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Wrapping Up 50 Years!

The holidays are for celebrating, gathering, and reflecting. This is the time we remember what is important as we can easily forget to slow down and cherish what we truly hold close to our hearts in the scurry and hurry of the year behind us. Whether you celebrate the holidays or not, the energy from the rapturous feelings of this season and from the dreams of casting our nets into the upcoming year seem to blanket and envelop the earth with its magic. We can’t help but be swept into this collective sleighride of wonder, merriment, love, hope, peace, and joy based on the family, faith, fun, food, friendship, and fellowship radiating from homes all over the world at this time of year.


Here, at Mossy Creek, we are concluding an epic 50th year of being the vessel that brings functional and valued pieces of pottery to your homes and lives. We couldn’t help but celebrate our anniversary every single day this past year. We celebrated the joy that defines us just for being the beloved-by-many Mossy Creek Pottery. Because, after all, the joy that usually is saved for the holidays is etched on your faces all year long when you walk inside and light up like a Christmas tree as you see our current offerings, many of you in a familiar place you’ve returned to, some for decades. That joy is contagious, just like it is during holidays, and seems to settle and find an enduring residence within our walls and fixtures in the shop, many of which are the same ones built from the sweat and vision of our founders, Bob and Julia Richardson, in the 1970s, in this charming, now-century-aged, residential homestead.


It’s been a holiday every day here at MCP, regardless of this Everest of a milestone year. Julia also wrote about this in her diary she gifted us before she passed last year that she kept of our genesis years from 1973-1977, while she worked in the shop behind the same desk we have now, as Bob worked next door, throwing and hand-building pots. Throughout this year, in tribute to our Founders, we celebrated by highlighting Bob’s work. We also celebrated by bringing to life Julia’s words from her diary, whether in conversation or in previous Mossy Journal articles, weaving her stories, many of which still serendipitously parallel our experiences today, into the story and history of Mossy Creek Pottery and the beautiful Oregon Coast.


On Monday, September 1, 1975, Julia wrote in her diary:


Today is Labor Day. Some customers came by celebrating the wife’s birthday today, and the fact that the final adoption papers were approved for their new adopted ten-month old baby. Their other adopted son (about 5) threw his frisbee on the porch roof, and Bob had to go get it. They bought four cups to “celebrate”!


A customer recently said it best that what we really sell here is memories. Mossy Creek Pottery is an experience that continues into your homes. It’s in the memories you make with us, many times while celebrating something in your own life, that seem to stick with you for a lifetime and somehow seem to seep beyond the glazes into the clay and into the shapes of the pieces you leave with. However, we don’t get to see it all. We only get to be a part of the beginning of the journey…


…unless, as Julia noted, we happen to be the customer ourselves!


On Sunday, October 14th, 1973, Julia wrote:


We unloaded the glaze firing from last Sunday and put it in the shop—however, we’re “packing home” eight plates, six soup bowls and eight cups in the red glaze for ourselves! (The cups are two-tone—gold-brown around the rims.) Can hardly wait to use them!


When the pottery leaves us forever and moves into your home, we must use our imagination on the continued story of each piece. Especially during this season, we can’t help but visualize your homes full of pottery you’ve gotten from us, the ways you may have decorated with them, and how you may be using them this holiday season…


We envision for your holiday dinner you all are surrounding a colorfully festive table, set carefully and creatively with a Dan Wheeler vase as the stunning centerpiece.


We see a full array of Janet Buskirk’s beautiful tide pool dinnerware at each setting, ready to hold the nourishment for you and your loved ones.


We imagine James Diem’s gorgeously glazed wavy platter as the foundation of your main piping-hot sliced ham or delectable vegetarian cuisine.


Nearby there is the traditional turkey in a Free Ceramics large serving tray that looks like a celebration all on its own with its brightly glazed bubbles and bobbles that evoke Christmas lights, balloons, or whatever you might see, which always seems to be a party of some kind.


We next see Tom Bottman’s mobile boat bowls being “driven” around like toy cars on your table as you wheel around the mashed potatoes and gravy to each other in rippling laughter.


The passed-down recipes of your family side dishes fill a collection of Jim Koudelka’s festively colored majolica bowls, scattered around the table like confetti.


We imagine an Alan Higinbotham’s signature red-hued large bowl filled with a crisp, delicious salad as you use Tidewater Timber’s utensils to serve yourself and the person next to you. Just waiting to be used nearby is a Jeremy Noet Cruet for your savory home-made dressing.


