American Made Cookware . . . from Kitchen to Table
In case you missed our update, here are our Stretch Goals . . .
The kiln can now be built, but here are some more things that will help make this project really functional! (See updates #8 and #9 for full details!)
$35,000 :: We can add Ward Power Burners :: The two burners will be mounted on either side of the chimney onto stands fabricated & welded by Pat Manning our fantastically-talented welder guy. The forced-air burners produce high BTU's with a long flame length that helps produce efficient firings. Each burner comes with an Electric Solenoid and safety system that provides instant shutoff in the event of a power failure.
$38,000 :: A Winch System to move the loaded car in and out of the kiln's firing chamber
$50,000 :: 30 ADVANCER® kiln shelves that are exactly the right size, and are thin, lightweight, and stay truly flat -- absolutely necessary in firing our broad-bottomed pots such as the Rectangular Bakers and Large Platters. ADVANCER® kiln shelves are 19 times stronger, and weigh 50% less than conventional kiln shelves which is a great advantage in loading and unloading the kiln. Having the right kiln furniture gives a huge advantage for great success in each firing!
THANK YOU !!!!!
a starting place . . .
When we gather at the table, we share more than food. We share our lives, our joys, our stories, our day's accomplishments. When we sit down together at table, we form a community where all things seem possible.
Cook on Clay has designed ceramic cookware with a specialized clay body. Our unique glazing and firing process infuses each pot with quality, durability and beauty.
Cook on Clay makes beautiful and rugged cookware designed for fresh local ingredients and favorite family recipes. Our ceramic cookware can be used on the stovetop, under the broiler, on the grill, and in a very hot oven directly from the refrigerator or freezer --- all without fear of cracking or breaking.
When you expose clay to the fire and intense heat of a kiln, something magical happens. It is no longer just earth and water. It is now a vessel ready to fill with a delicious recipe and bring to the table. We firmly believe that the quality of the pot is as essential as the skill of the cook and the excellence of the food. That is what led us to create the cookware we call Cook on Clay.
who we are . . .
We, Robbie Lobell and Maryon Attwood, are part of the American Studio Craft movement, with more than 50 years of experience between us. Ten years ago, Robbie’s mentor, Karen Karnes gave us the formula for a high-fire flameproof clay body that she helped to develop in the early 1960s. The exciting potential and possibilities of this material led Robbie to design cookware that would not only be highly functional, but beautiful as well.
This is non-toxic cookware that can last for generations. We believe that the joy we experience in creating our pots continues to reside within them. We are convinced that using well made, beautiful cookware feeds the soul as well as the appetite.
Resisting the siren song of cheap foreign manufacturing, we are committed to a sustainable local economy and so we make these pots right here in America. As part of a small, rural community, we are all in this together. We support and collaborate with local chefs, small farms and food producers.
We formed our woman-owned company, Cook on Clay, LLC two years ago and operate on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound area of the Pacific Northwest. Our product line of ten sizes and shapes has been well received both locally and across the country, with requests coming from as far away as New York, Florida, Alaska, and Canada.
our project . . .
You can't go to a store to purchase a kiln like ours. You have to build it from the ground up!
That's why we have assembled an experienced team who will spend two marathon weeks building our kiln -- brick by brick. Only the best materials will be used, all made in America by American companies.
Since our pots are flying off the shelves, we must build a larger kiln! This will allow us to satisfy the growing demand for our cookware. Ramping up production with a larger kiln means fewer kiln firings, using less fuel which helps us meet our goal as a “green” company. Our unique soda-vapor firing for the flameware clay requires an exceptionally durable, well-built kiln.
We have the kiln design, a budget, and our materials list. With our expert kiln builder, our production team is ready to go. All we need now is you!
how Kickstarter works . . .
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform. In non-tech speak, that means that a person creates a project, determines a monetary goal, sets a time limit to raise funds, submits the idea to the Kickstarter powers that be, and once approved, their project appears on the Kickstarter site. People then choose to pledge a dollar amount to the project and for their pledge of support, the project creator promises to send them a little something. Because our cookware is already in production, we are ready to produce more pots and send our rewards as soon as our funding drive is successful.
But what happens when a Kickstarter project is unsuccessful? In that case, none of the potential backers credit cards are charged and the project is not funded.
We hope you will choose to support our project. We’d love for you to join us at the Cook on Clay table!
We have great Rewards including Cooking Pots, Adventures, Pot Holders, Trivets, and Cook on Clay Aprons!
a few frequently asked questions . . .
Q: I’ve never heard of “Soda-Vapor firing” Tell me more about it.
A: Cook on Clay is unique in many ways. We're fairly sure we are the ONLY high-fire, soda-vapor flameproof cookware in the WORLD. For thousands of years and in cultures around the world, clay has been used for cooking vessels. These were made of earthenware clays. With the advent of mid-20th century technological and materials advances including space technologies, highly vitrified clay bodies were developed. Soda-Vapor kilns were designed in educational settings during the 1980’s. These kilns were designed to introduce soda ash solutions during the apex of a firing cycle. The soda ash volatlizes in the kiln’s atmosphere, rides the wave of the flames, and becomes part of the pot’s surface beauty. This is not uncommon, yet as far as we know, has never been used with a flameproof clay body because of the nature of the materials in this special clay. We accomplish this in every firing.
