You might just know Michael Sowers, owner of Classic Lines Pottery, from all the years he’s been at the market, 15 years to be exact, and in all that time he’s only missed two markets. What an amazing feat and certainly a reason to come check out his amazing pottery.
He started making pottery in high school in 1970. Apparently the school had an unused pottery wheel, mostly because nobody knew how to use is, so of course Michael taught himself how to use it and then went on to sell his first piece which was a teapot.
He eventually earned his BFA in Arizona and worked odd jobs for a bit as he earned the money to buy his own studio equipment. In 1995 he was finally able to purchase his very own house and his very own pottery equipment.
Michael started the market in 2001 and has since become quite famous for his French butter dishes and cups. It was only his second year at the market when he was asked multiple times about whether he had French butter dishes, and so he decided to try his hand at making them. He now whips out 60 dishes about three times a month to keep up with demand, that’s over 1,000 every year! Even while his quantity is high, he never foregoes quantity for quality.
As for his cups, he advises people to buy more than one since he knows full well that his customers will fight over it being their favorite once they get home and then of course have to return to the market for more. Michael states that his goal is to make your favorite cup, the one that fits your hand and holds the right amount. He’s quite proud that recently Susan Sarandon bought two of his cups. It’s not the fact that a celebrity bought them; it’s the fact that she has probably tried thousands of cups all over the world and in the end she chose his cup, not to mention she chose two of them!
About most of his work Michael would say that there is a strong Chinese influence dating back to the Ming dynasty. He was fascinated with their techniques and has managed to find a way to recreate them, and this influence can be seen in the different types of pottery he makes.
When asked what he enjoys most in life, he seems to reflect back on his pottery. “I’m really happy with where my life’s at! I get excited every time I unload the kiln. I’m living the dream!”
You can find Michael’s work online through his website, at the Ketchum Farmer’s Market from mid-June until mid-October, at Taters in Boise, and at the market every Saturday. His booth is located near the west corner of state and 8th.