About Pour Horse Pottery
In The Beginning.... In 1994, Joan Berkwitz began a small business known as Pour Horse. The original intentions were to offer a casting service for hobby artists and a resin cutting horse was produced for sculptor Kristina Lucas. Joan also cast pieces for artists Laurie Jo Jensen and Darian Buckles. Joan then branched out, offering her own Pour Horse line of pins and other trinkets designed to appeal to Renaissance Faire attendees. However, the effort of selling the Renaissance Faire wares was not as profitable as hoped, partly due to the fact that patrons preferred wares made from Renaissance era materials. Having met a ceramics artist at one faire in 1995, Joan offered to teach that person resin casting skills in exchange for a small test kiln.
That was the start of it all! Unfortunately, the original kiln was not really what was needed, and Joan decided to simply go for it and buy a brand new electric kiln of an appropriate size. A resin cast Friesian horse sculpted by Kristina was produced, with one piece painted by Joan and auctioned to finance the kiln purchase, and several pieces sold unpainted by the pottery. Pour Horse Pottery was under way! Joan quickly began experimenting with producing some of her Renaissance Faire wares in ceramic, practicing simple moldmaking, but she truly dreamed of producing ceramic horses similar to the Hagen-Renakers she has long collected. It was not long before that wish was realized!
The First Horse....Joan then purchased the copyright to "Saucy" a curio size Suffolk mare sculpted by Kristina Lucas. Having no experience whatsoever with the art of ceramics, Joan employed Laurilyn Burson (of "Made with Love") to make her first mold and teach her the process of creating production molds. Laurilyn also made the mold for the Welsh pony stallion "Owynn", but after that, Joan was on her own. Learning to clean greenware without breaking it was the first difficult task!
The first "Saucys" were offered at the 1995 Jamboree event. There weren't many available, but they proved quite popular, and sold quickly. These initial pieces were hand-painted with only minimal airbrush accents. Joan later had to add the fine art of airbrushing to her skills as well as other finishing work. Since then, Joan has researched and perfected her greenware cleaning and finishing techniques to produce a product that is in high demand with the collectors of ceramic horse figurines. Detail, realism and personality abound in the pieces produced today. A small dealer network was introduced in the fall of 1995 to market and sell the pieces, as Joan felt that she could not spare the time to take that on herself. However, by the summer of 1996, Joan realized it would be easier to simply sell direct from the pottery. This change went into effect with the offering of the new bay color Welsh pony "Owynn" and the mini Shetland "Bressay". Orders for these pieces were taken at the 1996 Breyerfest and that's where people really started to take notice of the pottery. Seeing the pieces in person really made the difference to many hobbyists who'd been skeptical before. Joan quickly had as many customers as she could handle!
And now.....today, the customer list for factory finish ceramic pieces is closed and there is a waiting list in order to be added to it. This was a reluctantly taken step to insure that Joan was able to continue production of a high quality piece and to make sure that the wait for a piece is within a reasonable time frame. Custom glazed pieces are offered occasionally when Joan is in a creative mood, but these are signed with her name and marked custom to distinguish them from pottery production pieces.
Joan also occasionally works with other artists as a contractor or collaborator. These pieces are not Pour Horse pieces, but are sold and marketed by the various artists involved. Joan simply provides the moldmaking and casting/painting services. Depending on the deal, sometimes she may be able to offer her own custom painted versions of other artist sculptures. Such pieces do not fall under the pottery label but will be featured later on Joan's own artist pages.
Postscript..... Your webmistress here. Joanie wrote the above (I'm guessing) between 1996 and 1998. Since then seventeen years have passed, a dozen or two new sculpts have been produced, and Pour Horse was officially "shut down" in 2008, after the production of Sarah Minkiewicz' Shetland Pony sculpture "Otto". And since then, another dozen or sculpts have been produced, including a small original finish run of Adalee Hude's Irish Cob sculpture "Callahan", even though Joanie had supposedly sworn off making original finish runs for good! Since then, Joanie has advanced her craft to heights I think few of her collectors could ever have imagined, from molds comprising of no fewer than twenty one pieces to finish work with hundreds of individual hairs scratched in, one hair at a time. I am looking forward to what the future may bring!