LITTLE VALLEY, N.Y. — Elliott Hutton went to college and studied oil painting. Her husband, Michael, studied English literature.
He wound up spending his professional career as a registered nurse. Elliott started a small pottery business to bring in some extra cash.
"We had two small children, I was trying to think of a way that I could stay at home and try to earn a living to help supplement his income," Elliott said. "So in college, I had taken a pottery class as a senior, just a semester of basic ceramics and I really enjoyed clay and decided that I could see if I could do something at home."
Her side business turned into a 40-year career as the owner of Hog Shed Studio Pottery.
Aptly named after the former Hog Shed that was standing across the street from the Hutton's Little Valley farm.
"Machinist Shed Studios didn't sound right," Elliott said.
It's hard to say just how many clay stoneware creations Elliott has crafted in four decades.
"Thousands, I would think, especially small cups," Elliott said.
Her husband, Michael, is the official chief of odd jobs in the studio, in charge of maintaining their gas-fired kiln and keeping equipment operating.
"My background as a registered nurse did not prepare me for firing a kiln," Michael said.
Elliott's pottery reflects the beautiful nature surrounding her studio in Little Valley, as well as her training as an oil painter. She uses pottery as a canvas with various glazes and designs, each piece similar, yet unique.
"The landscape has been a very inspiring place to live and work, for sure," Elliott said. "I wouldn't I wouldn't have changed anything."
But after 40-year, 2022 will be the final year behind her clay wheel.
Elliott and Michael are retiring at the end of the year.
"Forty years just seemed like a good number, you know, four decades," Elliott said. "We're just kind of looking ahead to the future and what comes next."
Time with the grandchildren and possibly moving closer to them is one of those things that could come next for Elliott and Michael.
"It doesn't feel like I'm retiring from the pottery," Michael said. "Although if Elliott scales down and begins to use a smaller electric kiln, my role certainly will be shortened, I just have to learn to go fishing or something."
Hog Shed Studio Pottery will remain open for the rest of the year. They’ll hold their annual holiday open house in November.
Elliott will also participate in the Allentown Art Festival, of which Elliott has two blue ribbons from past years.
"We have met hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people who have, who keep coming back, which just is astounding," Elliott says. "They've bought pottery for themselves and for others."
"That's very meaningful to me," Elliott said.