In 1992 I moved to Blacksburg, VA with my husband (Wil) to start a graduate program at Virginia Tech in Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences. Within my first few days on campus I discovered the YMCA community pottery studio in the student center and fall classes were just starting, I ran to the office to register! At the time I was particularly inspired by a friend who worked as a potter and had an amazing mug collection. Whenever we stayed at her house I looked forward to the morning ritual of selecting just the right mug. I wanted to make my own amazing mug collection, and share it with others! I was hooked from the first class. Fast forward a few years and I had the opportunity to set up a small studio with a friend in an old barn along the banks of Sinking Creek. It was an idyllic setting for starting the business, but eventually I moved my operations for the convenience of having a home studio since pottery time was limited around raising babies and work. The babies have since flown the nest, but I continue to work part-time as a soil scientist, which has provided me with an excellent background for understanding the science of clays and glazes, and especially useful since I hand mix all my glazes. My work in mining reclamation has kept me conscientious of following practices that minimize waste of raw materials. With that awareness I maintain a high standard of quality and take my time to meticulously complete every step of the process. I make a variety of products, and particularly enjoy creating unique one of a kind pieces, with emphasis on surface design through carving, sgraffito, and a variety of glazing techniques. I particularly enjoy developing designs based on nature and arabesque patterns.
~Zenah Orndorff