Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Where is your studio/gallery in Virginia?

A. We are some 25 miles (35 minutes) north of West Jefferson/Jefferson, Ashe County, North Carolina. Go North on Hwy.16 from Jefferson, NC, for 18 miles to Mouth of Wilson, Va. Turn right on US58 for 4 miles. Turn left on Fox Creek Road (Route 711) and go 1 1/2 miles to Little Fox Creek Rd. (Route 680) dirt road, turn right-go 1/2 mile to Foxfire Lane, turn right-go 400 yards to the end of the lane to #333.

Coming from other directions? Find your way to Independence, Virginia.

From Elkin, NC (I-77), Roaring Gap and Sparta, NC
Follow US21 North to the Junction of US21 / US58 in Independence, VA

From Hillsville, VA (I-77) and Galax, VA
Follow US58 West to Independence, VA

From Wytheville, VA (I-81)
Go South on US21 to Indpendence, VA

When you arrive in Independence, VA
Go to the junction of US21 / US58 at the traffic light in front of the old courthouse. Proceed West on US58 for 9 miles. Turn Right on Fox Creek Road (Rte 711). Go 1 1/2 miles to Little Fox Creek Road (Rte 680), a good dirt road, turn Right. Go 1/2 mile to Foxfire Lane, turn Right. Go 400 yards along the creek, past our pond and the flags to the end of the lane #333.

We would love to see you but since we are so remote and don't keep regular hours, please call ahead to make sure we are here. By the way, cell phones don't' work too well around here either. We have a pretty little gallery and a wonderful front porch by the creek-perfect for a glass of wine and a chat.

Q. How do we acquire a piece of your work if we aren't able to visit your gallery?

A: Each piece we make is an individual work of art and even our sets of dinnerware are created in harmonious groupings rather than identical place settings. It is best therefore, if you call us by telephone and talk to us about what you have in mind. Call 1-800-764-2402. If we have what you want, we will be happy to ship it to you. We welcome telephone orders and do not charge shipping or out-of-state taxes within the continental U.S. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and a personal check.

Q: Is porcelain pottery ?

A: Yes, porcelain is pottery but not all pottery is porcelain. Porcelain is a pure white clay body fired to a very high temperature (white heat - 2400 F ) which is very strong and therefore can be formed much thinner than other clays. Finished pieces are, therefore, lighter and more translucent with excellent thermal properties (which is why our dinnerware is safe in both dishwasher and microwave oven).

Q: How do you get your beautiful colors?

A: We do not use commercial glazes. All our glazes are our own unique formulae which we have developed over the years. We are known for our soft complex range of colors but we also have strong blacks, browns and greens . Most of our pieces are given three coats of glaze which, when fired in our gas kiln at 2400 degrees, intermingle giving our pottery the depth of color which is the hallmark of our work. We make our glazes from basic material such as feldspar, kaolin, and flint. We use no lead compounds whatsoever.

Q: What is Handbuilt porcelain?

A: Basically pottery is either molded, slip cast, thrown on a potter’s wheel or hand built. Handbuilding in our case is rolling out slabs of clay, impressing them with antique lace using a rolling pin and then using the impressed slab of clay to form the various pieces . Very few props or supports are used giving the pieces a more natural form.

Q: Where does your lace come from?

A: During her twenty five years in Europe Jo Lydia collected lace. In every country she would go to antique shops and local markets to buy old lace and now has an impressive collection, much of it two to four hundred years old. The lace is completely unharmed in the process and can be used over and over again.

Q: Can you really put your dinnerware in the dishwasher?

A: Yes - you really can… and its just fine to put it in the microwave too.

Q: How long does it take you to make a piece of your pottery?

A: All of our pieces go through a lengthy nine step process from raw clay to finished pot taking 2 to 3 weeks. Most of that time, however, is needed to carefully dry the raw piece.

Q: Do we have to buy a complete dinner set?

A: Of course not. One of the nicest things about our dinnerwear is that it all goes together so well regardless of color or style. In fact, some of the nicest sets we have ever done were picked out from the selection we had on hand at the time. We keep a detailed record of what you buy so that later we can help you add to your set.

Q: Haven't I seen you somewhere?

A: Quite possibly! We've been in the following magazines...and one movie! each cover to see the article. More about our movie debut.

November 2004

September 2004

Fall 2004

August 1997

April 1990

March 1988

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Ian and Jo Lydia Craven
Handbuilt Porcelain
1896 Old Field Creek Road
Grassy Creek, North Carolina 28631
(336) 982-4460
(800) 764-2402
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