- Associated Press - Monday, June 15, 2015

SOUTHPORT, N.C. (AP) - When Arbor Creek resident Pat Jasinnas accompanied her husband on a business trip to Canada in 2010, neither he nor she could have ever imagined that it would be the beginning of a whole new passion and career for her.

While her husband was in his business meetings, Jasinnas attended her first pottery workshop, and that was enough to get her hooked on pottery making.

Upon returning home she joined a group of dedicated potters who met every Monday morning at the old firehouse in Southport until a fateful day in October 2012, when the town of Southport reclaimed the building for its own use, leaving the potters without a place to meet.

Jasinnas, who spent more than 30 years in human resources and administrative positions and had zero experience in marketing or business start-ups, decided to start her own business.

And she went about it like someone with a Harvard MBA.

First she called her old Monday firehouse gang and asked if they would sign up for eight-week sessions with her if she opened a new studio. Everyone jumped at the chance. Then she found a small space for her studio and gallery in the Olde Southport Village Shoppes on Howe Street.

Next she developed a business plan, and then got a loan from a bank that “took a chance on me.” She bought the equipment - a potter’s wheel, a slab roller, a clay extruder, a kiln, clay and glazes.

She also bought a freezer from a guy who will never forget that sale.

Jasinnas went to a used appliance shop and asked for a freezer that didn’t work. Obviously this was a first for that shopkeeper, so he kept trying to talk her into one that worked. And she kept resisting.

What he didn’t understand is that she wanted a freezer for a “damp box,” a place to store partly sculpted pieces where there would be enough humidity that they wouldn’t dry out. Why pay for a working freezer when it would never be plugged in?

Jasinnas’s Earth to Fire pottery studio and retail store celebrated its one-year anniversary in April. She offers eight-week teaching sessions and open pottery time on Monday through Thursday. Fridays are reserved for newbies or groups.

If your book club, bridge group, tennis buddies or golf foursome would like to try something new, give her a call at 910-742-4045 to schedule a Friday clay play day.

To accommodate vacationers, Jasinnas has a special offer. For those who will not be in the area long enough to mold, bisque, glaze and fire their pieces, a process that takes four to five weeks, she will complete their project and send it to them.

For more information and to see some of her work, check out Facebook.com/EarthToFirePottery.

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Information from: The StarNews, https://starnewsonline.com


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