Pottery as Art – Naples Florida Weekly
WITH PEOPLE SPENDING MORE TIME AT HOME in recent years, and so many new homes being built, outdoor landscaping has become even more important.
One way to enhance this living space is to decorate it with beautiful yet sturdy artwork, much like homeowners choose paintings and photographs to adorn the spaces inside their homes.
From planters and fountains to benches and birdbaths, Pottery As Art in Bonita Springs has an abundance of colors, sizes and designs that accent front yards, backyards and pool areas. Most of the items are durable, high-fired ceramics, where the clay is heated to an extremely high temperature and becomes non-porous. Glazing makes the clay even more resistant. There’s also blown glass, metal wall art, and other matching decor accessories.
“We have an eclectic collection,” says Debbie Rose, owner and manager of this location and the main Pottery Express in Punta Gorda. “We don’t necessarily buy what we want for our own homes. We buy what people want. It’s up to us to have something they’ll fall in love with and want to take home.
People’s interests range from solid-color planters to yard art in the shape of turtles, fish, geckos, cats doing yoga, and even cowboy boots. “Each person comes with a different taste and desire,” she says. The most popular colors are blue, aqua, and white, with “ocean” colors and themes such as mermaids currently trending.
Pottery Express in Punta Gorda opened in 2004 and consists of five acres filled with garden decor as well as a tropical bamboo farm. The operation offers wholesale and retail, while Pottery As Art, which opened in 2007, is for retail only.
Gus Ortiz started working on the Pottery Express yard in 2010 and was soon asked to help translate emails from suppliers in Mexico by Dave Palmer, who founded the company. Mr. Ortiz helped grow the company and went to college to strengthen his business skills. Ms. Rose, an accounting graduate, started a month after Mr. Ortiz. Today, Mr. Ortiz and Ms. Rose own the company, with Mr. Ortiz operating as COO and Ms. Rose as CFO.
Mr. Ortiz says Pottery Express in Punta Gorda sells a high volume of mid-priced pots, with about 40% of sales coming from high-end pieces. About 80% of Pottery As Art sales in Bonita Springs are large, high-end pots and one-off luxury items better suited to larger homes, he adds. “People want pots for their big driveways and in front of their garages,” he says. “They average three to five feet tall. Some pots are even taller and you wonder how they made them by hand. »
Mr Ortiz says it is not unusual for a customer in Naples to buy 10 planters. “The turnover (at Pottery As Art) is incredible,” he says. “We send out a truck (from Pottery Express, where the inventory is delivered) two to three times a week.”
The company sources approximately 90% of its pottery from two Vietnamese families who produce handcrafted pottery.
“I tell people that we have a relationship with everyone we buy from, that we’re loyal to them and they’re loyal to us, and that’s a beautiful thing to do,” Ms Rose says. She adds that all the pieces are handmade, unique and of high quality.
“Vietnamese pottery is some of the best pottery in the world for gardens,” says Ortiz. “The only way to ruin it is to break it. We make water features out of it and they last forever. He remembers visiting one of the factories and the fifth-generation owner showed him a pot that was older than his grandfather. “He looked like he was new.”
Ms. Rose notes that Vietnamese pottery, which is mostly made of solid colors, is the most durable and holds up well to Florida’s heat, sun and other elements. “You can put it in the yard and forget about it.”
Pottery as Art also sells Mexican Talavera, which features more colorful designs. “Talavera is not for everyone,” says Ortiz. “There’s a lot going on, but multicolor makes a great statement piece.” Talavera tends to have fun character shapes and even themed pieces for holidays like Halloween, Christmas, and Easter. Vietnam coins lean more towards snails, elephants and Buddhas.
Pottery As Art has purchased Talavera from the same family factories in Mexico since 2004. “We are one of their biggest customers,” says Ortiz.
They stuck with these artisans because of their attention to detail. “You see the artists painting and tracing and taking their time,” he says. “Some of the pieces have intricate designs that are tedious to make. There’s a lot of pride that goes into that.”
Ms. Rose works with many landscape architects and interior designers who shop at Pottery As Art. “I always ask them if they have a plant in mind, because that determines what kind of pot you get. An ordinary green plant may have a showier pot.
Although Pottery As Art does not offer landscaping services, staff members are happy to look at photos customers bring of their yard or outdoor living space and help direct them to planters. , birdbaths and other decor that would complement their yard. They can turn planters into fountains and drill extra holes in ceramics for drainage. They often recommend that people put filler materials such as mulch or crushed water bottles in large planters instead of having to use a lot of soil.
Pottery As Art also sells American-made lines such as Woodstock wind chimes, Studio M flags and doormats, Hostetler poly wood furniture, and Henri Stonecaster fountains and statues.
Everything is selected to sublimate the landscape. “They beautify our yards,” Mr. Ortiz says. ¦