When Jeremy Noet was in school, he had always been set for science, even pursuing a physics degree in college. But, a taste of the whirling wheel and fire-formed clay molded his life towards arts instead.
Jeremy began working out of a surface design studio in Alaska where he could make pottery on the side. He met his wife and future business partner, Megan, before moving to Bellingham to open Blue Water Pottery.
Megan credits their friendship with the owner of Good Earth Pottery, Carly Ramsey, with helping Jeremy get his first studio above the gallery in the Mason Block building, “he was able to start his business there, which is really just an incubator for artisans.”
But their business flourished after moving their studio onto their newly purchased property in 2011; with pottery employing a seven-day work week, they now had the accessibility to check on the kilns after dinner or at 3 a.m.
Jeremy produces hand-thrown tableware that can be purchased individually or as a set; kitchen accompaniments such as pitchers, oil bottles and serving platters; and even ventured into growlers in the past. Megan takes what is finished and brings it out into the world through their Etsy shop, the Bellingham Farmers Market, and in local galleries.
“I love doing the farmers market, I’ve been the one selling it for the past 15 years,” says Megan. “Jeremy did it for about two years, but he was never at our booth, he would always wander off and talk to people. So that was how I got roped into it.”
Other local potters’ work (Megan shouts out Michelle Crowe of Crowe Pottery and Andy Wollman-Simson of One Heron Pond, both among the Bellingham Farmers Market crew) melds with their own at home. The couple makes complete dinnerware sets for their customers but doesn’t mind others’ pieces at their own dinner table.
“It’s fun, you know?” says Megan. “ I feel like with every piece whether it’s ours, or somebody else’s has its own weight and it has its own character.”
The Noets design their pottery for functionality: to be interacted on a daily basis and evidently handmade. Layers of hand-dipped dripping glaze make the glossy shades sink into each other, unique to each piece.
For a more organic and realistic pot, they like to set the glaze in a gas kiln with the addition of soda ash (sodium carbonate). This soda kiln affects the atmospheric conditions inside the chamber, making the design harder to control: resulting in a shinier, delightful swirl of greens, blues, or the calmer whites and beiges showered onto the surface.
Megan feels strongly that you take the first bite of your meal with your eyes; if there is something special worth showing off in the food, there should be consideration into what vessel will compliment it visually.
“And it’s not like you are thinking of that potter when you go drink your coffee in the morning out of that mug. But it has a different feel, and it has a warmth to it that I think all handmade things tend to have,” she says. “Somehow we resonate with it a little bit better than something that’s just manufactured and I think it makes us slow down and appreciate things in general.” Bellingham, bluewaterpottery.etsy.com