Hidden inside your breadbasket we envision Debrah Wolf’s breadbasket warmer, keeping your rolls toasty warm. We imagine your smiles and happiness you feel every time you open the basket and see one of her staple faces from all her pieces smiling back at you which endearingly seems to resemble (to us) her real-life expression when she smiles.


We see a Me…Lo butter dish (that we can’t seem to keep on our shelves) being handed to the person across the table who keeps interrupting you telling your story so you can pass it to them.

We imagine every setting having a Cross Creek Clay Goblet for your beverages in hopes to spark interesting conversations about their other-worldly, sometimes petroglyphic, but all one-of-a-kind glaze patterns. We would love to hear someone’s Great Aunt or Uncle try to figure them out.


Nearby the dinner table we envision your appetizer/dessert table with its half-eaten hors d’oeuvres still on display…


There is Siletz Bay Woodwork’s Charcuterie board with all the best meats, cheeses, and crackers you searched all over for.


We see Blue Spruce Pottery’s amazing tri-bowl that was filled to the brim with a variety of satisfying warmed nuts that your guests snacked on as they waited for the main dinner show to start.


We imagine the other half of the table, full of the sweets of the season, waiting to be devoured. There’s your family recipe Marionberry Cobbler in a Ray Foster baking dish that reveals his delicate fern when the right piece is served. We envision your just-out-of-the-oven, home-made-crusted, apple pie as the centerpiece, cooling in a colorful Cascadia Stoneware pie pan.

Next, we imagine a JamPdX pedestal bowl, with their signature piping with “slip” clay that makes it look like a cake, filled to top with layers of your grandma’s fudge, which always made the holidays special and how this delicate bowl is a part of keeping the fudge, her, and the memories alive.


Nearby, in the kitchen, we envision the infamous egg-separator from Patchwork Farm that you used in your baking preps still sitting on the counter; the echoes of laughter from the “drool” coming out of its mouth still permeating the atmosphere.


Next, we move into your family room that hosts all your seasonal pottery decor. On your fireplace mantle, we imagine a whole forest of current MCP owner Melanie Richardson’s whimsical, snow-covered, Who-ville-esque trees.


On the table nearby is a giant and beloved Santa gnome made by Terri Axness keeping watch on your flock with his crook.

On the floor casting light on it all is a Don Sprague garden lantern, lit with flickering candle, dancing on delighted faces.


In the windows hang Susan Wheeler’s colored glass chains, creating the stained-glass windows in this, our family chapel.


We envision your fireplace holding glowing embers of wood that highlight your stockings, which are already filled to the brim. We imagine inside them there is a little Janicek Pottery air plant whale planter, paired with one of Lorie DePoalo’s darling mermaids, an adorable Laughin’ Gnome Pottery mini gnome, a Mossy Creek diffuser pendant with beaded cord paired with one of our signature MCP essential oils, a Norman Terrill mushroom or two in different sizes, and a Siletz Bay Co. hand-crafted yummy soap.

Off to the side, we see a little table with a colorful hummingbird Dorothy Steele mug, filled nostalgically with hot chocolate and whip cream, alongside one of her matching square plates holding a slew of messily decorated Christmas cookies, sitting there already awaiting Santa.


We envision your gorgeous tree nearby decorated with a mixture of the incredibly detailed and beautiful sgraffito ornaments of Ha Austin, or a Carol Schallberger sugar skull ornament to honor your ancestors. Each one hung with appreciation and warm fuzzy feelings.


We imagine you carefully wrapping the gifts you thoughtfully picked out from MCP for those on your list and placing them under the lights of your twinkling tree. There are the pieces you hand to us to wrap in secret because the recipient is in the shop with you, and they just announced loudly that they loved it. There are the pieces you’ve shopped throughout the year from here and hold onto for the holidays.


Maybe wrapped under your tree this year, there is an eye-catching Octo mug by The Whistling Octopus, an unforgettable “Jewelry of Pottery” crystalline-glazed vase by Margaret and David Nelson, an always-gets-a-laugh Justin LeBart Moji Mug, and an incredible Paula Teplitz piece that captivatingly looks as if it was unearthed from some archaeological dig of an ancient cliffside dwelling.


On the coffee table nearby, we see a Linda Heisserman sunflower teapot, and a Rosemary Herr Fantasticals teapot, one filled with black tea and one with green.  Near them, a host of colorful Sandy Brown mugs await with a 23k gold transfer glistening on the side.

We envision all the coffee drinkers with a sturdy, round Rabun Thompson mug, because it just fits that perfect amount of coffee for staying awake when you need to like during the holidays and because your hands can hug and cradle it perfectly. Or a Nathan Rispler mug with a design that reminds you of Abuelita’s sugary pan bread.


