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10 Questions with Barnstable Pottery's Kevin Nolan

Kevin feels Barnstable Village is a gift. Feel free to drop by anytime--Bourbon will be waiting for you (and Kevin, too).

10 Questions, Shoot!

Q: What did you dream of being as a kid?

I always wanted to do something with my hands, whether it was working with wood or automobiles.  I still do a little of both, but when I started working with clay, there was no going back.

Q: How does your personality play into your business?

It’s a big part of it.  I like talking to people, and there is a “welcome to my kitchen” atmosphere.  I work right out in the front of the building, so that when people walk in, they get a sense that they are invited to stay and talk with me. 

Q: At what moment did you decide to open a business?

I grew up in Connecticut, and a high school teacher introduced me to pottery.  I didn’t do a whole lot with it then, until I visited Scargo Pottery, in Dennis.  I just knew that this was what I was going to end up doing.

Q: What inspired you?

The work itself, the atmosphere.  The process itself is the inspiration. I was at Scargo Pottery for 20 years.  It’s a different kind of place, set back in the woods, but I hope that, even though I am on a main road, I have captured the warmth and magic Scargo has.

Q: Describe the biggest challenge of owning a business in the town of Barnstable?

It’s a seasonal place, and budgeting through the winter is difficult.  Aside from that, there are difficulties with having a business at all, like trying to keep up a nice atmosphere while struggling with some of the daily aspects.  I also work with students, which is a lot of fun, but teaching can be challenging—you have to be more articulate.  But part of the drive to do well is the challenge itself.

Q: Describe the best thing about owning a business in the town of Barnstable?

I am so welcomed by the community.  A lot of people visit, and I think that’s so important to this business.  The people who regularly visit me often bring their own visitors, because they like being able to just drop in and talk and learn new things. Of course, you have to sell to stay open, and I do sell a lot, but being part of the community is what it’s about. 

Q: What is one thing you would never change about your business?

To have a working studio where I sell.  In my heart, the work is more important than the money.

Q: What is your business’ greatest asset?

My Bassett Hound, Bourbon.  After my previous Bassett Hound died, 3 ladies from the Village found a breeder and actually bought him for me.  As much as I work on creating a friendly, warm environment, more people come here to see Bourbon than they do me!

Q: What is your favorite spot in town?

I like a lot of different places!  I buy my coffee at Nirvana.  The Tavern Restaurant and the Dolphin Restaurants are great.  I also just like being here.  I love everything about being in this village--it’s very quaint.

Q: What’s one thing the community should know about you?

I’ve been here for eight years, and I’ve always wanted to thank the Village for welcoming me.  When I decided to leave Scargo and open my own studio, there was a little trepidation.  But everyone was so wonderful.  I’ve often thought about writing a letter in one of the newspapers, just to say that I feel so lucky, and I feel so comfortable here.  Being here is a real gift.  I love it here.

Phyllis Detwiler August 14, 2011 at 11:43 AM
Kevin is such an asset to the Village!
Helene E. Logan July 05, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I found this article when I was mentioning recalling Kevin's work to someone (I was in that high school class with him). He had an obvious, immediate, natural affinity for the wheel--at least to all of us standing there! His work was (and is, obviously) artistic, mature, simply lovely. Seeing such a natural talent unfold certainly left an impression.

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