Why Is It Called East Fork?

Why Is It Called East Fork?

When I bought the old tobacco farm in 2009, I had no idea it would lead to all of this. I only knew that I wanted to make “pots,” and that to do it in the way that I wanted, I needed to be in the countryside, where the smoke from the occasional firing of the wood-kiln wouldn’t upset the neighbors or attract the fire department.

I bought the farm, complete with a falling down barn, ramshackle farmhouse, and outhouse, without a thought of what I would call the pottery. The name, I trusted, would come to me.

The story behind the name itself is pretty pedestrian: East Fork was the name of the community where the farm was located. The name had a sense of expanse and mystery to it. The East Fork of what? It conjured visions of valleys and watersheds, opening out into an unknown horizon.

There are East Forks all over the world; almost every river has one. In our case, it was the East Fork of Bull Creek, a small mountain stream that drains the larger Grapevine Community in eastern Madison County. The reality is often not as grand when the curtain is pulled back.

The more interesting (and loaded) question was why, with such a recognizable last name, I didn’t name the pottery after myself but the answer to this is also quite simple: I wanted to make something that would stand on its own, separate from what at the time felt like an omnipresent and inescapable family legacy.

I didn’t want the name of the thing I was going to build to constantly remind people of someone else, even if that reminder was of one of the most famous painters in the world. I wanted it to have the freedom to become something solitary in how it stood in the world. It was a little escapist, but the fact that many of you reading this probably had no idea that it was founded by the great-grandson of Henri Matisse is my own little private victory, and now years later, it’s just another interesting side note to this peculiar and wonderful company.

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Proud of you Alex and Connie and of course East Fork for what you are doing! Still enjoy the earlier work that we have in our collection.

Monty and Ann

I visited East Fork when it was up in East Fork. Always an enlivening place to go to and I always marveled at the artistry of the wood fired kiln. I regret that I don’t own more of the pottery from that epoch.

Early on I read Alex’s bio in which he stated the came “from a family of artists and anthropologists.” Made me laugh. Of course with a name of Matisse, what more need be said? And while he can’t escape that heritage is has wonderfully, looking in from the outside, not let it define him or pigeon hole.

I remain a big fan of East Fork. As much as I enjoy the current iteration of the pottery , I value more the ethic underlying it, ie, the B Corp status and all that implies, the more than livable entry wage, the willingness to hire the difficult-to-hire, the support of socially conscious non profits. It almost makes me feel self righteous to buy from y’all.

Gary Ross-Reynolds

I feel like knowing the Matisse connection at this point makes it even more incredible. East Fork Pottery stands on its own- a very powerful and true statement. I’ve only acquired four pieces so far but each is a treasure and I look forward to getting more!

Clarke Jane

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