By Bethany Adams
Before Zoe and James Zilian were the names behind Farmhouse Pottery, they were college students “drawn to creating together,” says Zoe. “James created his first piece of pottery in sixth grade and immediately fell in love, and I always worked in design in some capacity,” she notes. Now, their growing Vermont-based company offers a wide range of home goods that are gaining national attention for their timeless style and unmatched quality.
Farmhouse Pottery got its start in the Zilians’ one-wheel basement studio with the creation of the Windrow Berry Bowl. “Our girls used it to pick fresh berries from the garden,” James says. “At that moment, our vision suddenly became clear.”
Now, their company is known for its simple yet noteworthy style, which is inspired by traditional designs and processes. Zoe adds that living in Vermont, where there is a slower pace of life and an appreciation for community and local makers, has inspired much of the Farmhouse Pottery style. “We believe in creating contemporary minimalism through timeless pieces,” she says. “They’re designed with the modern home in mind, but with simple style lines and warm neutral colors that will never go out of style.”
According to Zoe, the stoneware clay used in their pieces is mined in Ohio, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Tennessee before being shipped to the studio, where water and air content are tested. “Each piece is then thrown by hand on our American-made potter’s wheels,” Zoe says. “Once they’ve been shaped, they spend the night in a humidity-controlled damp room before being trimmed and hand-stamped. And finally, after a few days of drying, each piece is fired in the kiln, glazed, fired again, stone sanded, and inspected for quality.”
The Zilians want their products to be both functional and beautiful, and they place a heavy emphasis on long-lasting quality. With 10 full-time artists and a team of behind-the-scenes employees, no detail is neglected. “[Our products] are meant to be loved and used, but also look really special,” James says. “We don’t want to produce something that just fills up space in your home, but something that adds value—which is why quality is such a high priority for us.”