MINT HILL, NC – The Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce is proud to welcome Potteria, owned by local potter Maria Frey.
Frey first encountered ceramics at the University of Florida, where she earned her BA in Art with a specialization in graphic design. “I graduated at a time when websites were becoming a hot commodity, and people started having their own computers and using this crazy thing called the Internet,” laughs Frey, “When you get an art degree, there’s always the question of whether or not you can make a living with it. The budding Internet gave me that option.”
In 2007, Frey took advantage of the opportunity to work remotely for an Orlando-based web marketing company and moved to Charlotte sight unseen. “I worked from home, knew no one in this new city, and really never needed to leave the house,” she recalls, “so my husband suggested I find a pottery class to take. I met new friends and artists and slowly began to self-teach myself everything I wished I would have had time to learn in college.”
Frey continued to practice pottery as a hobby for nearly two decades while working as a graphic/web/UX designer and raising a family, leaving the digital design world for pottery at the end of 2020. “It had always been a long term goal to take my hobby and make it my career, but COVID gave me a unique opportunity to jumpstart that dream earlier than expected,” says Frey. “I had worked my way up to being an Associate Creative Director for a fortune 100 company, but designing and creating digital things started to take its toll. I longed to get away from my desk, work with my hands, and interact with people face to face. So we moved to a rural part of Mint Hill, built a 1200-square foot studio on our property.”
Now a full-time potter, Frey specializes in functional tableware like, plates, mugs, cups and bowls, as well as “functionally decorative” items like vases, piggy banks and ornaments. She also does corporately branded items, like mugs for Mint Hill Coffee House and the Mint Hill Public Works crew. All of Frey’s pottery is food-, dishwasher- and microwave-safe. “They’re made to fit into daily life,” emphasizes Frey.
Frey and her family have lived in Mint Hill for over six years, and she takes pride in offering handmade pots to her neighbors in Mint Hill. “Potteria (and specifically its booth at HomeStyles) makes it accessible to get quality pottery without needing to travel to Seagrove or the mountains of Western NC, two hot spots for pottery that are great, but not ‘local,’” says Frey.
As Frey says on herself on her website, “the most fun way to know me more is to hold something in your hands that came from mine.” You can find Frey’s work for sale locally at Homestyles Gallery, Pottery 51, and Mint Hill Coffee and Social House. She’ll also be at the Tina Ross Afternoon in the Park (April 29) and the Midland Farms Spring Fair (May 6). Learn more about Frey and her work at https://www.potteriastudio.com/.