My Story

The short of it:
Thanks for stopping by! I'm Bonna(she/her). I'm a queer multi-disciplinary artist/maker working in hand-built ceramics, carved wood and formed metal. I live in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with my sweet husband, Tony, who also plays the part of my kiln tech, studio assistant and best friend. We have two cats, Basil and Penelope, and our hound dog, Margot. 

Some facts about me:  I love growing, cooking and talking about food, and also making and listening to music, practicing yoga, traveling, reading, hiking and kayaking. I daydream like it's my job and I could spend the rest of my life poking around well-curated museums, boutiques, thrift shops and antique stores. I love a good home renovation project and am always itching to start a new one.

What you can expect from me in this space is an offer of pieces that come from a place deep in my heart with as little waste hitting the landfill as possible. I also curate pieces from other small brands to compliment my handmade goods.

The long of it:
I grew up wild and free with three brothers in Menomonie, Wisconsin on a 40 acre hobby farm where we raised chickens and rabbits and where my mom's flower gardens and my dad's landscaping continue to take my breath away to this day. That pocket of the world means so much to me that I got married there in 2013.

When I was 19, we lost my oldest brother, Joe, to his own hand after a lifelong battle with depression. After losing my brother, my whole view of the world shifted dramatically, but I wasn't really sure what to do with that. I took my name off of the waiting list for nursing school, quit my job working as a personal care assistant in a group home and after a family trip to the ocean to collectively face some of our grief, I came home and took a job working at Starbucks. I started working my way up the lower rungs of that corporate ladder but threw a stick in the spokes right before I was being promoted to manage my own store. I quit and started nannying for my little brother who had just welcomed my niece, Stella, into the world.  The drastic change in schedule and scenery was exactly what I needed to realize I had been on auto pilot trying my best to ignore the healing I needed. I spent the next several years nose to nose with those big feelings I now know are impossible to outrun. Not long after that, Tony acquired ownership of a local used car dealership through his own hard work and loyalty, which he has turned from a failing buy-here-pay-here lot into a pillar of our community, which has allowed me to focus on my creative work, a gift I am forever grateful for. 

In 2019, a friend of mine was curating a large space at one of our city's largest art fairs and invited me to bring a handful of pieces in to sell. I honestly wasn't expecting to be so fulfilled by interacting with people who were also interacting with my creative work.  At the time, I was experimenting with block printing and wall-hung weavings, but I knew I wasn't quite settled there. I was also making moves to open a delivery-based bakery business out of the local rentable commercial kitchen, so I found myself having to make a choice between my art and baking professionally. I wanted to be able to put my all into whatever I was doing without being distracted.  After some serious reflection, I shifted my focus to my creative work, which was the option that allowed for the most control of my time and has turned out to be so incredibly fulfilling and gratifying. I'll let you in on a little secret, though: I still have big dreams of opening a brick and mortar operation with a bakery/café element in the future. 

By 2020, I found my way from carving linoleum for block printing into carving wooden spoons and picture frames, and I had started to scratch the itch for clay by getting into Precious Metal Clay, which went hand-in-hand with jewelry making and other small-scale metalwork. We were knees deep in a global pandemic when I decided to really start considering my creative work my career and not a collection of hobbies. It was only then that I was able to acknowledge that what I was craving most was to go back to the ceramics I had dearly missed since high school. Tony and I worked hard and DIY'd our way through transforming our tiny spare room to my studio. Tony, who is one of those Jack of All Trades types, meticulously planned a kiln build, and we upgraded from the 6"x6"x6" kiln I was firing in to the one we use today, which is quite a bit larger than that. In the end, we've turned roughly 75sq.ft. of barely usable space into a multi-functioning studio that I am happy to work in. 

I'm truly grateful for the winding path that has led me to working for myself and growing my business day by day, and I'm even more grateful to have you along for the ride!