October 12, 2019

East Fork Makes Locally Sourced Stoneware Clay Objects That Are Meant to Last a Lifetime

Four sizes of plates in new colorway pollen. Photography courtesy of East Fork.

While many dinnerware manufacturers in the U.S. have shuttered in recent decades, the story of East Fork is just beginning. Sort of. It kicked off in 2009 on an old tobacco farm outside Asheville, North Carolina, when potter Alex Matisse (yes, that Matisse, although he’s working to break free from the shadow of his name) built a large kiln and started throwing stuff on the wheel. Around that same time he met Connie (the two are now married) at a farmer’s market where she was selling cheese. And when potter friend John Vigeland came for a weekend visit a few years later, the three decided, over wine and poetry, to go into business together. Fast forward to today: The growing operation is making lovely, useful objects from locally sourced stoneware clay, in 10 colors of semi-matte glaze—and meant for a lifetime of use. The team also gives back, providing well-paying jobs to people in marginalized communities as well as engaging in a range of social and environmental initiatives. 

Co-founders John Vigeland, Connie Matisse, and Alex Matisse. Photography courtesy of East Fork.
Pieces being rolled to the kiln at the North Carolina factory. Photography courtesy of East Fork.
Stacked bowls in celery and pollen. Photography courtesy of East Fork.
Vessels fresh from firing. Photography courtesy of East Fork.
The Mug, a signature item. Photography courtesy of East Fork.

> See more from the Fall 2019 issue of Interior Design Homes

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