The Statue of Liberty was a gift of friendship to the United States from the people of France. It’s a 15-story sculpture that stands tall on what we know today as Liberty Island in the New York Harbor. The Statue was dedicated in 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924, became a part of the National Park Service in 1933 and was restored for her centennial in 1986. This colossal statue is a signature American icon, as she views over the New York Harbor; proudly representing a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.

To this day, due to the conditions created by Hurricane Sandy, the Statue of Liberty National Monument remains closed. While the storm thankfully did not harm the statue, the hurricane did manage to destroy infrastructure on Liberty Island. The Island remains without heat, plumbing and electricity. And the storm severely damaged the docks used by the ferries bringing visitors to the Island. The reality is it could optimistically be months before the island is reopened to the public, most likely later on in 2013.

Sunset Hill Stoneware is privileged to work with the Statue of Liberty Museum Store, where you were able to purchase our hand thrown ‘Made in America’ mugs. Since the museum’s online store is temporary closed, the store manager has given us permission to include mugs decorated with their “Statue of Liberty” artwork in our online store. Please know a portion of your purchase will directly benefit the museum – for us; it’s the greatest gift we can give them right now.

Keeping watch.  Pat

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Wordologies is a made up word – but after visiting the website, you realize real quick that the two women who developed the site have built wisdom in words by taking very simple meaningful terms to communicate powerful messages.

 

And there’s more. The website owners believe that living a balanced life is an inside job. At this time of year as we’re shopping, decorating, baking, cooking, entertaining, it’s a good time to remember that we do have the power to live our life better.  Our Sunset Hill team is honored to cast their daily life messages in stoneware coffee mugs.

May your season be filled with happiness, peace and giving.

Keeping watch.  Pat

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We are proud to be a National Parks Conservation Association member – an organization that works hard to make the park system accessible to all and to preserve them for future generations.

The national park system covers more than 83 million acres, including sites ranging from the homes of historical figures, battlefields, national monuments, recreation areas, etc. These sites represent the heritage and spirit of America – and Sunset Hill Stoneware is privileged to work with many state and national parks across the country.

Throughout the years, many of you have requested to purchase SHS products featuring one or more of our national park brands directly from us. Today we are pleased to announce that we are obtaining licensing agreements to fulfill your purchasing requests!

We now have licensing agreements with two Alaskan parks: Denali Parks and Glacier Bay Parks. Buy their products online – and know that a portion of your purchase benefits our national park system.  Our national park system is as American as baseball, peanuts and apple pie – one of America’s Best Ideas.  And something about that feels really good.

There's many ways to show your patriotism. Make it a great day. Tom

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Hopefully you’ve had the opportunity to read about our new production facility. Energy Smart. Production Efficient. Employee Safe. These are the qualities Fortune 500 companies strive for – and our owners have delivered on. 

Tom and his dad Duane are co-owners of SHS. Duane started his career in the label printing industry – as a start-up employee who worked side-by-side with his father; then as a co-owner of a progressive start-up company that he built and sold to a Fortune 500 company with his brother; and always as a forward-thinking inventor. Duane refers to himself as ‘Rock Solid’; I refer to him as our internal ‘Thomas Edison’. The guy doesn’t stop thinking of how we can improve our efficiencies so we can produce affordable, handcrafted stoneware for America.

Duane is amazing. The owner of many patents, he is most recognized in the label industry for his ingenuity used in creating the self-adhesive label that incorporated a peel-away top transparent film. This innovative labeling technology continues to be used routinely by leading manufacturers for couponing and promotional needs. Think about the removable game piece that McDonald’s uses for their Monopoly promotion and that is Duane’s label creativity at work.

So Duane retired from the corporate world a few years back and saw the fun his son Tom was having in the pottery business. Duane had always supported Tom in the business through the years, but now he officially joined forces with Tom and took the company's innovations to a new level unheard of in the art industry.  

