It’s hard to find a company that isn’t proud of what they make. That’s the way it should be.  But I can’t help feeling that some companies are just a bit more special.  American Made. Handmade Craftsmanship. Functional Beauty.  Yes, those are attributes that describe Sunset Hill Stoneware mugs, but that’s not what this story is about. I’m referring to Deering Banjos.

This California-based company builds Deering banjos.  Never heard of them? They’ve been in business for 39 years and have hand built more than 100,000 banjos in that time. 

Greg and Janet Deering own the family-run business. It started with Greg’s love for woodworking. At the age of 2 Greg watched his Dad build model airplanes; by 3 Greg owned his first tool set.  When he was 13, he bought his first banjo; and in 1970 he began doing instrument repairs via the American Dream Co-op. In 1975, Greg and his wife, Janet, opened the Deering Banjo Company and built the company piece by piece.  

Today the factory employs 48 dedicated banjo specialists all focused on making the best banjos in the world. Who buys these beautifully crafted products? Eric Church, Ashley Campbell, Bela Fleck – and yes, there are thousands more, even 7-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift.


Why do artists from around the world insist on a Deering banjo?  Because they know the love, passion and time built into each piece. Its hand made, irreplaceable and music to their ears. I like the sound of that! 

Keeping watch. Pat


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Sunset Hill Stoneware production potters are disciplined souls. Over and over again, they systematically throw clumps of wet clay onto pottery wheels and form them into mugs – consistently creating 100’s of the same style each day. It’s beautiful to watch their American spirit at work – that beauty can also be savored at LARIAT Coffee Roasters.


In the shadow of the North Cascade Mountains, you find Bob and Lori. Much like determined pioneers traveling across this country in years past, Bob and Lori made a bold move to delay their retirement and start Lariat Coffee Roasters.

Located in Winthrop, WA, the region is rich in history, character and principles – much like the great care required when producing the deep roasted flavor of Lariat single-source and proprietary blends like Cowboy Mud, Buck Mountain and Outlaw Espresso.


The perfect cup of coffee at Lariat is defined as coffee so rich and flavorful you’re compelled to pause and savor the experience. That fits their brand and their location – a place to slow down, unwind and savor the scenery while relaxing with a cup of coffee.

We hope the cowboy in you takes time this summer to visit Winthrop, Washington where you will enjoy the rugged natural beauty and the perfect cup of coffee.

Keeping watch.  Pat


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Fishing, nature walks, outdoor cooking and barbecues. It’s that time of year (finally), where people can gather outside with friends and family and enjoy the best of what nature has to offer. Sometimes a person needs to escape the routine of ordinary life – and that’s exactly what Carmine and Lisa Torella offer at The Great Divide Campground located in northwest New Jersey.


The Great Divide Campground welcomes families of all ages from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, along with all camping enthusiasts across the country.  For those who relish the thought of getting away from it all, the Torella’s and their team have worked hard to ensure their facilities are clean, safe and accommodating, along with a full schedule of family fun. 


Take time to relish the smell of fresh air, taking in the area’s natural beauty and sitting around a campfire, gazing up at the stars and listening to the sounds of the night – and the comfort of camping coffee.  After all, coffee is always better when brewed outdoors – and in Sunset Hill Stoneware!


Enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend.  Pat 

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For your convenience, we’ve enhanced our shopping processes.  Use our Multi-ship function – Now you can shop for gifts and ship to multiple people in one transaction!

1. Get started by registering and/or signing into our site. Then enter your default shipping/billing addresses. Next add everyone in your address book that you would like to send gifts to. Be sure to include their name in the ‘Address Name’ box so you will be able to select them later.

2. Start shopping! Fill your cart by customizing pieces or purchase from our in-stock collections.

a. Select your quantity desired.
(Our in-stock selection is limited to the quantities on hand.)

b. If you are ordering more than 1 piece, decide if you are shipping the requested quantity to the same address or if you want to use our multi-ship function and ship the quantity selected to  different addresses.  

3. After filling your shopping cart with customized and/or in-stock stoneware, click ‘Checkout’ when complete.

4. As you start the checkout process, select the ‘Destination’ from the drop down for each product line.  The drop down menu will ‘show’ all of your contacts in your account address book. Add a gift message if desired.

In the ‘Ship By’ drop down area, select from:

a. UPS SurePost (3-6 day)
b. UPS Ground (2-5 day)
c. UPS 2nd Day Air (2-day)
d. UPS Next Day Air (overnight)
e. Pick Up: Neenah Retail Store (Free)

Once completed, click ‘Continue Checkout’ button.

