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Success, one bead at a time

McDonald builds thriving handmade jewelry, pottery business in 5 short years

BY MOLLY HAINES RIDDLE

Sweet Owen Editor


MONTEREY RESIDENT TERESA McDONALD shapes clay that will eventually become a coffee mug during a recent pottery workshop at Owenton’s Slippery Rock Signs. McDonald began her business, Bridge Street Jewelry & Pottery, five years ago, focusing on handmade jewelry and has since expanded to include pottery, and pottery and ceramics workshops. — Photo by Molly Haines Riddle/Sweet Owen Editor

On a quiet, overcast evening in Owenton, two women sit at a folding table inside Slippery Rock Signs. Little chatter is heard as the pair concentrates on their project: a coffee mug with intricate detailing. The instructor, a congenial woman with a genuine smile and evident passion for her art, spends time with each of her students, giving them pointers and encouragement along the way. While the scene may seem ordinary to passersby, those inside know their instructor has built a viable business from the ground up in only a few short years.

A resident of the Monterey community, Teresa McDonald’s Bridge Street Jewelry & Pottery began as a jewelry-making pastime.

“About five years ago, I started making jewelry for myself; then I decided I could take my hobby and develop it into a viable business,” she said. “I started selling to family and friends, and now I am in several storefronts.”

Since then, McDonald has expanded her business to include pottery and hosts numerous pottery and ceramic classes at Slippery Rock Signs, a boutique-like business located on Owenton’s courthouse square.

The workshops are ever-increasing in popularity with those looking for a unique girls-night-out experience to church Sunday school groups.

“I started pottery workshops at Slippery Rock Signs in July 2021, a few months after the shop opened,” McDonald said. “Pottery workshops are my favorite part of my business. Some people find the thought of making pottery a little intimidating at first, but at the workshops, we go step by step together, so you don’t need the experience to do it. Most people say it’s easier than they thought it would be and are excited about the pieces they make.”

Always one to try something new, McDonald’s introduction to pottery and ceramics began four years ago after taking a pottery class herself, “I was instantly hooked.”

“(Pottery) is also a great way to meet new people and just come together to have fun,” McDonald explains. “If you don’t want to roll out clay and make pottery, I also have ceramics for all ages, so you can glaze pieces that are already made.”

BRIDGE STREET JEWELRY & POTTERY OWNER Teresa McDonald’s work can be found for sale at multiple outlets in Owen County. — Photo by Molly Haines Riddle/Sweet Owen Editor

Like so many of her Monterey counterparts, McDonald’s artisanship—both jewelry and pottery—can be found across Owen County at locations such as Elk Creek Hunt Club, Elk Creek Winery, Slippery Rock Signs, and the Owen County Visitor Center & Gift Shop. She also attends a few festivals each year and points to Sweet Owen Day as a personal favorite, “You meet a lot of people, and it’s great seeing the community come together,” she adds.

Outside of storefronts currently carrying her wares, McDonald takes “all kinds” of custom orders for those looking to add a personal flair to their items.

“People have brought me a variety of things to make jewelry out of, from sentimental items to seashells they picked up on the beach.”

Although McDonald isn’t looking to expand into other items, she says there’s always the possibility and encourages anyone with a passion for handmade items to look at its business potential.

“If it’s something you enjoy, you should try it,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be a large business to be successful.”

Find Bridge Street Jewelry & Pottery on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BridgeStreetJewelry. A complete listing of upcoming pottery and ceramic workshops can be found on the Bridge Street Jewelry & Pottery Facebook page or the Slippery Rock Signs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/slipperyrocksigns.

Upcoming Workshops:

6 p.m., Monday, Dec. 12

Ceramic Workshop, $25

Come anytime from 6-8 p.m. to glaze ceramics.

6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 13

Pottery Workshop

Make Christmas ornaments, $8 each or 3 for $20 (8 spots available)

1-4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17

Ceramic Workshop

Come anytime to glaze ceramics

To sign-up for an event, comment on the event on the Slippery Rock Signs Facebook page, or contact Bridge Street Jewelry & Pottery, bridgestreetjewelry@gmail.com.

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