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Severed Goat Heads, Growlers and Whiskey Flasks: Q&A with artisan Tim Carlburg of Carlburg Pottery

Severed Goat Heads, Growlers and Whiskey Flasks: Q&A with artisan Tim Carlburg of Carlburg Pottery

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Tim-CarlburgAt Pursuitist, we love to share amazing products. We recently did a feature on custom growlers made by Carlburg Pottery. Carlburg Pottery crafts unique and fascinating pieces intended for the micro distilling audience.

We sat down and did a Q&A with Carlburg Pottery founder Tim Carlburg, talking to him about the history of the company, its future, the dedications required to create one-of-a-kind products, and the latest line of products, Bad Rock Flask and Bottle.

Pursuitist: Tell us about Carlburg Pottery.
Tim Carlburg: Carlburg Pottery was started in 2008 by Tim Carlburg in Kalispell, Montana. What began as a small one person pottery shop that produced the standard line-up of cups, mugs, bowls, etc., has now morphed into a small business with multiple employees and a product line dedicated solely to the micro brewing and micro distilling industries and their patrons.

Pursuitist: What sets you apart from other pottery makers?
T.C.: As far as I know, we are the only pottery specifically creating products intended for the micro distilling audience on a wholesale and retail basis. What really sets us apart is our ability to create unique, completely customized, one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork for breweries, distillers and individual customers alike. We are the only regional pottery to posses a state-of-the-art ceramic print system which allows us to customize pieces in house on a one by one basis.

IMG_2035Pursuitist: How did you get into the craft?
T.C.: I received my education in K-12 Art Education and had to take continuing education classes to keep my teaching credentials current. I took a pottery class and loved it. It wasn’t until many years later that I happened to visit a pottery studio that I was subsequently hired by. A little more than a year later (after many, many hours of practice, hard work, experimentation and self-education) I opened Carlburg Pottery.

Pursuitist: What are the items you’re most proud of creating?
T.C.: I am proud of all of the pieces that come out of the pottery. Each piece is created with, and given our utmost attention, care and respect. The pieces I am most fond of are those that are created for special circumstances…retirement gifts, wedding gifts, etc. I enjoy being able to take a customer’s idea and then creating a tangible, functional piece of art from it. I have been humbled on more than one occasion when a piece has been sold and later found out that it was used as funerary vessel.

Pursuitist: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever made?
T.C.: I have had some very, very strange requests; everything from creating my interpretation of a customers favorite movie or cartoon characters, to the truly morbid – a severed goat’s head. I used to try to accommodate all requests, but some things I just can’t or won’t make if I feel it won’t work correctly.

Pursuitist: If you had to offer advice to a someone starting their own business, what would it be?
T.C.: Hard work and perseverance are a must. As an artist it is hard to not let your ego dictate what you make, however finding a niche and listening to your customers is first and foremost to your (potential) success.

Pursuitist: What advice would you give someone looking to get into being an artisan?
T.C.: Answered above.

Pursuitist: What is the most difficult thing about what you do?
T.C.: Being an artist and a business owner don’t necessarily go hand in hand. The more successful we become as a business the further from the daily production and hands-on creation I became. My time and efforts are now spent more with clients, galleries, marketing, emails, phone calls and the development of new items.

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Pursuitist: What (or who) inspires you as an artist?
T.C.: My family. Having two young children, I am constantly observing how they interact with the new world around them. Their sense of wonder and curiosity keep me thinking about exploring and trying new ideas.

Pursuitist: What direction do you see your artwork taking?
T.C.: We are very excited about our newest line of products, which we have spent a great deal of time and effort recreating 100(+) year old bottle forms and shapes, in clay, that we are now marketing to the distillers and the patrons of the local distillers. We are exploring our past, by creating new pieces that show the weathering, patina, and marks of history. Perfect for the shelf of your home bar, or to be given as groomsmen’s gifts, retirement gifts, etc.

See the latest line from Carlburg Pottery at badrockflaskandbottle.com.

You can also visit Carlburg Pottery at www.handmadegrowlers.com.

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