You could say it was love at first sight.
Tom Starr first met his now-wife Dianne in 1968 when they were in college. One day, when he followed her to class, his life changed. She was an art major and worked in the ceramics room, loading and unloading kilns. When he walked into that room, a new world opened up before his eyes. Not only did he fall in love with Dianne, but he fell in love with pottery, too.
“We immersed ourselves in clay. After college, we worked other jobs, making pots part time. We had lots of help from other potters who gave us advice, allowed us to fire their kilns, and provided inspiration,” Tom Starr said.
Now the owners of Starr Pottery in Hanover, the Starr’s have been full-time potters since 1975, when they built their own gas kiln. Since 1979, their studio, retail shop and home have been in a 150-year-old brick barn tucked in the Pigeon Hills along Beaver Creek, which serves as a source of their inspiration.
Both note that nature’s rhythms are their muse as they create a wide range of pottery, that is often functional.
“Starr Pottery is mugs, pitchers, colanders and covered jars; it is for every day. The quiet beauty of these pots is only revealed through use. Starr pottery is platters, big bowls, and trays. It is for celebrating family and friends, sharing food and fellowship. Starr Pottery is also sculpture. There are figures and faces from faraway places and home,” he described.
Eight acres of their property is preserved as a nature sanctuary and sculpture garden.
The couple loves the symmetries of art and nature, but admit that what fuels Starr Pottery is passion. Dianne and Tom love each other, and they love what they do, too. Through their pottery, they aim to share this love with other people.
“It is the quiet simplicity of carrying on a centuries old tradition that we enjoy. It is our hope that the pleasure we get from making our work is somehow transferred to those who own and use our pieces in their daily lives,” Tom Starr explained.