“KEEP THE FIRE ALIVE”: a transcontinental match for arts and crafts

We are Tammeron and Anna Francis—a husband and wife united by our passion to create with hands and teach arts. Tammeron is from the USA, Anna – from Bulgaria, Europe. We met online and started dreaming of a family business dedicated to arts and crafts in a wilderness setting.

During our American-European virtual dialogue Tammeron shared a book with Anna: a ceramic textbook by Mary Chase Stratton, the founder of Pewabic Pottery in Detroit. Tammeron’s grandmother studied ceramics under Mary Stratton. The teacher has signed the book with the words “Keep the fire alive.” The year was 1941. When we started our family life in the USA, we decided to take pottery classes together. Among the many opportunities, we selected the Pewabic classes in Detroit – to continue the family tradition and “keep the fire alive”.

In 2018, we started our own arts and craft studio in a family property in a lake/forest area in northeast Indiana. Anna enjoyed a dynamic library career in Bulgaria. As an officer for the Bulgarian library Association her duties took her to professional exchange in Europe, United States, South America and Africa. Tammeron’s background is in architecture and design. Anna has been a ceramic hobbyist for 7 years and started selling on Etsy in 2015 as Clayana. Tammeron first touched clay in 2016 when he bought a wheel while preparing the studio. With his broad experience in architecture, design and drawing, the move to clay as a new media of expression did not take long and very soon yielded impressive results.

Our work is influenced by nature. We have the privilege to live in a property with unspeakable beauty of a lake, lavish forest, vineyard and vegetable garden. The clay takes shape under the symphony of hummingbirds, blue jays, geese and Sand-hill cranes. With chipmunks jumping and deer silently darting around us, we create our happy pots and “keep the fire alive”.