Interview with Artisan Karen Fiorino from Clay Lick Creek Pottery

I am delighted to introduce you to Ms. Karen Fiorino. She is the driving talent behind Clay Lick Creek Pottery. I want to thank Ms. Fiorino for answering a few questions for our audience! Enjoy!

1. When and why did you start your business? 

I started my business in 1998. At the time, I was using the local Craft Shop and I was making so much work I needed my own studio. My husband and I built the barn where my studio is housed, I joined local Art guilds for contacts, sold at the local farmers, and treated my art as a business, to be professional so I could succeed.  However, my Etsy shop has been in business for a year.

2. How did you come up with the name Clay Lick Creek Pottery? 

The land that we live on has a creek running through, named Clay Lick Creek. There are clay deposits in the creek­I do not mine this clay, although I have used a bit for slip work. This clay, while white in the creek, fires to a peachy orange at cone 04.  Funny thing is, when we bought the property, I wasn’t making pottery.

Black and white tuxido cat mug. photo courtesy of Clay Lick Creek Pottery

3. Your products are so colorful and cute! What inspires you?

Stories! Critters! Flowers! All three combined!  One of my best ways to be inspired is experiencing  things­going different places, seeing different things. Another great way is through stories. I love hearing others stories and sometimes this funny image comes in my head and I just have to make it!

4. How would you define your style?

My style is a funky, whimsical, essence of Karen type of style. I’ve been told, when someone sees my work at others houses, or recently a photo someone posted on Facebook, they know it’s mine straight away!  It’s a fun and joyful style­making people smile is one of the nicest things that happens when they come into my booth at art fairs.

5. How do you measure success?

As long as work disappears from my studio and I can continue to create work, I think I’m doing fine.  Of course, a full money box doesn’t hurt either!

6. In your opinion, what is the best way to advertise a craft business? How do you advertise yours?

I have business cards, mail postcards to past patrons before Art shows, been using email, but I find people like the postcard to hang on the refrigerator. I use my Facebook business page to show studio happening. That is a recent advertising development and so far is positive. After 15 years, locally people just know me and my work. I think the best advertisement  is people who have purchased my work spread the word about my work.

7. Our favorite question: if you were to start all over again, what would you differently?

I would have a bigger space for teaching. I get so many requests to teach, if I had the space, (and the time) I could hold workshops in my studio. Although, a good offer has come my way to how a workshop.

8. Any advice for fellow craft business owners?

Keep doing what you love and it shows. People are craving for unique work, try not to follow trends­be aware of them, but don’t copy.  Best tip—keep doing what you love,  people will sense it and be attracted to the life in your work!

Black and white Border Collie Dog Bowl. photo courtesy of Clay Lick Creek Pottery

You can see my works online at : ,,or  

In person, I am a member of the Illinois Artisans Program and have work at the Southern Illinois Artisans shop at Rend Lake, Whittington, IL and The Museum Shop in Springfield, IL and locally at Visions Art Gallery in Makanda, IL.

I’m in the process of applying for art shows for 2011—and so far I have been accepted to An Art Affair, a fine art show in Springfield, Il in March, Art on the Square, Taylorville, IL in June, and Best of Missouri Market, St. Louis in October.  I will post the schedule on my website when shows are confirmed.

2 thoughts on “Interview with Artisan Karen Fiorino from Clay Lick Creek Pottery”

  1. Thanks Betty!—I enjoy interviewing for various articles and getting my story out!

    Cheers and stay warm!


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