East Fork GiveawayDec 21, 2018
We drink our coffee in diner mugs in the cafe, canteens on the trail, and hell maybe even out of a 20 oz to-go cup if we’re on a cross country road trip at a semi-terrifying truck stop in the middle of nowhere if we’re really in a pinch. HOWEVER, if we’re home, we’re drinking out of a vessel full of intentions before the coffee is even poured in.
One of our favorite drinking vessels lately have been those crafted by East Fork, a ceramics studio, and let’s be real, compound, in the hills of Asheville, North Carolina. Originally a passion project started by founders Alex Matisse (great grandson of Henri Matisse and step grandson to Marcel Duchamp), buddy John Vigeland, and then goat cheese peddler Connie Coady in 2013, it quickly turned into a growing community of passionate creators.
Connie Coady soon became Connie Matisse when she and Alex got hitched. Now the Chief Creative Officer of East Fork, she leads the team’s vision and also makes some pretty hilarious Instagram posts too.
We had the great joy of chatting with Connie prior to the opening of their second retail space in Atlanta. Spoiler alert, she’s amazing, and threatened to make us an ASMR video of someone throwing pottery.
Stumptown: Tell us about this spectacular vessel! It feels so good in the hand, it’s almost like one of those therapy squeeze balls.
Connie: This mug is THE mug. When our company first started, we were running it like a mom and pop shop at the end of a dirt road and were fabricating all different types of mugs- round ones, super tall skinny guys, chunkers; and for about 5 years only two people were responsible for throwing them all on the wheel. Over time we observed how our vessels were used and loved, and this shape is what people were constantly reaching for. We call it a four-finger mug -- one that you can fit your whole hand in. Super satisfying.
The clay that we use is 100% wild North Carolina clay. It’s minimally refined, and mineral rich with a high iron content. When fired the iron will rise to the surface and displays this great speckled look.
We use a gas kiln glaze, and one of the original first 5 colors we worked with. This one, Egg-Shell, never got retired out of all of them. It just never gets old - in bright light it looks white, but if you put it around blues objects, this secret robins egg blue comes out. We like that it looks different in every environment and matches with everything.
Stumptown: Where did the name East Fork come from?
Connie: It’s traditional when working in pottery to name your work after yourself. When Alex and I first started the company we had a feeling that it would be something more than that. We always knew we wouldn’t just be 3 people at the end of a dirt road- which is why we gave ourselves a greater name. We wanted it to be something about our collective vision, bringing people together. Even as we grow, we’re all very united in the things that we do.
Stumptown: You guys have a pretty clear ethos around rituals and putting intention in to everything - do you guys have any meal traditions?
Connie: Our team comes together every single day for lunch at a table that seats 36. We don’t just come together, eat and scram - we talk, hang out. There’s always babies everywhere. Someone’s mom is visiting. We also always share hu-kwa tea. Everyone at the pottery wheel drinks this same tea- it’s a lapsang souchang that’s smoked over pine. Super campfirey and delicious.
Connie, thanks so much for chatting. We can’t wait to fill our East Fork mugs again and again.
To celebrate Stumptown and East Fork’s bond, we’re giving away a year’s subscription of Hair Bender, two East Fork Mugs, and the most beautiful brass coffee spoons and serving towels for your home coffee set-up.
Giveaway runs December 21st- December 26th 2018.