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Cincinnati, OH, 45227

Ohio Explored's mission is simply to awaken people to the beauty of Ohio.

Hewn Pottery

Ohio Made

Hewn Pottery

Kate Bresnan Messa

Hewn pottery creates human-made pottery for curious collectors, where imperfections are celebrated and each piece is unique and purposeful. We interviewed owner Jordan Haughn to learn more about her local business in Westerville, OH.

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Tell us about your business.

Hewn pottery is small-batch ceramic studio with a focus on crafting humble silhouettes with rich color, made to be modern and cheerful. Hewn’s work is rooted in the belief that creating something by hand allows for appreciation for the unique, rather than perfection. Each piece is imperfect and celebrates hand-made.

I first started working with clay in a local studio as a way to thoughtfully disconnect from my everyday stresses. In 2018 I officially opened Hewn Pottery in my home studio in the heart of Westerville Ohio. I spend countless hours in the studio exploring new techniques and allowing myself to make mistakes.

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What drew you to your craft?

I love solving a good puzzle and ceramics is the perfect storm of creative problem solving and classic aesthetic. For a creator that means crafting a balance between form and function, and ceramics allows me to do that - it has a way of challenging my strategic ambitions while fueling my creative outlets.

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What is your favorite thing you have ever made?

I would have to say that my most favorite piece to date is anything from my figurine collection. What I love about them is how they have a way of pulling people in and being something you want to pick up and explore further. I create them by using a clay extruder and forming them into abstract shapes, that are geometric and organic. They started as a fun way to test the new colors in my studio, so they are much more chromatic than my other work, and have a cheerful nature. So much of what I create is based on function, and it’s really fun to create something that’s sole purpose is to be enjoyed.

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What did you want to be when you grew up?

Anything fine arts. Seriously, it would change day-to-day when I was younger, for a while I was really into fashion, then I would focus on sketching and painting, or creating figurines out of wood - anything to keep my creative mind busy. I was always dreaming up my next big thing, creating prototypes and just exploring. I think I always new I wanted to start my own business, but I never really knew what, just that it had to be in the creative field.

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What is your creative process?

Since I prefer a simple silhouette as my base my design aesthetic is driven by color.  When I see a color I like it becomes the cornerstone of my my whole collection and l build off that to create the rest of palette. After that I start sketching the silhouettes that will work well with those colors.

Since I only fire my pieces three times a year, the firing process takes about a month. During that month I will only work on concepting my next collection and will leave plenty of time to experiment with new techniques and colors.

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What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Ten years ago I was just graduating high school and focusing on my career path. I had to find a balance between dreaming big and being practical, and I did - I eventually got a degree in graphic design, which allowed me have a creative outlet while nourishing my career ambitions.

I was happy in my career, but over time I let my artistic side slip. When I looked around at my graphic design peers and they were so into to design that I felt I had to be too - that if I wanted to be part of that world I would have to be all in. Eventually that wasn’t enough, I found myself getting frustrated at work and missing creating something with my hands, so I started setting aside time for the other things I love like painting, sketching and making. Now I work as a graphic design and a potter, and I could not be happier.

So if there was anything I could tell my younger self, I would tell her that she doesn’t need to to choose who she wants to be, she just has to be who she is. You can love and enjoy more than one thing. You can and be a part of more than one world, chase the things that make you happy, because your work will be better because of it.

Why is it important to support local artists & makers?

There are two stories tied to anything an artist/maker creates, the first being the markers story and their journey, and the second being your story with that object. When you buy from a local maker you are essentially buying part of you community’s greater story. That story is preserved in that object and connects you deeper into your community because you are now part of the makers’ story and the maker is part of yours.

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Why do you love doing what you do?

Creating something with your hands helps you stay in the moment and connects you to the here and now. Pottery is more tangible outlet to create pieces others will enjoy.

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?

Having talent or a great idea is a good start but knowing how you will use that talent is so important. Give yourself time to succeed. Take the time to define your business goals and what your product or service will be.

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What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?

I love that you are never too far away from nature. I was raised in a small town where you were always close to open fields and quite retreats, and now living in a metro area there are still peaceful moments not too far away in the form of a metro park or hiking path. Ohio is a special place where it seems like the pace of life doesn’t overpower the importance of family and human connection.

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