Farmhouse Pottery: Stockist Spotlight, Woodstock, Vermont
Photographs by Melissa Hope & Interview by Choe Brereton
Produced in the idyllic state of Vermont, Farmhouse Pottery is a stunning brand that is quickly carving out a large and peerless niche.
Farmhouse Pottery’s charming workshop and store occupy what used to be a 1950’s Bible bindery. Over the course of a year it’s been impeccably transformed into a space as clean and elegant as the products James and Zoe Zilian create. Both exceptional artisans, she is a gifted designer, he an enviable potter.
Expansive multi-paned windows lighten the orderly workshop where James spends most of his time molding steeped lumps of clay into exquisite, functional pieces of stoneware. They are covetable: hand-dipped in white glaze with an earthy band of exposed stone at their base. In Zoe and James’ rapidly expanding repertoire of wooden utensils, jewelry, clothing, candles, and black-rimmed enamelware, the striking combination of white and stone remains the hallmark of their brand. Every simple, organic form that emerges from the potter’s wheel bears a gentle reminder of the past; of history reimagined and reborn to be more captivating than ever.
“I asked my husband to make a few pots for me so we could start living with them and enjoying them,” Zoe says, recalling their first few years in Vermont. “We would be inspired by these old, farm milk jugs and vases—old utilitarian vessels with timeless shapes we really related to. James would create similar pieces for me with [a unique form he liked]. From there we felt we wanted to share them with others, so started attending local farmers’ markets and handcraft shows where we would put up a booth and meet other makers, farmers, artisans, and foodies. We would trade pots for cheese or have a gardener come over and work for a pot. It was a really great local [way of life] to be involved in. But then, from there [our pottery] just kept evolving and growing and just kept taking off.” Alongside the dedicated running of a successful business is the tandem pleasure of raising two energetic daughters. Mia and Ava often spend time at the workshop, making beads, gathering eggs from the chickens fenced in on the premises, and interacting with milling employees who, over time, have come to be regarded by Zoe and James as friends.
James and Zoe are understandably proud that every Farmhouse Pottery item has remained handmade as it was in the beginning. There’s no mechanical intervention; no machine that churns out a characterless procession of clones. The resulting process is hands-on from start to finish with every step manually guided by James or a member of his team. Ultimately, it’s about authenticity, and authenticity often requires sacrifice.
On a scale of endurance, Farmhouse Pottery is heirloom quality, thanks to the care and dedication James and Zoe pour into perfecting their craft. Just like them, the appealing honesty of each piece is enough to endear it to our souls forever.
Farmhouse Pottery is located at 1837 West Woodstock Rd. (Rt 4) Woodstock, VT 05091 and is open Monday - Saturday: 10 - 5, Sunday: 10 - 4. Pay them a visit on your next stop in Vermont.
James and Zoe are featured in print Volume 04, The Process Issue. Snag your copy for more of their story and a peek into their artful home.