Valerie Valvo makes timeless pieces of handmade pottery. Her collection ranges from muggs to jars to plates. She makes these exquisite pieces in her studio behind her house. She uses a pottery wheel and an electric kiln to create these masterpieces.
Valerie was struggling to find something to make her pottery local. To be a vendor at the farmers’ market the products that you are selling have to contain something local in them. For instance, vegetables and flowers have to be grown in Cleveland County, her pottery needed something that was local to Cleveland County.
Using her creative mind, Valerie decided to use wood ash in her art. The wood ash would come from her trees in her yard. She would burn the tree limbs and use the ash in her glaze. The wood ash glaze would give her pottery a nice finished look.
After she makes her pottery she lets it dry before putting it in a bisque fire. A bisque fire is a drying process where pottery is placed in a kiln where it heats up to 1600 or more degrees. The hot temperature causes the moisture to be taken out of the clay. After the moisture is taken out of the pores, the clay can then accept the glaze. Then she puts it in another fire that heats up to 2100 degrees. It causes the pottery to be nonporess and the glaze will be glass like. It varies how many pieces of pottery she can get done in a day. On a good day she can make thirty mugs in one hour. She loves making lidded jars. The coffee mugs are her best sellers.
Valerie has been making pottery for ten years. But before that she attended the prestigious Art Institute of Pittsburgh. She got a degree in graphic art and studied fine arts.
Valerie did not grow up in Shelby and by attending the farmers’ market it helps her get to know people. Shelby reminds her of her hometown. It feels like home and she loves it here. Valerie does her best to support the other local vendors. “It is important to support each other”, said Valerie. Come by and purchase your soon-to-be favorite coffee mug from Valerie at the Foothills Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.