A brief history of bruning pottery
By Larry Bruning
In the spring of 1983 Judy and I approached Jim Lunz at Seattle Pottery and asked if he knew of any studio space available. He said "as a matter of fact"... and took us out-back to a Quonset hut building he was only partially using (it is no longer there), and rented it to us. The down side was constant heavy truck and train traffic on Horton street... and dust from a working installation such as SPS. Those down side items were off-set by the fact we could get supplies at a moments notice, and delivered on a fork lift to our back door!
Judy sold wholesale pots to florists and nurseries, around the area, from the trunk of our car, and we set up retail pottery booths at street fairs nearly every weekend... in addition to having a spot at Pike Place market at least 3 days a week. We promoted by getting lots of pots out there and at a price they would sell at.
After a few years we put a truck on the road with a sales person to take orders and offered free delivery to entice the retailer to purchase from us. Judy became the office person and administrator, while I was running the production end of the business and developing new glazes and looks.
A number of years went by (about 10) with increasing sales and employees and we were out-growing our welcome in the building behind Seattle Pottery Supply and moved our business to 6th Ave S. That location was larger (and much more expensive) and we had to grow again just to keep up with it. We had numerous employees and 2 trucks on the road full time traveling as far away as Montana and Idaho to service accounts.
Seattle, being a major import sea-terminal for all eastern countries, soon became host to huge influxes of pottery of all kinds from many overseas countries, and Seattle was flooded with very good and cheaply priced pots. Those pots were impossible to compete with (price wise) and we started looking for niches that were not being filled, by those overseas imports. Hand made and slab-made sinks come to mind as a market we have been successful in for some years now, as well as starting a pottery school and teaching our skills to others.
After about 12 years in the 6th Ave location that building owner decided to sell due to his advancing age and we were faced with having to move a pottery factory! Just finding a location we could now afford, was a major challenge, and then the prep work, and finally the physical move, altogether took nearly a year. It was a challenging time to be sure.
So it was in 2006 we moved to Snohomish Historic District on Avenue "D"... Which is a heavily traveled street. We designed a studio that flows nicely from materials in the front door, through throwing, bisque firing, glazing, and high firing, shipping area... all in a nice smooth line... and a retail show room. The layout of the rest of the building fell in place nicely also... including an apartment upstairs! We are home, and this time a landlord can't sell it out from under us. Judy and I have lived here since March 2006 and are still in the midst of remodeling (that could go on for years we realized) and are glad to be here. The people of Snohomish have welcomed us warmly.