Kim Wheaton of Kim Wheaton Ceramics on Etsy started out with a couple of classes in clay throwing 8 years ago as a junior in college and fell in love with the dirtiness of it… “that from, quite literally, a clump of mud I could create an object that was not only appealing to look at, but that was also functional and very accessible to people.” She credits an amazing and inspiring teacher for leading her down the path to her career in ceramics.
Kim creates all her pieces on a kick wheel, as opposed to an electric one. “I like that my whole body is involved, and I actually get a pretty good work-out between wedging the clay, kicking the wheel and using my arm strength to get the clay centered!” Her studio is in an extra room in her house and she does all her firing and glazing in her basement where her kiln is located. Kim finds her work with ceramics to be both therapeutic and rewarding and she genuinely enjoys the process. “There is nothing like the feeling of wet clay being molded in your hands.”
While she’s always open to new things, Kim focuses on functional, reasonably-priced pottery that people can use every day. She makes several styles of mugs and bowls, along with pitchers and tumblers, business card holders, flower pots and coasters.
One favorite piece that Kim loves to make aren’t actually thrown on her kick-wheel – her stepping stones. She can customize these for those who live local to her DeKalb, Illinois home, who bring their children there to make foot impressions in the clay. Then she stamps the child’s name and the date into the clay as well – and presto! – a perfect keepsake! She also customizes her dog dishes by stamping your favorite pet’s name right on the bowl. She loves doing custom work for people but adds, “Because the process of creating a piece, letting it dry, firing, glazing, and firing again can be quite lengthy, it usually takes a month or two for a custom piece to be complete.”
Although she wasn’t expecting it, (since there are so many to chose from on Etsy) Kim says her mugs are her most popular items. “I keep making them and people keep buying them!”
Kim tries to keep things seasonably relevant and interesting in her shop. That means that lately she’s been working on pieces suitable for summer – pitchers, tumblers, juicers, bird houses and stepping stones. Come the fall, she’ll be making more mugs and soup bowls, or who knows what? Just drop by Kim Wheaton Ceramics anytime and see what’s new!