Handmade Pottery made with Love for Texture & Color!

Shrewsbury, Massachusetts · 242 Sales


Handmade Pottery made with Love for Texture & Color!

Shrewsbury, Massachusetts 242 Sales On Etsy since 2010

5 out of 5 stars

Announcement   Welcome to Backyard Ceramics! Handmade Pottery gifts for Birthdays, Weddings, Christmas, Anniversary's, or just for You! Food- and Dishwasher-Safe items to be used, admired, and/or to decorate your home!


Last updated on Jan 22, 2017

Welcome to Backyard Ceramics! Handmade Pottery gifts for Birthdays, Weddings, Christmas, Anniversary's, or just for You! Food- and Dishwasher-Safe items to be used, admired, and/or to decorate your home!

Kathy Zillmann

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Kathy Zillmann

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Migrating Toward One's Real Love

Kathy Zillmann, potter

I was introduced to ceramics in 1979 at Indiana University, when I took a ceramics course being taught by Jim Koudelka, then, a grad student. His passion for ceramics transferred to me, even though I was an accounting student, accountant, wife,mother, gardener, quilter, painter, and seamstress, not likely to take another ceramics course in 30 years. Now, a grandmother mostly retired with children grown, I began taking courses at the Worcester Center for Crafts in Worcester Ma, and have reignited my love for ceramics, in just one class! I looked at my current situation and said "yes, I can do it! I can finally do something for myself!" Not something I did just to fill my time at home, but something deep inside me that I thought I could never do, having the life I had. Now free of children and their finances, and having space and excess time at home, I found the motivation for setting up my own studio. It is in my boiler room, but let me tell you, I have taken over the boiler room! I immersed myself in the classes, purchased wheels, kilns, and studio equipment. I was fortunate to stumble upon a potter's studio being sold by her husband, as she had unfortunately passed away, too soon. Her name was Leslie, and I feel she is with me everyday in my studio. Ceramics has taken over my life, with everything else being secondary. Not my husband, but I have often found myself short on dinner preparations when he has arrives home in the evenings!

With a love and admiration for the ceramics of our Japanese predecessors, I find myself inspired and influenced by many of the their techniques. I have always loved the textures and intricate design of carved wood in furniture, or in fabric, such as a carpet bag purse. I spent years sewing and quilting. Clay has opened my world of expression through the various techniques it offers. In many pieces I am using the ancient techniques of carving and mishima, incorporating my love of nature and flowers, as gardening was also a love.

I generally use the potters wheel but have found that I also enjoy rolling and forming the clay using slump molds and stamps. Many of the stamps I use have have been created by me out of clay, making them my own and unique. At home I am firing at cone 6 (2232 degrees)in an electric kiln. With the help of my chemist husband, we are creating and testing new cone 6 glaze combinations with every firing. When I take a class from The Worcester Center for Crafts, I fire at cone 10 ( 2345 degrees) in a gas kiln. In a gas kiln, I am able to fire my pieces, robbing the kiln of air in the last stages of firing (reduction firing), often producing beautiful glaze effects and sometimes flops. I am rewarded by my successes, and are happy to pass them on to you! All pieces are glazed with food safe glazes, unless stated otherwise. If an unsafe glaze is to be used, it will be used only for sculptural pieces and the likes of, and the piece will clearly state that fact.

I truly believe there is an artist in all of us, waiting to be expressed. In today's fast pace and stressful world, there is nothing like sitting with a lump of clay and controlling it with your movements. It so organic in nature! There has been a love for ceramics since the beginning of time. It's never too late to begin your experience if you ever have the chance!


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Shop members

  • Kathy L Zillmann

    Owner, Maker, Designer, Curator, Accountant, Mother, Grandmother, Wife

    Mother of 3, grandmother of 4. Married 36 years. Originally from Indiana. Has lived in Houston TX & Rochester NY, & currently resides in Shrewsbury MA. Has degree in accounting from Indiana University. Loves nature & the outdoors. Loves to cook.

