It’s no coincidence that potter Beth Eaton’s new retail space is on East Potter Avenue in Bay View.
Her ceramic pendant light shades dangle in the picture window, cut-outs of stars and circles dancing on the white walls. Shelves display mugs, plates, platters and planters. A light fixture that Alt’s Antiques owner Mike Alt made from an 1890s sewing machine and antique hardware adds further air.
“In Europe, there are tiny little storefronts. I thought, there’s got to be something like that in Bay View,” Eaton says. “It’s a tiny space, but it’s warm and friendly.”
The Bay View resident – whose studio is tucked into her insulated garage – walks her dogs every morning in Seminary Woods. Nature (such as cabins, flowers and animals) inspires many of her pieces, all slabbed, stamped and painted by hand. No two are alike. “Clay’s pretty forgiving,” she says, “and I’m not a perfectionist. I like imperfection and personality.”
As a UW-Milwaukee ceramics student two decades ago, Eaton shifted from sculpture to functional items. “Everyone drinks out of a mug,” she says. “I would hate for people to put [a purchase] away and never use it.”
Her prices start at $10. Soon she’ll introduce a line to help fund RUBIES, a nonprofit educating at-risk girls about the dangers of sex trafficking; Eaton sits on the board. And she’s working on wholesale mug orders to Anodyne Coffee, Classic Slice, Sendik’s, Riverwest Co-Op, both Café Corazón locations and Alt’s Antiques, too.