Full Circle Ceramic doubles space at Heritage Station
HUNTINGTON - Most ceramic artists make their work at home, sell it to a shop/gallery or online and rarely see the public’s reaction to their work. But for the past two years, Noelle Horsfield has cut out the middleman. She’s taken her spicy contemporary pottery directly to an unsuspecting public straight from the underground.
Tucked under Heritage Station’s historic brick sidewalks, Full Circle Ceramic, which celebrated its two-year anniversary in May, has completed a move next door that doubles their space to showcase what Horsfield calls her “amazing handmade pottery, above average greeting cards, cool stickers, edgy T-shirts and other awesome (stuff).”
On Saturday, Aug. 11, Noelle, along with her husband and business partner, Scott, will be taking Full Circle Ceramic over to Rails and Ales to vend for the afternoon and evening sessions.
A graduate of Marshall University’s College of Fine Arts with an emphasis on painting, Horsfield said it was an unknown venture when they opened Full Circle Ceramic two years ago at Heritage Station, but she knew she had to try.
“Unless you go to big craft shows you don’t get to see anybody interact with your work,” Horsfield said. “All you are getting is a second hand feed from your shop or gallery owner. Also I have found in Huntington, basically the only places I could begin to sell things was at The Wild Ramp and the Red Caboose. I just felt like I wanted to be here and offer my work to the community and to be a part of what I saw as the downtown coming back and supporting downtown businesses.”
Their new space, which sits directly below Brown Dog Yoga, and next door in the space formerly occupied by Butter it Up. While their original 700 has been upgraded to a space of more than 1,200 square feet, there’s still room to house a another new business as Tony The Tailor, a men’s clothing shop, will open in the fall of 2018.
After Butter it Up left in winter, Scott Horsfield began constructing the new shop in March by adding new counters and floors to putting in a kitchen in the back. While Noelle worked at the old shop, Scott built out the new multipurpose shop to include a gallery/shop/store. It also has a sizable workspace needed for the multitasks of Noelle’s pottery from designing and molding pots to glazing them with multiple firings in the two on-site kilns in the back.
“When we opened over there we didn’t know if it was going to work,” said Noelle, a 43-year-old native of Willow Wood, Ohio. “I know ceramics artists all over the country and I honestly don’t know anyone else who has done something like this. It is a completely new, just sort of a jump in there business model situation where we have a studio here and also have this retail space. So over there we got to learn what worked and what we needed, and what didn’t work. Then we can come over here and go all in and make it exactly how we wanted.”
The new shop has more space for everything.
“It’s great just to have space to walk around,” Horsfield said. “On a day like Small Business Saturday, you had like 20 people all crammed in like sardines and all afraid they were going to break something and so was I.”
They have space to carry works from other artists as well including an expansion of greeting and special occasion cards, small-batch chocolates, jewelry and some other hand-crafted items but other artists. They also have more space for their line of T-shirts, not to mention travel mugs, coffee mugs, decals and steins. All are uniquely decorated with designs and inspirational/motivational slogans by Noelle sometimes punctuated with colorful language, sometimes not. Just a few of the slogans are: “You’re Kind of the Best,” “Strong Heart. Fierce Mind. Brave Soul,” and “Do Epic *&^%,” as well as the popular T-shirts with such slogans as “Weird and Wonderful,” “West Virginia Wanderer,” and “Folk Yeah!”
“I try to be positive with it in a very real way, like the way that we actually talk to each other,” Horsfield said of sometimes using colorful language. “We weren’t sure if Huntington was ready for it, it has been so well received. It’s fun to watch people come in and read things to each other and laugh and giggle. It’s almost like an experience.”
Horsfield said she feels honored when people come in and support her original ceramic art works.
“That is actually one of my favorite parts. People tend to use my work as something to motivate them and to remind them to be amazing - that just feels really good,” Horsfield said. “The West Virginia home pieces, I find that people buy them for people who have moved away, or people who are getting married and who want to be reminded of home. That really makes me happy to be part of their celebrations, whether it is a wedding or a kid being born. They are buying new heirlooms.
