>Brookings Oregon News, Sports, & Weather | The Curry Coastal Pilot

News Classifieds Web
web powered by Web Search Powered by Google

News arrow News arrow Business arrow COUPLE MOLDS ITS NICHE TO CLAY

Print

COUPLE MOLDS ITS NICHE TO CLAY

TJ and Ashley Brenner operate The Artist Studio on Mill Beach Road. (The Pilot/Marjorie Woodfin).
TJ and Ashley Brenner operate The Artist Studio on Mill Beach Road. (The Pilot/Marjorie Woodfin).

By Marjorie Woodfin

Pilot staff writer

There's a new business in town that has something interesting for all ages: The Artist Studio.

According to owner, TJ Brenner, the emphasis is on the. But the operative word for the pottery painting business might be serendipity. Like Topsy, it just sort of grew.

TJ and his wife Ashley came to Brookings in June to start a boat building and repair business at the Port of Brookings Harbor.

As often happens in life, making arrangements for suitable space at the harbor is taking much longer than anticipated.

TJ started his career teaching agriculture to American Indians in Arizona, moved on to a career as a clinical psychologist, then marketing and next raising buffalo in Montana plus running a restaurant and casino. He obviously finds it easy to recognize and run with opportunities that float by.

In addition to building boats, the Brenners came up with the idea of producing yacht dinnerware to present to each new yacht owner.

It seemed only natural to get on with the dinnerware business while waiting for space for boat building, so they advertised for a potter. "I interviewed Rich Martin. He has 30 years of experience," TJ said. "I knew he was the man for me because he was wearing a blue shirt, and I wear a blue shirt."

He laughed and continued, "We wanted a business in Brookings that was not completely dependent on tourists, to benefit the community. We were looking for things for kids to do, something inexpensive for kids to do." That led to pottery painting classes for children and adults. "Something for retired people to do, something inexpensive and fun, creating memories," he added. He then explained that Ashley had been to a pottery painting class and enjoyed it.

"You don't have to be an artist," Ashley said. "We have stencils and patterns and very, very talented people to help you."

Again, serendipity, as one thing led to another. Looking for clay and glazes, the Brenners spoke with the distributors for Laguna Clay Co. They liked the products and when they were told that the current distributor was planning to retire, they contacted the corporation and asked if they could assume the role of distributor. They were told, "We have a distributor." TJ said, "No, you don't."

Soon the company discovered they didn't and the Brenners took over, with a territory that includes Southern Oregon and Northern California, distributing clay, glazes, kilns, tools, and books. "We will be adding other lines to supply stores," TJ said.

The shop, at 425 Mill Beach Road, is currently producing dinnerware, decorative accessories, and continuing to expand.

"When you give birth to a company, it's like giving birth to a baby. It just started growing," TJ said.

Everything is made on premises of non-toxic materials. Dry clay is run through a machine to sift and prepare it for use. Dinnerware and other pieces are made by hand, often using a wheel. Decorative pieces are created in molds made on premises.

Employees and owners work together in an atmosphere of mutual admiration and cooperation, with much laughter and camaraderie.

The Brenners, TJ, Ashley, 13-year-old Peter, 8-year-old Tristan, Mary, who is 5, and Thomason, almost 1, have issued an invitation to the public, "We're open! Come in and play. Paint your own pottery."

The invitation includes urging drop-ins to see the operation in action, and to hurry up and sign up for art classes. The Artist Studio is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For information, call (541) 469-3500, and ask for Kiera.

"We have a good working relationship," TJ said. "I do the marketing. Ashley is more creative, and she also keeps the books. We still plan to do the boat business as soon as we can lease property at the port."

In the meantime, the Brenners are having fun making, painting, and glazing pottery and providing enjoyment for the adults and children attending the pottery painting classes, as they look forward to the next opportunity that floats by.

Print

Business News by Yahoo Finance

  • Asian shares drop, dollar at highest since 2002 vs yen
    An index of Asian shares fell on Thursday as the Chinese, Hong Kong and Australian markets slipped, while the dollar scaled its highest level against the yen since 2002 on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise rates this year.
  • China May official factory PMI seen lackluster despite stimulus moves
    China's factories struggled to expand in May despite recent interest rate cuts and other policy stimulus, a Reuters poll showed, suggesting the government may have to do more to halt a protracted slowdown in the economy. PMI, is forecast to inch up to 50.2 from April's 50.1, according to the median forecast of 14 economists in the poll. "Although the government has unveiled a series of policy stimulus measures, the effect has yet to show up," said Nie Wen, an economist at Hwabao Trust in Shanghai.
  • IMF's Lagarde says still much work to do in Greek debt talks
    The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a German television interview on Thursday that there was still a lot of work to do before Greece and its international lenders could clinch a cash-for-reforms deal. "We are all in the process of working towards a solution for Greece and I would not say that we already have reached substantial results," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told ARD television in comments which were translated from English to German.

Follow Curry Coastal Pilot headlines on Follow Curry Coastal Pilot headlines on Twitter

© Copyright 2001 - 2015 Western Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. By Using this site you agree to our Terms of Use