventually got some of my own trees ( I killed more than I would've liked). Bonsai was like it's own little world away from what was going on and it helped me tremendously. 

I eventually started looking for bonsai pots and having a hard time finding them. I was at a picnic for the bonsai society I'm in and I mentioned to a friend that I had always wanted to make pottery, but I didn't have a kiln or any way to do it. He said to just get some clay and try making something anyway to see how I feel about it. I did what he said and immediately knew that I had to figure out how to get a kiln and start making more pots. 

For the next four years, I spent my time after work figuring out how to make pottery. Then in July of 2020, I quit my day job and decided to make pottery full time. I couldn't be happier to be combining two things that I love and doing them every day. I am still very much adjusting to doing something so different from what I had done for so many years, and it feels strange to suddenly go from being a master at one thing for so long, to being new and unsure in a completely different atmosphere. I have a lot of growing to do, and I'm excited for it!