Working with clay, Morgan Williamson handcrafts timeless, minimalist wares at her Germantown studio in the collaborative 100 Taylor Arts Collective. Each piece takes patience and care, plus time for drying and firing. In addition to ceramic goods, Handmade Studio TN also offers workshops and retreats, perfect for all levels, including beginners.
Williamson studied fine art at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. “I was a college athlete, so my schedule was really rigorous,” Williamson says. “Getting into the pottery studio felt like everything slowed down; it was kind of like clay therapy for me.” Williamson fell in love with ceramics, hard and fast, developing a penchant for functional pieces.
During the early part of her marriage, Williamson and her husband briefly lived in Atlanta with her aunt, who wanted to learn how to make pottery. At her husband’s suggestion that others might want to do the same, Williamson decided to teach a pottery course. She advertised it by distributing flyers around the neighborhood. “At the end, we threw a big pottery party,” Williamson says. “Everybody came, and I sold all the work that I had made over the months we lived there. All my students had their work out. It was just so fun.”
Shortly after moving to Nashville, Williamson opened Handmade Studio TN. An entrepreneur at heart and craving a throwback from her childhood, she also opened Retro Sno, a shaved ice truck. Opening two businesses at the same time had its difficulties but Williamson was happy to quit her day job to pursue her dreams. “I had a real job for about a year,” she says. “I just felt this void. I had no space to do my art.”
Handmade Studio TN solely uses the handbuilding process, meaning forms are created without a pottery wheel. “Everything we make is built from slabs. We roll clay through a slab roller and then we handbuild pottery from there,” Williamson explains. “The process allows for us to add pretty much whatever we want to the surface of the slab before we build the piece.” That’s where the lace, as seen on the best-selling Chamberlin Platter, comes in.
“I basically collect lace any time I travel—so we have lace from Romania, France, Italy and Greece, and all over the States too,” Williamson says. Texture is added to the clay by pressing the lace in, building the piece, then pulling the lace out before the clay goes into the kiln for the first, or bisque, fire. After the pottery comes out of the kiln, it’s sanded, the bottom is waxed and the piece is glazed. It then goes back into the kiln for a glaze fire and comes out as a finished piece. Gold brushed goods, such as the gold rim ring bowl, get an additional fire after liquid gold is added. The gold is painted-on by hand.
Handmade Studio TN ceramics are a great substitute for traditional China, whether you’re a bride-to-be starting a wedding registry, or if you’re interested in adding quality pieces to an existing collection. All glazes are designed to complement one another, making it easy to mix styles. Dinnerware is food, dishwasher and microwave safe, designed for daily use.
Looking to create your own ceramics? On October 19th, Handmade Studio TN is offering a one-day workshop. Participants will walk away with a 10-piece cheese board entertaining set. Tools, materials and instructions are included in the workshop, as well as a 3-course chef-prepared meal at a stunning home.