  • Custom-designed pottery wheels that run so quiet you can hear a pin drop. And maintenance free to boot. 
  • Mobile damp carts that maintain a specific degree of humidity to ensure the piece reaches a dry stage ideal for handle and medallion application. 
  • Clean air units continually distributing fresh air throughout the facility.
  • An entire facility and product drying process heated by the company’s 26 kilns.

          

I could go on, but a blog should only be so long. Duane lives by his motto, ‘Simplicity of design is the result of profound thought.’ That’s a simplified version of what Thomas Edison once said, “I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others….I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent..“

Congrats to Tom & Duane on their relentless energy and vision to keep SHS employees safe while standardizing our processes!

I hope you have a team of Rock Solid employees growing your business.  Pat

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Many times there’s more to the story than what meets the eye – that holds true for our Snowpeople Mugs featured in our HolidayWare collection. 

These unique, made-in-America mugs were hand thrown by our pottery artists – and decorated by the rest of our production team.  Each clay eye, smile, button and carrot nose was carefully placed to create their sweet faces.  Then Kayla gave each Snowperson a name and personality.  In fact, some of the personalities you may find reflective to some of our staff personalities.  For instance, you’ll find Thomas Snowman who is great with kids; Kristin Snowman, our cheeriest snowbuddy and Jason Snowman, who’s a super reliable kind of guy. All in fun. 

We have a limited number of these warm-hearted Snowperson Mugs available.  Joe, Nicholas, Becky, Shelly, Jeffrey, Frederick, Willy, Jessica, Kayla, Lance, Ginger, Leo, Heather, Benji, Pat, Duane, Michael and Sarah are waiting to be adopted and put to work each day with your favorite beverage. 

Bert, Janina and Cindy Snow recently left our SHS family, but we hear they are enjoying their new homes in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  No matter the temperature outside, these guys are designed to warm your heart for years to come.

Enjoy your week.  Pat

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Vincent Thomas Lombardi is best known as the legendary head coach of the Green Bay Packers. During the 1960’s, he successfully coached the team through three back-to-back league championships including the first two Super Bowls. He’s enshrined in the NFL’s Football Hall of Fame and the National Football League named the Super Bowl trophy in his honor. Vince is an American icon to many and Sunset Hill Stoneware is thrilled to be working exclusively with the Lombardi family – casting Vince Lombardi’s image permanently in American-made stoneware.

Branded as LombardiWare™, these collectible pieces are adorned with Vince’s image, along with favorite quotes such as “Winning isn’t everything. It is the only thing.”  The collection of 12 artworks can be added to any of our mugs or steins – or if you’re in a rush, purchase ready-made pieces that can be shipped within two business days!

Like the rest of our products, each piece is handcrafted and thrown by potter’s who live, breathe and dream of Green Bay Packer victories. And it’s nice to have a few things in common with Vince – he’s got a great middle name and Vince & I share the same birthday. I’m almost like family.

Ready for Monday night.  Tom

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One of the wonderful benefits of working at Sunset Hill Stoneware is the people we meet along the way. They all have a story to tell. Such is the case for Susan Berry, an international authority on proper ringing.

Susan is the author of Healthy Ringing, a comprehensive publication that single-handedly changed the way handbell musicians and individual handbell choirs approach their instrument.  She’s co-authored instructional manuals, videos and has traveled the world sharing her artistic craft. 

Today, Susan is the president of Handbell Services, Inc. located in Michigan. Established in 1990, HSI has become the world's largest supplier of handbell-related gifts.  She has a brick and mortar store, online store and exhibits at many handbell festivals and conferences targeting handbell enthusiasts. 

Ringwear® (a collection of fun t-shirts), handbell gloves, polishing cloths and tiny turn page clips designed for turning music pages are all available for purchase. To complement the store’s offering Susan works with talented artists and American manufacturers – like Sunset Hill Stoneware. In fact, Susan’s son, Allen designed the HSI artwork featured on SHS stoneware pieces.

Today hand thrown Sunset Hill Stoneware pieces are sold in their store and online to their global audience.

When you see bell ringers and hear the joyful sounds of handbell choirs, think of Susan and the impact her musical passion communicates to all languages.   

