Cary and Elaine Hulin create clay-ful art at Holmes County Pottery
1 of 4
2 of 4
3 of 4
4 of 4
While majoring in geology during college, Cary Hulin enrolled in a pottery class to relax and take a break from academics. After that class, he changed majors and graduated with a degree in ceramics. His hands have been in the clay ever since.
Hulin and his wife, Elaine, now reside in the northwest corner of Holmes County, 35 years after his introduction to pottery. Although their business, Holmes County Pottery, is somewhat removed from the main tourist area of Amish Country, they enjoy visitors from a variety of areas and are repeatedly sought out by previous customers.
Their pottery is completely crafted on site, starting in the workshop from their homemade clay and finishing in their own wood-burning kiln. Hulin handles the wheel and Elaine does the decorating, making them a perfectly matched artistic couple.
Hulin’s pottery is distinguishable because it is functional, yet finished with the wood-firing process, a combination that is not common. His involvement in every aspect of the process is of high value to customers, and he is proud of the diligence he puts into his work.
“ Half of the enjoyment of the pot is when you’re washing dishes,” Hulin says, “because you’re handling it differently and examining the contour, curves, weight and everything else.”
One of Hulin’s favorite things about being in Holmes County is the “old sense of country,” credited to the help he receives from his Amish neighbors and friends when the kiln is fired for the wood-burning process. It is only done three times a year because of how many pots it takes to fill it. The kiln burns for three full days and cools for two, and it is all possible with the help of people he can count on who also value hard work.
After the pieces are removed from the kiln, the Hulins have an open house, during which half of the new pieces are sold in the first week. To see the newest pots and biggest selection, visit Holmes County Pottery’s Facebook page for updates on specific dates of open houses.
Discover unique forms with Jan and Vince Bowden of Bowden Design, Metal and Glass
1 of 3
2 of 3
3 of 3
The sparkling colors and textures of fused glass, metals and other materials animate the studios and gardens of Bowden Design, Metal and Glass. The former Bowden Bells, at 11671 Township Road/506 in Big Prairie, is a destination for shoppers and art lovers seeking something unique, handcrafted and fresh.
For more than 20 years, Jan and Vince Bowden have made art to complement the outdoors. It started with machinist Vince delving into the harmonious world of bell-making by recycling metal into bells. Bowden bells add gorgeous sound to any landscape, but as glass, garden sculptures and more creations—including wall art and jewelry—were added to the mix, the studio became an extended creative haven of color and form.
Nearly every unique piece incorporates recycled and found materials. Each has its own textures, features and special story. Jan Bowden’s new series of sparkling, humorous fish began with serendipity when a box of metal bottle caps showed up from an unknown friend. “Sometimes we’ll come home and there’s a pile of metal left for us,” she notes. “People leave things, [and] we don’t know who they are. It’s so sweet.”
“ Art takes time,” says the artist, who loves to feel the materials and enjoy the colors of her glass works and other art, full of vivid colors and textures. Her work is contemporary, dramatic and whimsical.
The Bowdens feel lucky to be in a community of artists and have partners in Amish Country. The Inn at Honey Run has commissioned “The Face of the Nations,” a totem pole of recycled steel, aluminum and other metals, for its Open Air Art Museum. Every winter there is an open house in the studio, with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and Bowden Design also hosts social evenings of fused-glass jewelry making. Individual art workshops can be tailored to any size.
Bowden Design may be off the beaten track, but the artists believe that brings the joy of discovery. “People tend to think of the usual places,” says Jan Bowden. “We want them to explore. Come have an adventure!”