EAST OTTO – This year marks the 40th anniversary of Hog Shed Studio Pottery in East Otto. After four decades of creating functional and decorative stoneware, Elliott and Michael Hutten will retire in the spring of 2023.
The Huttens, now in their 60s, decided it was time to start moving on to the next chapter of their lives. This will be the last year of full pottery production at their studio, and they are anticipating what will happen next.
Elliott, one of the area’s best-known potters, said the decision was not easy, especially for her. They decided it was time to retire while they are both still healthy and can enjoy it.
“As I get older, I can still do a lot of things, but lifting a 50-pound box of clay isn’t as easy as it used to be,” she said. “Working with wet clay and cold glazes in early spring and late fall is not good for arthritic hands.”
With Michael’s help, Elliott has been producing functional and decorative stoneware for 40 years. Working by hand with a potter’s wheel, slab roller and simple tools, she crafted her pottery with consistency and quality craftsmanship.
Hog Shed Studio Pottery has been a wonderful destination for pottery enthusiasts who have returned each season to add to their collections of original handmade stoneware pottery. Elliott’s pottery brought joy to so many who saw her working on her wheel and browsed the gift shop for a purchase.
“We’ve met so many great people over the years, and it’s been personally very rewarding. Some have become good friends,” she said.
The Huttens married in 1970. Elliott graduated from Daemen College in 1971, earning a fine arts degree with a major in oil painting. As a senior, she took basic ceramics for a semester and became addicted to the clay medium.
When the opportunity arose, Elliott bought a potter’s wheel that she worked on in the basement of where they lived. During this time, she was teaching herself the art of pottery.
The couple moved from Buffalo to their farm in East Otto in 1976. Elliott had been an art teacher in Buffalo for five years, but said there were no art teaching positions in that area at the time. She replaced for a bit, then got a job at Luminite where she worked in the art department for a short time.
The pottery studio opened in April 1982 as a way for Elliott to have an outlet for his creativity and as a way to supplement Michael’s income as a registered nurse. It was an ideal solution for the Huttens who had two little girls to raise at home. The couple had no idea the impact clay had on their lives.
The Huttens have transformed an old machine shed into a pottery workshop. Michael built the first oven on site. Although Elliott had electricity and heat in her studio, she worked without running water until nearly 15 years later. She said the name, Hog Shed Studio Pottery, came from a small pigsty across from their house.
Elliott said Michael, who retired from full-time nursing in May 2021, was an integral part of the pottery business. She doesn’t think she could run the business without him. Although he is not an artist and does not create pottery, one of his greatest contributions to the business is kiln firing. He also runs their business and takes care of the website.
In 1986, the Huttens joined East Otto Country, an organization of talented people. She said it was a great way to raise awareness about the area and the different talents that abound in Cattaraugus County.
Elliot is a longtime member of the Tri-County Arts Council and the Chautauqua Area Potters group. The Huttens have always participated in the popular Routes to Art Studio Tour with the last event in May 2019.
The couple’s two daughters are now adults. One lives in Geneseo; the other lives near New York (NYC) and has two little boys, ages two and four. Elliott said they hope to move to the New York area within the next year to be closer to their grandchildren. She said this retreat is the beginning of that process.
The last East Otto Country Holiday open house will take place from November 4th to 6th. The Huttens are also planning a huge vintage sale in the spring of 2023.
Hog Shed Studio Pottery, located at 8420 Otto Maples Road near Little Valley, will be producing their usual assortment of high-temperature stoneware until 2022. They will also be completing all orders they currently have, but regret not accepting new ones. orders. .
For more details about the studio, go online to hogshedstudio.com. The workshop is open by chance or by appointment. To visit the pottery studio, call (716) 244-2967 or email email@example.com.