Keeping Watch. Pat

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Jul
23
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If you’re an aviation enthusiast, there’s only one place on earth to be this week – at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.  This event is America’s largest annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts held each summer.

Founded in 1953, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) began as an organization for people who hand built or restored their own recreational aircraft.  Today, this event is an international gathering estimating that 10,000-15,000 aircrafts will fly for the event – making the airport's control tower the busiest control tower in the world. This week-long event all takes place within 20 miles from Sunset Hill Stoneware’s production site.

For many years, our potters have handcrafted The Potbelly mug with the EAA Heritage logo for the museum store.  Last year, the EAA team worked with us to launch an exclusive handmade EAA AirVenture 2011 collector series for their event.  This year, our team is proud to add to their collector series with EAA AirVenture 2012 shown in the Copperhead Run glaze.   

It’s natural for the aviation industry to take flight with handcrafted stoneware. We welcome all EAA visitors from across the globe.  May you fly like an eagle – or at least be able to attend the Steve Miller Band concert on the show grounds tonight!

Enjoy your week. Tom

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You may have noticed we added Scent-in-Stone candles to our web offering. These amazing candles combine the handcrafted quality of SHS stoneware with a natural soybean wax. The finishing touch is a hint of fragrance that captures your inner soul. 

It gets better. We use a natural soybean wax in our stoneware pieces. This means the candle will burn clean (vs. oil-based paraffin candles). You simply wipe out the container once the wax is gone, run it through the dishwasher and re-use the stoneware throughout your business or home as a deskware piece. How great is that! Two gifts in one!

Our Scent-in-Stone products have been an internal hit – and we know the demand for them will be big. We’ve partnered with Shelley Nystrom.  She’s the boss lady and head candle-maker for Eco Candle Company, an artisan candle and soap business located in Appleton, WI. And she knows candles.

Did you know that paraffin wax is used in more than 95% of candles today – and that it can release harmful carcinogens into the atmosphere; along with producing soot that can blacken walls and contaminate ventilation ductwork? Shelley and her team are passionate about distributing a safe product. Soy-based wax; scents that are Proposition 65 compliant; and only natural cotton, paper and hemp cored wicks are used. Gosh, much more to a candle than most people realize.   

We’re pleased to offer a 15% discount on the following Scent-in-Stone candles during our Christmas in July sale.

Shelley’s mission matches our goal to deliver safe products that compliment healthy lifestyles while respecting the environment. We think you'll reap the benefits from our two artsy teams working together.  

Enjoy the sweet smells of summer.  Pat

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I’m not much of a holiday guy – and my wife can confirm, I’ve been known to rush to the mall on Christmas Eve.  That’s why it’s a bit ironic that I find myself promoting a Christmas in July sale.  Really, is nothing sacred?

The truth is – you’ve got time.  There’s 176 shopping days until Christmas.  The problem is we sell stoneware; lots of it.  And that takes time – and talent.  Our products are all crafted by hand – the pottery, medallions, handles – and then fired and re-fired in kilns.  We craft thousands of pieces each month.  And as days turn into weeks, then into a months – well, before you know it, it’s Christmas. 

So this year, instead of the last minute rush, we put together a HolidayWare offering – and are promoting it this month with a ‘Christmas in July’ sale. Everybody wins! You order your HolidayWare in July and get a sweet 15% discount. And our team gets to organize the orders to ensure you get delivery by mid-October! Select from mugs, steins, bowls – and new scent-in-stone products. 

So think about your wife, your dad, the kids, your co-workers, the boss – and your father-in-law.  Order him a few steins, buy a six-pack and you’re good!

If you ignore the sale, that’s ok.  We’ll create some extra HolidayWare pieces, and place them online for sale in the fall – the only thing is, you’ll pay full price.

Ah, the weather is hot all over America.  The lawn needs mowing. The kids are splashing it up in the pool.  Saving some money and getting my brother-in-law’s dog bowl out of the way, just means more money for hunting season.

Have a happy and safe 4th!  Tom

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