Handmade Pottery by Craig Shepard

Saint Michael, Minnesota

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Craig Shepard

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Craig Shepard


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About MoosibouPottery

Sales 132
On Etsy since 2013

Starving engineer turns potter

Pottery is a very personal thing. It speaks to the soul. When you choose a cup for your morning coffee, and you have a personal connection with the person who made it, you invariably think about that person when you make the choice to use that cup on that particular morning. The connection you have with the maker is renewed subconsciously each and every time you choose that particular cup.

I spent over 30 years working as a Software Engineer on large, military and commercial embedded systems. I played a major role in developing state-of-the-art military systems as well as some of the largest commercial aircraft in the world. My work flies the skies, floats the seas, and trundles over the land. In my spare time, I pursued many hobbies to keep my mind engaged creatively.

In the mid 90s, while working on a helicopter program in Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to take a pottery class at an art center. I was introduced to the basics of clay by a wonderful woman who is a professional potter. The class included a brief introduction to wheel throwing, where a cup can magically become a bowl, or an ash tray, in the blink of an eye!

Flash forward about 10 years. My brief pottery experience had been lurking in the back of my mind and one day I decided I "needed" a pottery wheel and kiln. I played around with it off and on for a year or two and it soon fell by the wayside in favor of other projects and hobbies. In 2012, my interest was again rekindled as I began mulling the idea that somehow pottery might play a role in funding my retirement.

I decided I should determine if I could actually produce anything worthwhile so I began in earnest to train myself in the arts and skills of the potter. I enrolled in YouTube university; my instructors are some of the finest professional and hobby potters around the world, who take the time to produce and publish countless videos discussing the ins and outs of pottery, and to whom I am forever indebted. These people are my heroes.

In the summer of 2012, my engineering contract ended. Companies were now cutting back on positions and pay rates. As winter approached in the upper Midwest, I found an abundance of time with which I could focus on improving my pottery skills. Over time, my results improved. My cups stopped magically turning into bowls. I increased my capabilities from 2 lb lumps of clay to 12 lb lumps. I began mixing my own glazes and refining my glazing techniques.

As the job search continued unsuccessfully month after month, the inventory of mediocre pots grew as the bank account dwindled. Eventually, the quality of my work reached my unreasonably high standards and I began selling some of it, and in 2013, the Moosibou Pottery Etsy Shop was established. The rest, as they say, is history. Recent history, but history, nonetheless!

I hope you find something here that speaks to your soul, and ultimately, when you choose to use one of my pots, you will renew your connection with me, the maker, and hopefully your friend.

Craig Shepard

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  • Craig Shepard

    Owner, Maker

    Largely self taught in the art of wheel thrown pottery, I am earning my degree at YouTube university with an eye towards partially funding my retirement.

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