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June 27, 2022

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Pottery charm: Kilnfolk Ceramic Studio only business of its kind in downtown Vancouver

By , Columbian Innovation Editor
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Skylights fill the pottery studio Kilnfolk with light Friday in downtown Vancouver.
Skylights fill the pottery studio Kilnfolk with light Friday in downtown Vancouver. Photo Gallery

After traveling the world and living in Canada, New Zealand, Argentina, Thailand and other places, Faith Odman settled in Vancouver and opened a pottery studio.

With its grand opening Saturday, Kilnfolk Ceramic Studio is downtown’s only pottery studio, adding to the city core’s growing diversity of businesses. Located at 108 W. Sixth St. in the former Believe Boutique space, Kilnfolk is a six-day-a-week studio (not open Mondays) that offers classes for wheel-throwing and hand sculpting, painting, glazing and more.

Odman’s interest in pottery began during a Running Start program at Yakima Valley College, where she took pottery classes. Her teacher “loved the craft so much and expected a lot from her students,” Odman said.

While Odman and her husband traveled extensively overseas, Odman would always seek out pottery studios in the countries they visited and lived in. But the idea to open a studio came after moving to Vancouver when her husband enrolled in Washington State University Vancouver’s engineering program. After the couple bought a house in Vancouver and began to live here, Odman found that her closet options for pottery were quite a distance from downtown.

“I’ve always wanted to start a business, and this one just made sense to me,” said Odman.

Odman built a business plan and received two business loans from the Small Business Administration and Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon. She leased the space, renovated it and hired six employees for the studio; four teach pottery and run the studio, and two employees manage the “kids club,” which allows families with children to have supervision for the kids.

Kilnfolk Ceramic Studio has nine wheels, a cluster of tables for sculpting, a collection of glazes, a kiln and a wall of shelves for the clay pieces to sit after the kiln.

Odman said she’s excited to see people coming to make cups, bowls and sculptures. Making the pottery is also a therapeutic process that serves as a way to de-stress, she said.

“A lot of people are perfectionists, but I want to tell them to stop and just enjoy the process,” she said.

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