All those who enjoy toasting with a shot of alcohol, we imagine you tossing it back neat with a unique and intriguing Diana Ryan Skully shot glass or on the rocks in one of her tumblers for the sheer novelty of it.


And, of course, we see all of us having an original Bob Richardson coaster, some inspired by the historical Malibu Tiles, to each set down our drinks on.



We truly feel the love and joy when pieces we fostered come to life in your homes even if we don’t get to see them there. We are beyond grateful we have been here for 50 years and get to be any part of each of your journeys. We spend the end of this year reflecting over the life of MCP, with all the memories, all of Julia’s words in her diary, all our interactions with Bob this year, all your countless stories you share with us over the past 50 years and all the written words in our 50th year guestbook (which we are incredibly grateful many of you for signing and sharing your Mossy love)!  It will forever be a cherished keepsake for us.


It's now time we close out this unforgettable year as we venture back to our imaginative journey for the last time. We are now back at the festive dining room table. But this time it’s a huge table full of all of us who have ever been a part of Mossy Creek Pottery over the last 50 years. With happiness, we see all our customers we’ve welcomed through our front porch, especially our returning ones, who have kept the MCP spirit alive and brought us much joy. We envision all the Creators on our ever-changing-but-still-the-same wheel of Potters and other makers who we have been blessed to share their functional and inspiring work with the world over the past five decades.


As we continue to look around this metaphoric table, we imagine John and Betty Gray of Salishan fame who sold the Richardsons the land, and who believed in this little place that could.  We now endearingly see the four Mossy Creek owner couples we’ve had over the last 50 years. At one far end of the table, our fearless and cherished pioneering homesteaders, Bob and Julia Richardson, sweetly and reassuringly side-by-side again, with Jessica nearby. They were our builders who toiled the land and set MCP on a solid foundation, literally and figuratively. For 10 years, they poured their efforts and love into MCP, along with Jessica, who was born during their MCP years. We see Bob and Julia standing and clapping proudly at how the seed they planted grew. There’s our second couple, Tom and Joanne Davis, who both have passed on. They owned Mossy Creek for 18 years, longer than any other caretaking couple, and are responsible for adding one of MCP’s most famous residents to the yard, Mossy St. Francis, who is photographed as much as our pottery. There’s our third couple, the well-loved Dan and Susan Wheeler, who preserved and grew Mossy Creek, tending to the yard and customers alike with heart and soul, and sold their own work out of MCP for 13 years. On the other far end of the table, we see our current owners/caregivers of Mossy Creek Pottery, Melanie and Don Richardson, now 9 years into their caretaking journey, who continue to carry the torch of hard work and partnership and embody beautifully the spirit of the original Richardsons of MCP.


We imagine us all together in this scene surrounding 50 years of Mossy Creek Pottery pieces, their clay bodies holding the energy of us all, underneath the ethereal star-like candlelight from a mesmerizing Myriah Tomlinson hanging lantern, its dancing light touching and connecting us all.

So, at the end of this incredible year during this holiday season, let’s each raise our beverage of choice right now, collectively, from wherever you are at on earth or in the universe … all the Potters, Proprietors and Patrons surrounding all the Pottery of Mossy Creek Pottery… together in spirit.  From one Richardson couple to another, we span across this metaphoric table and the last 50 years. With immense and humbling gratitude, we celebrate and conclude these magical, joyful, serendipitous, and memorable five decades with each of you. We are ALL Mossy Creek Pottery, an unforgettable place we each return to enjoy, even from the Other Side (we feel you, too!), this thing called Life, The Mossy Life. We each are a reason we celebrate a half of century of this special place! Cheers to 50 years, everyone, with MANY more to come!!!


Julia best describes how we feel in her diary dated August 6, 1975. She wrote:


We’re really having a good time, and we’ve been greatly encouraged by the business.


**All the pottery written about here in this article is a part of our current offerings in the shop. Unfortunately, we are unable to write about or show photos of all the incredibly talented PNW artists we host but each one and their work hold a special place in our hearts. We are honored to represent and introduce all of them to our customers in person, on our website and on Facebook/Instagram daily. Currently, we have over 55 artists as part of the Mossy Creek Family. But, as you know, potters and pieces are constantly evolving. It’s a holiday all year long at MCP. We hope to celebrate with you soon in the NEW year!


Written by Kelly Clark, who can usually be found behind the front desk in the shop, for Mossy Creek Pottery






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