Q: Who are the people that make up your team?
A: Cook on Clay’s team exemplifies the quality of relationship between potter & pot . . . between potter & user . . . and between teacher & student. Our team understands these values and the importance of the connection between handmade objects and people. This gives our team, production of our flameproof cooking pots, our unique soda-firings, and our elegantly finished products a singular edge in the field of artisan-made pottery.
Potter, Designer & Project Manager, Robbie Lobell ::: Robbie is the principal designer & maker at Cook on Clay, LLC. She is responsible for design, quality, and technical control. Robbie is a self-taught studio potter. She worked 13 years on the east coast with Mikhail Zakin and Karen Karnes where she was given the flameware clay body formula. Robbie was on the faculty at the Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts for 10 years. Her work has been featured in Ceramics Monthly Magazines, the Lark Books publications, 500 Vases and 500 Teapots, the Krause Publications, The Art of Contemporary American Pottery, the Chronicle Books publication, Ceramics Bible, and The Studio Potter magazine. Robbie is a member of several regional and national organizations serving the fields of design and education in ceramics. Robbie lectures and teaches about flameware and functional pottery throughout the United States, in Canada and in Italy.
Artist, Marketing & Business Manager, Maryon Attwood ::: Maryon brings over 25 years of experience as a non-profit executive to the business of Cook on Clay, combining her values and experience into this one venture. Maryon’s formal art training includes a classical fine arts education and a B.A. from Monmouth College. She studied at the Art Institute in Chicago and at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. Maryon is a social activist working in sustainable environmental and community systems that promote slow money and slow food values.
Expert Kiln Builder, Julie Crosby ::: Julie is a professional wood-fire studio potter working in the Finger Lakes region of New York. She is a graduate from Hartford Art School with a BFA in Ceramics and has built 16 kilns around the country. Her work has been included in numerous national juried and invitational exhibitions, collected in select private collections, and featured in several publications.
Local Kiln Building Advisor, Al Tennant ::: Al taught Ceramics at the University of Alaska at Anchorage. He has built scores of kilns throughout Alaska and the Western United States. Al brings his tools, skills, extensive experience, and sense of humor to this project.
Cook on Clay Apprentices ::: Jordon Jones and Clovy Tsuchiya will work side by side with our kiln builder, Julie Crosby. For two years, our Apprentices learn and work at Cook on Clay. We provide studios, housing, mentoring, and focused study.
Video Producer, Morgan Attwood ::: Morgan, producer of our Kickstarter video, is a professional videographer and owner of MoPro Media, Inc.
Web Developer, Alex Kendrick ::: Founder and owner of Two Six Code, a web development company, created and maintains Cook on Clay's website.
Mudshark Studios ::: Brett Binford, Chris Lyon, and their team are Cook on Clay’s source for mold making and production services.
MORE TEAM MEMBERS ::: COOK ON CLAY'S GANG OF VOLUNTEERS
Cook & Caterer, Claire Lobell ::: Robbie’s 87 year-old mother will join us from Fort Bragg, CA to take on the task of feeding the crew during the two-week kiln building marathon.
Local Photographers & Food Stylists ::: Gina Burrill, David Day, Roger Ward, Michael Stadler, Michael Tsosie, Amahra Leaman, and devoted users of Cook on Clay have photographed our pots in "action" and in studio settings.
Musician, Laura Silverstein ::: Laura's finger-style guitar speaks straight from the heart. We’re thrilled she agreed to be Cook on Clay’s musical voice on our Kickstarter video.
Marketing Consultant, Nan Devlin from Portland, OR is Cook on Clay’s Marketing and Communications Advisor. Sales Expert, Kathleen Osiecki of Seattle,WA assists Cook on Clay with Special Events and Projects.
Copy Consultant and Editors ::: Anne Belov, Sarah Kendrick, and Marly Eidsness checked and re-checked for punctuation, grammar, and content.
Robbie's students :: Mary Solt, Jenny Windmiller, Brenda Lovie, Julie Wilson, Nancy Harbison, and Julie Hadden will fill out Cook on Clay’s Gang of Volunteers in assisting us by lending a hand, spreading the word, and helping to make our projects & events delicious, easy, and fun.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge to our continued growth is having the right-sized equipment. We have relied heavily on our studio-sized kiln to start up our business and produce a sufficient inventory of cookware over the past two years. This kiln and our studio equipment can no longer keep pace with the growing demand for our flameproof cookware.
A new kiln is the most important next business milestone we can take to continue as a profitable and sustainable company.
Crowdfunding and Slow Money dovetails beautifully with who we are and how we conduct our business. We need the support of Kickstarter to grow our vision for an American-made cookware that can take the heat.
The estimated time to build the kiln, get a few firings under our belt, and fine tune the fuel/air relationship in a kiln such as the one we are building is 3 - 4 months . . . because every kiln is unique and it takes time for the firing team & the kiln to know each other.
Thank you, Kickstarter!!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)