Why clay is key to digital disconnect for new Tweed business
WHEN was the last time you switched off and didn't touch your phone for hours on end?
Nestled in the Tweed hinterland backing onto an avocado farm, an entrepreneurial couple believe they have cracked the secret to truly disconnecting with the digital world - pottery.
Canadian-born self-confessed "clay addict" Jennifer Redmond is the owner, potter and teacher at Yucca Stone Ceramics but now has plans to expand.
The seasoned ceramist, who currently runs pottery classes in her Duranbah home studio, first found her craft about six years ago in a class in California and never looked back.
Two years ago, Ms Redmond moved to the Tweed with her husband Brad Hooker, who also runs his own business.
The couple plan to complete their dream and open 'Stone Studios' in Cabarita Beach in May.
Not only will the new space offer beginners' workshops and classes right through to wheel wizards, more experienced potters can hire access to the studio as well as have one-on-one tutoring sessions.
Ms Redmond said pottery was "good for the soul" and had helped her overcome a feeling of loneliness and isolation when she had moved to a new city.
"I also wanted to create a space for people to come after they had finished learning and wanted to keep going," she said. "When in real life do you not touch your phone for three-hours on end? Well when you are working with clay you literally can't.
"I want to share the disconnect from the digital world and help the community discover creative ways to feel more grounded as well as developing new skills."
The project is well underway, the lease has been signed, the interior designed and deposit has been put on a new kiln, but the couple are appealing to the public to contribute to their Kickstarter campaign as well.
"Crowd-funding is all or nothing, so as a couple committed to giving back to the community, we ironically need the community to stand behind us so we can get things up and running," Mr Hooker said.
"Our goal is to provide a positive experience within the Tweed shire and be part of positive social mobility."
Ms Redmond said support will help to cover the balance of the kiln, purchase more wheels, a slab roller, a pugmill, and all necessary materials and labour to ensure the space is fully operating by May 1.
The business is offering handmade ceramics and pre-registration for pottery workshops as the doors open in exchange for donations.
So far more than $14,100 has been pledged of the $50,000 goal.
The website campaign, kickstarter.com/profile/stonestudios, will close on March 31.
For more information contact Ms Redmond by emailing email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.