Since they are at the shop usually five to six days a week to keep up with orders, the couple have given the work space a touch of home. Over Noelle’s design station, she has photos of their three dogs and two cats. Their oldest dog, Betty, an aging greyhound rescue, hangs out at the shop and greets customers.
“You always have the challenges of being below ground level so we’re not that visible as we would be if we are downtown. On the other hand it’s quiet, and super-cute and quaint. It works for us so well,” Horsfield said. “Everything is so relaxed. Everybody sort of looks out for one another.”
For Horsfield, the looking out for each other took a real personal turn in her first two years of being a shop owner at Heritage Station. Her Crohn’s disease worsened and she had to have two surgeries while trying to maintain her bustling and growing ceramic art business.
“Having almost died in that first two years of being open, I’ve been super proud and thankful to keep it going,” said Horsfield, who now goes to Cleveland every eight weeks for IV treatments.
With a renewed vigor from her health, and the energy of a new store, the Horsfields, who lived in Massachusetts and Maine before moving back to the Tri-State, said they are proud of the general feeling of growth and energy in the city.
“When we moved away Pullman Square was still the Super Block and it was nothing but weeds, so when we moved back and saw that things were starting to happen. We were like, ‘Yeah, let’s see if we can be a part of this and actually do something,’” Horsfield said.
“It has been awesome to see people growing, like Brand Yourself, and to see things happen like all of the people moving into The Market. I think the more small businesses and unique businesses that we can offer downtown, the better. That is how we are going to be able to pull people back from the mall and online shopping. You have to offer people something they can’t get somewhere else, and offer people that one-of-a-kind experience of coming into a shop, having fun and feeling welcome. People know your name and know what you like and there’s something new every time you come. I think the businesses that really thrive in downtown that is what they do in one form or another.”
Horsfield said that team spirit is why they really wanted to be a part of Rails and Ales again. They sold at the festival two years ago but couldn’t last year due to illness. This year, they are back with a full array of steins, T-shirts, decals and other items.
“We feel like it’s one of the best things to happen in Huntington is part of this movement of creating unique events and shops and things that people want to come here for,” Horsfield said. “To me it is part of being part of everything here. If you want to be the coolest shop in town you can’t miss the coolest event of the summer.”
Finding Full Circle
WHERE: Full Circle Ceramic has expanded (next door) to a new location (the old Butter it Up space) below Brown Dog Yoga, at Heritage Station
WHEN: Open Monday through Saturday
ON THE WEB: https://fullcircleceramic.com/
VENDORS AT RAILS AND ALES: Full Circle Ceramic is one of a dozen different arts and crafts as well as merch vendors, in addition to merch that will also be available from a number of breweries at Rails and Ales. Some tickets remain for Rails and Ales which features more than 300 craft beers, local food, music, arts and crafts and more at Harris Riverfront Park. Kick off is at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11 for VIP and Noon for general admission for the afternoon session, while the evening session (general admission only) begins at 6 p.m. You can also purchase tickets at the gate.
Vendors for Rails and Ales include: Brand Yourself, Farmhouse Repurposed, Full Circle Ceramic, JP Owens Arts, Kin Ship Goods, La Fontaine’s Tobacco and Wine Shop, Made New Co., Rails & Ales Merchandise, The Red Caboose (the official gift shop of the Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau), Whimsical Wonders by Kris, Wild & Wonderful Lifestyle Co., and Wild for West Virginia Food Vendors: Food vendors will be: Asian Fusion, Austin’s Ice Cream, Backyard Pizza and Raw Bar, Bahnhof WVrsthaus & Biergarten, Bon Appetit!, Dem Two Brothers & A Grill, Fireside Grille, River and Rail Bakery, Scragglepop Kettle Corn, The Sideline Grille and Southside Sliders.