Wynne Noble has been perfecting her pottery skills since she made her first piece at summer camp 50 years ago.
But what started as a childhood hobby has turned into churning 500 pounds of clay into bowls, mugs, plates, and platters each week with the help from a team of seven at Noble Pottery, her Greenwood studio.
"The plates and bowls that we make are all of-a kind," Noble said. "They're not exactly the same one to the next, but they definitely go together."
Noble's distinctive and decorative tableware can be seen in restaurants around the city, from small cafés to well-known restaurants like Gramercy Tavern. Chefs say her unique creations can influence how they prepare and present their food. Most recently, she landed a deal with Seabourn Cruise Line Ships, meaning her bowls and plates will travel around the globe.
"When somebody calls me from Tokyo and says that they are interested in my dinnerware, it's a wonderful surprise," she said.
Although the majority of her clients are restaurant owners, Noble does sell her creations online. Standard plates sell for $15 to $50, but personalized items can cost more than $400. Noble says that's why it's been critical for her to develop a loyal client base, especially at a time when online retail giants like Amazon are making it difficult for small shops to stay afloat.
"If you have the budget and you like the idea that a human being actually made the things that you are using, I think it makes a difference in your life," Noble said.
Noble hopes that, by making her mark on people in Brooklyn and around the world, she'll inspire others to pursue their passion. Although some call pottery a dying art, Noble says her business is standing strong, and believes any career path is possible with the right commitment.
"It's a balancing act," she said. "I think the most important thing is to make sure you got your skill set, make sure you know what you want, and then just go for it."
Noble says she hopes to expand her offerings in the future to include sculptures and decorations.
But, right now, she is excited to see how far her dinnerware travels.
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