I am Elizabeth Benotti, owner of E. Benotti – a line of functional handmade ceramics for the home. I live on a vineyard overlooking Concord, New Hampshire, and I share a ceramics studio across town with Megan of Melabo.
The home is a sacred and personal space, but sometimes we can take the importance of everyday objects for granted. Being a potter allows me to contribute to others in a personal way. Bringing back an appreciation for handmade, quality goods is a trend I’m happy to be a part of.
I’m not big on sketching ideas. For me, it makes more sense to just start making something tangible and let the clay inform how it will ultimately turn out. I build the majority of my pieces by hand using the coil method, or by rolling out a slab of clay and then cutting and bending it into shape. Occasionally I use a potter’s wheel or slip cast some of my pieces. On a typical day in the studio I have several projects in various stages of the process. From start to finish, it takes a few weeks to produce any one item.
My work portrays all that I’ve learned and seen over the years. It’s the result of where I’ve lived, who I’ve met, and even sometimes a glimpse of what the future holds. When I walk into the studio, feelings of calm and rightness come over me. The studio is where I go to clear my head, and I can’t imagine not having a space like that in my life.
Starting my own creative business was a huge leap of faith. I opened my Etsy shop back in 2008, but it wasn’t until two years ago that I was able to fully focus my energy and take full advantage of it. Taking my skills and knowledge and putting my heart and soul into working with clay has been a major change in my life. It’s one of the scariest things I’ve done, but overcoming that fear was monumental.
My job has many ups and downs, but when someone picks up one of my pieces or stands in the middle of my booth smiling from ear to ear, it’s affirmation that makes it all worthwhile. The customers who return again and again – either to the markets or my Etsy shop – confirm my belief that I’m doing the right thing. It’s my hope that when one of my pieces is invited into a new home, the same joy I experienced in making it continues in its use.
Maker and process photographs by Kim Benotti. All item photos by E. Benotti.