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$10,586 pledged of $70,000 goal
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By Geoffrey Miller
$10,586 pledged of $70,000 goal
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About this project

The Rowantrees tradition started in 1936 in the coastal village of Blue Hill, Maine when Adelaide Pearson organized what had been summer art classes in clay into a business. Rowantrees Pottery started as a loosely organized co-op and stayed that way until 1939 when Adelaide and her partner, Laura Paddock, traveled to India. Pearson had an audience with Mahatma Gandhi and told him about the pottery co-op back home. To her surprise, Gandhi admonished her saying, "...how dare you make a game of it." Gandhi believed that pottery should be taken more seriously and operated on a business footing so that its economic benefits would reach more people. Rowantrees Pottery provided employment to many and became a cultural icon known all over the world. 

I started working at Rowantrees in 1982 and stayed for eight years. While I was there, I learned every aspect of the potter's craft. When I left in 1990, I knew that I wanted to return to pottery as a full-time occupation at some point in the future.

In 2008, Sheila Varnum - the last owner of Rowantrees Pottery - retired after 68 years. Even as she was prepared to enjoy retirement, she felt that the Rowantrees tradition should continue and began looking for a way to make that happen. She reached out to me and we began talking. Still wishing to start a pottery business of my own, I finally suggested that I could carry on the Rowantrees tradition by starting my own business and producing Rowantrees as a line of reproductions. That left me free to make some necessary changes while still honoring the origins of the product I would produce. We both agreed this was the best solution all around.

In 2010 I opened my doors. In the first five years, I have seen annual sales go from $2,000 to $11,000 even while working at a full-time job and only being able to operate the pottery seasonally (there was no heat in the old Rowantrees building where I was working).

Sheila Varnum passed away in 2012.

In 2014, the Rowantrees property was put on the market and I was told the pottery buildings were slated to be torn down. I had to move my business out and into storage where it remains as of this writing. I continue to do research and development in what used to be my kitchen, but production is out of the question in the present circumstances. Clearly, I need a new home in which to operate.

I have designed a modest building based on a two-car garage floor plan. The space is ample and will be well insulated to keep its operating costs down. The building will also give me something I have not had to date;  a stable year-round studio space. This will allow me to expand into wholesale operations, making my pottery more available to more people in more places.

Soon, I may even realize my dream of running my own pottery business as a full-time occupation. Rowantrees Pottery still has a very devoted following and I want to keep that tradition alive and well for many years to come.

I hope you will contribute to my new building project and write your name into the Rowantrees history!

My thanks go out to RBY Productions, Quail Creek Editions and the Curtis House Inn in Woodbury, CT for their assistance in making this project a reality.

Risks and challenges

Probably the greatest challenge I will face is the production of the rewards for contributors. Because I will not be able to produce the rewards until after the building is up and I have moved in, it should be clearly understood that the dates I have promised for delivery are good faith estimates and subject to change. There are some hoops that I will need to jump through - like getting a solid date for construction to begin - that will have a profound effect on delivery. I will give monthly updates to all contributors to be sure that you know exactly what is going on and when delivery can be expected.

I am putting up a page on my website to display the premiums I am offering. You can find it at http://lowellhillpottery.com/product-category/premiums .

Another challenge is producing rewards while also producing products for wholesale. Rewards can hold a priority because I currently have a good deal of inventory ready to go to wholesale and retail customers. This is important because all Kickstarter rewards will be marked in a unique manner to show that they were received in return for your contribution.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Note of thanks plus a downloadable photo journal of the building project from start to finish.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Everything at the $25 level plus one Gazing Fox ornament. This graceful ornament will grace any corner or tree that you hang it from.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Everything at the $25 level plus one Rowantrees reproduction Coffee Mug in the color/pattern of your choice.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    $50 Pre-Negotiated reward. A number of you have made arrangements ahead of time with me. Please check this option if that is the case.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Everything at the $25 level plus two (2) Rowantrees reproduction Coffee Mugs in the color/pattern of your choice.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    For the HP Lovecraft fans: one Cthulhu Sushi Plate. Cthulhu stares out from his home at R'Lyeh, awaiting the day when the stars align in the right manner to allow his underwater domain to rise out of the sea. He seems anxious for the day as he reaches out from beneath this vessel to snatch it away from you and claim it for his own. You also get everything at the $25 level, of course.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    $100 Pre-Negotiated Reward. A number of you have made arrangements with me ahead of time. Select this option if that is the case.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Everything at the $25 level plus one (1) Bamboo pattern water etched vase.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Everything at the $25 level plus two (2) Bamboo pattern water etched vases.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Everything at the $25 level plus eight (8) dinnerware place settings in the color/pattern of your choice.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Everything at the $25 level plus 12 dinnerware place settings in the color/pattern of your choice.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Everything at the $25 level plus 12 dinnerware place settings in the color/pattern of your choice with replacement on pieces for 10 years (restrictions apply). Also, there are no shipping charges added for this item regardless of where it ships (does not apply to replacement pieces).

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Funding period

- (30 days)