Shop policies

Last updated on August 8, 2016
Welcome to Backyard Ceramics! My love for ceramics started 30 years ago with a course in college. I am now semi retired and setting up a studio, and doing what I love most. Until my husband sets up a web presence with our own website, we hope to sell some of our work through Etsy. As he is not retired yet, most of the pottery items will be produced by me.
I have a love of Asian pottery and you will see that much of my work has an Asian influence. When I take classes at the Worcester Center for Crafts, I will have access to a gas kiln, and many of the items you will see on our website will have been reduction fired to cone 10. At home, I have my own small studio. I will be firing in an electric kiln to cone 6. We will also be doing some raku in the future, which is fired at a much lower temperature. Those items will be listed "Raku" and they are to be for decorative use only. As we list those items, we will mark them as such. All other pottery is safe to use and eat off of. They are also dishwasher safe.
We hope you find what you would like at Backyard Ceramics. If you have any questions about any item, please email us, and we will do our best to answer them!

Accepted payment methods

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  • Accepts Etsy gift cards
Payment will take place with Paypal. At Paypal, you will be able to pay with your credit card, or directly from an account.
We feel that Paypal is a safe way for doing transactions, for both the seller and the purchaser. We have been happy with our experience with Paypal in handling our transactions and yours!
We will make every effort to begin the shipping process as soon as we are notified of payment received. Your item will be carefully and lovingly packed and we will do our best to mail it within 24 hours. (excluding weekends) Should we be ever be away from home, we will maintain access to the internet and will notify you immediately of any delays in processing, giving you an estimate of when it will be mailed.

Our Shipping rates were calculated using USPS Flat Rate Shipping. We will make every effort to give you the lowest rate shipping for the area you live. ie. if regular Priority Shipping is less than the Flat Rate, which it often is with light items, we will use that and refund the difference. Multiple items will be shipped together as much as possible, again, striving to always bring the lowest cost to you. If shipping it separately is less, than that is what we will do. Please understand that our estimate for shipping a second item, is just that, as estimate. Something there to make sure we have enough to work with when we actually begin the process.

I have not found the need to buy bubble wrap, and have been able to collect it from friends, my own online purchases and my husbands work. Too often it is just thrown away. Your item may arrive carefully packed with a variety of packing items. If a breakage should ever occur, I will do everything in my power to correct the situation, with a replacement or refund.

Although my Shipping Policy states Shipping to United States only, I am willing to ship to Canada. You must first contacted me and I will packaged and compute shipping, And notify you with the amount for payment, and then you will buy your item. Message me in Conversations if you are interested.
Refunds and Exchanges
Of course we hope that you will love your items and see the beauty in the ceramic process. As we are selling things that are already produced, we have tried to show you pictures that display color and appearance as accurately as possible. If you feel that this has not been the case, and you are not happy with your item, we ask that you return it as originally packed, within 7 days, and we will refund your original payment.
Additional policies and FAQs
The ceramic process is somewhat unpredictable. Often we can use a glaze that we have done many times before, and achieve a totally different result in the firing. This can be due to the presence of, or lack of oxygen in the kiln during the firing, or the placement of the glazed item next to another item in the kiln,( which burns off some carbon gas), or the actual placement in the kiln, as to lowest shelf versus top shelf. Sometimes, we don't exactly know what has caused the change during the firing when the atmosphere reaches 2200 degrees! Two exactly glazed items can come out totally different! Hopefully, we will love them both!

That is the beauty of the Ceramic process! We often are surprised and amazed at the results achieved, and often have disasters which you will never see. We are learning all the time! I like experimenting with the placement of oxides to add difference to a piece or the burn off of wax which creates carbon. This will be noted in the description of the item, so that you can understand the creation.

I have listed items here on our site that we are please with. We hope that you are, too!