Aloe Frost is a one-person business (still!) that I nervously launched in October 2018 with the goal to create a diverse but cohesive collection of planters and functional handmade pottery. Although I am always making changes and improvements and expanding the line, I am humbled by what it has become in such a short time.
I converted a century-old smokehouse and the adjoining outbuilding on my Eastern North Carolina farm into my studio when I outgrew the closet I had originally squeezed my potter's wheel into. Things quickly became tight again, and a shipping and display building was added beside the production room. Luckily there is room for more expansion if needed, and I am planning to add in perennial and sculpture gardens as time permits.
My life has involved a lot of playing in the dirt! I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm surrounded by nature, and I spent a lot of my time watching wildlife, drawing, and learning about history and different cultures. My dream job changed a lot as I grew up, from ornithologist to Mayanist to Egyptologist to folklorist to linguist. By the time I was in high school I wanted to pursue an artistic career, but I needed to be more realistic and decided not to pursue it. I went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I studied Classics and archaeology (including a summer dig in Crete) before settling on a major in American Studies. After graduating, I returned to the farm to help my parents with their produce and greenhouse business. A few years after my father's death, with the stress of trying to manage a farm starting to take its toll, I realized I needed a creative outlet and began looking for something to help reconnect with my earlier dreams. I considered painting and photography, but there was a group pottery studio only thirty minutes away. I had never touched a potter's wheel before and had only made a couple of small handbuilt items in elementary and middle school, but I had spent some time with Greek and Catawba pottery during my time at college, and I had picked up a lot of potsherds from the fields while harvesting produce on the farm, so it seemed like a natural fit. The first six months were a struggle, and I only made around a dozen pieces in that time. I considered giving up, but I was determined to learn how to make pottery, so I purchased my own potter's wheel to practice at home whenever I had free time. After a couple of months, I was finally able to make pieces I was somewhat satisfied with, including some small face planters. My first show was in the fall of 2017, and my pots were popular! From that point on, I was hooked and made up my mind to become a full-time potter. It took another couple of years of practice to get to that point, but I am grateful everyday to be able to do what I love for a living.
Although the majority of my time seems to be spent making or thinking about pottery, I still try to enjoy simple things like cooking, sketching, working in the greenhouses and garden, learning about art, history, anthropology, philosophy, nature, and language, and spending time with friends and my cat, Swayze.