Amber is a small batch ceramicist located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, our city's southern neighbor. She is a full-time Physical Therapist Assistant by trade, but her pottery demands her full attention when inspiration strikes or when she has a show to attend. While ceramics is just her creative outlet, her work has been turning heads at our Mississippi Mercantile events this past year. Her speckled blue dishware disappears as quickly as she can put it out!
Amber discovered her love for ceramics fifteen years ago when she was a student in an elective ceramics class in college.
Amber recalls, "One of my friends and I chose ceramics as our elective in college, and I just fell in love with it. It just felt natural to me, and ever since then, I always felt like I wanted to get back into it as a hobby. Since it's so expensive to start a studio, I waited for several years, but I never forgot about it."
She says, "I put it in the back of my mind, and I would look on Craigslist or Facebook occasionally to find equipment. And then, about three years ago, a guy was selling all of his equipment for an excellent price, and I just bit the bullet and bought it."
"After fifteen years, it felt like I was starting over, and I began to teach myself and develop skills of my own. My first project was a dinner set for my mom's eight-seat table. I had no idea what I was doing, but I learned through that experience. Now my mom proudly displays my wonky dishes on her table," Amber laughs.
With three years of experience on her potter's wheel, Amber has created a wide variety of pieces, including vases, soap dishes, tableware, large bowls, and much more.
She says, "I love to make functional pottery, stuff that people can use on a day-to-day basis. Why would I want to make something that sits on a shelf and is never moved for years, you know? People should enjoy it every day."
Besides its beauty and functionality, her work is remarkable because not one piece is the same. Each piece is a numbered part of a particular batch, and once it's gone, it's gone.
Amber says, "I don't make production pottery, which means I don't like to make 100 or 1000 of the same piece. I make what I feel like making or what people seem to like. Then I'll make some of that, and then it's gone. I want the people that buy my pottery to know that they're buying something extraordinary, a real one-of-a-kind piece."
That's why you can't miss our Mercantile Fifth Anniversary Celebration on December 4th! Amber is making a special batch of Christmas trees and ornaments for the occasion that will be the winning gift of the season. Here's a sneak peek!
Be sure to stop by her tent, support Amber Spence's Pottery, and celebrate the Mercantile Fifth Anniversary Celebration with us in the Mercantile Front Yard!