Casey Luther creates one-of-a-kind designs at Fireside Pottery

What started as an elective college class for Casey Luther has launched into a thriving local business for the Springfield-native.

Luther is the owner and sole artist of Fireside Pottery, which develops handmade creative and functional ceramics to customers locally and beyond.

Luther started working with clay while attending Wittenberg University, where he was first introduced to the artistic medium while picking an elective. The in-high-demand class is typically reserved for senior students, but Luther was able to take it because of his role as a resident advisor for his dorm.

The class gave Luther that chance to hone his abilities at the potter’s wheel throughout his college experience.

As a creative, he was initially attracted to this form of art because it allows him to work with his hands and be more involved in the physical world.

“I like being able to see and feel what I've created after an extended period of time. I don’t feel a sense of accomplishment with writing or painting. I don’t have the patience to draw subjects either so I would always go for much more abstract forms,” he says. “... working with ceramics allows me to lose myself in the process of making, and you don’t necessarily have to know what you're making. The bowl you started with an idea of can end up any unique way that you didn't particularly picture at the start, and that’s why I love it.”

Luther attributes his handy-work to his childhood curiosity of dismantling electronics and familiarizing himself with the functions of each piece. He eventually moved into repairing cell phones, then developed an interest into craftsmanship and woodwork.

“I’ve always been a builder. I don’t like to go buy a table if I can find some wood to create my own,” Luther says.

A real jack-of-all-trades, this handyman has relied on his abilities to literally build his business from the ground up. Much of the furniture and some of the materials more specific to ceramics that are found in his studio space in Hatch Artist Studios were created by Luther himself.

“This skill also allows me to hand-craft more geometric and artistic pieces of ceramic, such as trays,” he says. “The nice thing with ceramics though is that if you make a mistake, it’s very easy to try again. Because of that you may even figure out a new way to improve the piece.”

Luther hopes to bring life to Springfield through pottery and to give back to his hometown by providing value and opportunity.

He says he wants “to make Springfield a cooler and better place to live ... because I really like it here.”

Luther says he takes a sense of pride in the city, which comes from his education, his friendships and his family, coupled with the hope he has felt in the midst of “downtown’s redevelopment after it feeling like a ghost town for some time.”

He describes how the fabric of the community makes it a great place to start a business because it is woven together so closely.

“It's great because everybody somehow knows everyone else, which you will come to understand if you engage enough,” he says.

And Luther hopes to give back to a community that he feels has provided so much for him.

“Springfield’s response has been great. From the startup of sales by word of mouth to the markets and the community – everybody was interested in my work and seeing how they could get involved,” he says.

To help pay the creativity forward, Fireside Pottery is offering six-week lessons every two months. Classes are $200, which includes clay and materials, instruction, and extra time to meet on off-days and practice what you have learned. And attendees get to keep whatever they create.

The studio for Fireside Pottery is on the ground floor of the Hatch Art Studios, and you can stop in on First Fridays each month from 5 to 9 p.m. Patrons can also find Luther out and about with his products at the Springfield Farmer’s Market from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays through the end of September on Market Street between COhatch Springfield and the Heritage Center. In colder weather, Luther sets up at the winter Market at Mother’s inside Mother Stewart’s Brewery.

For more information about Fireside Pottery, visit the Facebook page or website. And for questions or custom orders, contact Luther at [email protected] or 937-561-4330.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.