Shiloh Pottery Studio Show and Sale a Mother's Day tradition

Jasper Cougnet couldn't wait to get his hands in the clay and make a bowl for his mother, Jen. Jasper, 5, and Jen plan to make the Shiloh Pottery Studio Show and Sale in Hampstead a Mother's Day tradition.

"We like to make a day out of it with a picnic," Jen Cougnet said.


Cougnet said she has known Shiloh Pottery Studio's owners, Ken and Marty Hankins, since she was a child. The couple has run a pottery studio on their family farm since 1972.

"Over the years we have made stoneware pots, run a potters' supply business, made and sold kick wheels, and fired salt-glazed pots with gas or wood," said Ken Hankins.

The Hankins regularly attend craft fairs and shows but enjoy having visitors at their farm for their Mother's Day weekend sale. The weekend features pottery, blacksmithing and spoon carving demonstrations as well as a hand-made stoneware pottery sale.

"People get to come to us and see the environment we make all this in," Hankins said. "We get to show off the whole place."

Nicole Diem, of Carpe Clay, demonstrated Raku firing to a crowd of excited visitors. The process of Raku firing differs from other pottery firing methods because the pots are removed from the kiln at their maximum temperature. Diem said the shock of the rapid cooling is stressful on the pottery, often fracturing the glaze. The result is a crackle glaze that is enhanced by the post firing smoke, which embeds carbon in the cracks.

"Not a lot of people do it," said Diem. "It's more decorative than functional."

Albin Drzewianowski, of Chestnut Hill Crafts, demonstrated blacksmithing to Kerri Beisser, of Westminster, and her 4-year-old son Tripp.

"It's a great way to spend Mother's Day and have an educational opportunity at the same time," Beisser said.

Laurie Beck, of Towson, brought her daughter, Erica Bley, and granddaughters Tessa and Meredith, to the event.

"It's fun to come to the farm," Beck said. "The kids really enjoy the animals and I like to buy their pots."

The farm, which used to be a Kosher Jewish summer camp, hosts classes in clay and woodworking.

"What we do is magical," said Marty Hankins. "We've made wonderful connections over the years."