Text by Bethany Adams
It didn’t take long for Susan Gordon to realize that her love of clay was going to endure. After a class on wheel-thrown pottery at Auburn University in Alabama led to a master’s degree in art education, she found herself searching for permanent access to a kiln to fire her clay creations. Persistence, as it often does, paid off, and Susan’s designs now fill the shelves of Susan Gordon Pottery, her storefront that opened its doors in Homewood, Alabama, in 2019.
While her early desire was to create sculptural, museum-quality pieces, Susan’s focus shifted as she grew older and pursued homeownership. “That’s when [my interest] naturally started to evolve into being interested in pieces that would function in the house,” she says. Eventually, the two desires merged, and her bowls, dishes, vases, and other pieces walk the line between elegance and utility.
“I love the idea of associating clay, which is more of a humble medium, with more fine materials like diamonds,” Susan says. She hopes to create heirloom-worthy pieces that can be passed down, timeless in style and fully functional, “because clay is something that lasts—like jewelry.”
While the pieces sold in her shop are often conceived in Susan’s sketchbook, which she adds to daily, or during prototype sessions on her pottery wheel, it now takes teams of talented makers and glazers to meet commercial demands for her pieces. Hand-painted patterns include decorations like poppies, leopard print, and—a massive fan favorite—hydrangeas, and most pieces are finished with a gold rim inspired by traditional porcelain and fine china.
“I feel like, historically, gold is something that’s more classic, and I definitely wanted to create something that was classic,” Susan says. She credits her affinity for timeless design and the desire to create pieces that will be appreciated across generations to her mother’s love of antiques and unwillingness to bend to passing trends.
Now, accompanied by her trusted team, Susan continues to pursue the passion she discovered in college. And by pouring care and attention into every product, she ensures her work will be appreciated as long as there is a love of beautiful things.