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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, March 27, 2020

Hunt finds perfect fit with mugs, being her own boss




Tori Hunt is the owner of Two Ridges Pottery, a pottery studio based in Flintstone, Georgia.

Like most pottery, Tori Hunt’s creations are made of clay and glaze. But her popular mugs also contain other elements that are just as evident to the beholder, including her love of the Blue Ridge Mountains and her passion for creating functional art.

“I love the process of making things,” Hunt says. “Each piece takes not only a lot of time, but a lot of intention and planning and many steps of execution.”

A native of Asheville, North Carolina, Hunt spent her childhood snuggled in the folds of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She now etches her memories of her home onto the exteriors of her mountain mugs – earthen creations that hold the heat of a hot drink and brandish an impressionistic vista of blue skies and rolling hills.

Although Hunt makes other pieces, she says her mountain mugs are her favorite. “They remind me of the time I spent in the hills,” she says. “I also like how they fit in my hand.”

Hunt has turned her passion for mug-making into an expanding business. In addition to selling mountain mugs, she and her small staff at Two Ridges Pottery make custom mugs for customers across the country, including coffeeshops, conferences, homesteads, gift stores, corporations and more.

Two Ridges Pottery also does wedding registries for engaged couples. The future bride and groom choose from a selection of dinner plates, serving ware, mugs and bowls, and Hunt and her staff fill the orders as guests register their gifts.

Hunt and her employees make each piece by hand in the Two Ridges Pottery studio, which is housed in Hunt’s Flintstone, Georgia, home.

Hunt says her marriage of the artistic and the entrepreneurial makes her a combination of studio potter, or artist, and production potter.

“I make a lot of pieces, many of which are customized and streamlined, but I also make a fair amount of artistic pieces, all inspired by nature,” she explains.

Regardless of where Hunt falls on the artistic spectrum, she says she relishes the far-flung relationships she’s developed with her customers. “It’s life-giving to work with good people and see them adore their new pieces,” she explains.

Hunt first put her hands in clay in high school. She then picked pottery back up after college while working at a ceramics gallery in Chattanooga.

Hunt started Two Ridges Pottery in 2018, initially as a hobby and a way of making pieces for friends and family members. This casual endeavor quickly turned into a profitable business, and then blossomed into a full-time job.

“I love running and growing my own business,” she enthuses. “Being my own boss is amazing, and I like having employees to teach and work alongside.”

Although the process of launching a business challenged Hunt, she says she eventually worked her way through the mountain of paperwork involved and slipped through the many hoops unscathed. “It took a lot of hard work and planning, but there were no disasters,” she says.

Hunt primarily sells her pottery online at tworidgespottery.com. People can also find her at local festivals and markets throughout the year.

She’s planning to host a studio sale Saturday, April 11, but those plans hinge on whether local authorities lift the current restrictions intended to halt the advance of COVID-19.

Should life return to normal by then, guests will be able to visit Hunt in her studio, browse and purchase a variety of pottery and register to win a giveaway for local customers.

Visitors will also be able to watch Hunt etch her childhood memories into clay, and then take the product of her passion and labor home with them.

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people,” she says. “I enjoy getting a feel for who my customers are and what they need.”