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Spotlight on Berea: Tater Knob Pottery & Farm

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Posted at 7:00 PM, Sep 14, 2023

BEREA, Ky. (LEX 18) — Tater Knob Pottery and Farm has been in Berea for decades. The studio's creator, Sarah Culbreth, takes natural elements from the earth and creates unique, beautiful art pieces.

Culbreth shares she can remember the moment she fell in love with the craft. She was a student at Berea College when she saw a world-renowned potter and a woman he was with creating.

"She made this huge, big...I was blown away, mesmerized. There're pictures of me sitting with my little braids, just for hours watching her, in the full sun," says Culbreth.

Since 1980, she and her husband, Jeff Enge, have been making and sharing functional pottery with the community. The studio sits on a quiet hill on Wolf Gap Road. Culbreth describes it as her and her family's sanctuary. Every day, as she works, she teaches customers that come in.

Culbreth works in this studio with her co-partners and family: her husband, Jeff, David, and his wife. What makes the studio so unique is that Culbreth opens her door to shoppers and people interested in learning about the pottery process from start to finish. From the wheel to the pots drying to those same pots placed in the 2,200-degree kiln, and finally to the shelves. She keeps a list of what she knows is needed.

After the kiln, she shares what happens to the pots next, as she holds one of her signature luminaries. She explains they get a "Wax, glaze, clean, clean, and then fire them back together. These are a signature item of mine."

Culbreth and her family create the signature luminaries, lamps, dinnerware, bells, and more. Culbreth explains that she doesn't teach lessons but offers "life moments." The studio doors are open every Monday through Saturday from 10:00 to 5:00. She wants people to experience the magic of taking natural resources and giving them a new life.

She says, "To turn a piece of earth that has no mind, but has a memory, is something useful and functional, and have people in my life that have and still use the work that they've invested in over the 43 years I've been in business and continue to do that -- it's insanely wonderful."

Culbreth says she and her family love for people to learn how they create and their process and welcome them out here six days a week. These potters make a lot of seasonal pieces like pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, and even spider web mugs. They will all be featured at the Midway Fall Arts and Crafts Festival on September 16th and 17th. Tater Knob Pottery and Farm's pieces can also be found on their website.