5Review your order one last time and click ‘Submit Order’ to Enter Payment!

Shop, ship, save. Let Your Fingers Do the Shopping! 
Until next time.  Tom 

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Introducing New Glaze Colors to Our Stoneware Collection

Lorrie Morgan sang it best: “I'm looking for something in red, something that's shocking to turn someone's head, strapless and sequined…”

Well, you asked us for Red and we’ve delivered with an amazing red glaze that is definitely turning heads!  And it was extremely gratifying when members of the independent analytical laboratory we utilize for glaze testing confirmed that our SHS Red exceeded all expectations.

This is just the starting point. In 2014, we’ll be introducing a full series of primary colors.

Good things are worth waiting for—like beautiful red mugs from Sunset Hill Stoneware.

Until next time. Tom

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Sunset Hill Stoneware has added an additional shipping option for their online customers – called UPS SurePost. This economy service with limited features is designed for non-urgent, residential deliveries. The service combines the consistency and reliability of the UPS Ground® network with final delivery provided by the U.S. Postal Service.

SurePost Features

  • Residential deliveries (Monday-Saturday)
  • Transit Time: 2-7 days
  • Lightweight and small-sized parcels
  • Ideal for packages less than 10 pounds
  • Provides full visibility from® with USPS® delivery

And our favorite feature – you can save money when selecting this service! During the checkout process, simply select 'UPS-SurePost' from our dropdown offering.

Everything else stays the same. Beautiful handcrafted stoneware. Eco-friendly protective packaging. Save with SurePost. It’s a sure thing!

Keeping watch. Pat

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We’re pleased to announce that we have partnered with The Hang Up Gallery of Fine Art to sell handcrafted pottery in downtown Neenah. Customers can now visit the 204 W. Wisconsin Avenue location to view and purchase hand thrown, in-stock Sunset Hill Stoneware pieces.

“Sunset Hill Stoneware pieces complement our existing store offering,”, states Bill Casper, owner of The Hang Up Gallery of Fine Art. “Much of our focus is providing an inspiring showroom stage for local and regional artists. Sunset Hill Stoneware pieces are handmade right here in Neenah by local artisans. We’re proud to showcase the quality and beauty of their work.”

The Gallery will feature licensed Vince Lombardi mugs, steins and deskware items, along with ‘made in America’, Lombardi coaster sets. SwirlWare pieces made with a dramatic twist of deep clay colors will be offered in mug and bowl styles – and through the winter season, individually crafted handmade Snowman mugs made for right and left handers will be sold.

“Our artisans hand throw each piece on a pottery wheel, beautify it with artwork, hand dip and then kiln-fire the pieces to 2,200 degrees,”, states Tom Dunsirn, owner of Sunset Hill Stoneware. “That final firing creates a durable piece that is functional within the home and can be handed down for generations. Our pieces are tested to ensure they are food safe and meet FDA compliancy standards. They are also oven, microwave and dishwasher safe.”

Artisan-made items and gifts can be purchased during normal store hours Monday-Saturday opening at 9:30am each day. If you live outside of the Neenah, Wisconsin area, you can shop online and browse our inventory of customizable and signature handcrafted stoneware collections.

Hoping you take time to check out the finer things in life! Pat

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The state of Wisconsin has many hidden treasures. You can learn about go-to attractions, events and destinations by watching Discover Wisconsin – the nation’s longest running tourism television program shown in 8 states – or you can simply read their blog, The BobberThe Bobber recently highlighted 5 ‘birding’ hot spots in Wisconsin – I want to tell you about the 6th spot.

Horicon Marsh is a national refuge and state wildlife area located within an hour drive of Neenah, Madison and Milwaukee. It’s the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States – and at this time of year, it is home to hundreds of sandhill cranes and more than two hundred thousand Canada Geese and various species of ducks as they pass through the area to migrate south. 

In the fall, beginning at sunrise, watching the cranes and geese rise into the morning air is simply one of the most amazing wildlife spectacles on Earth. If you miss sunrise, don’t worry. The birds lift back to the sky and return to the marsh in the early evening. Their voice can be heard for miles – it is magnificent to watch.

No need to make an appointment for this spectacular show. If you want to visit the Education Center, it’s open between 10:00-4:00, 7 days/week. And don’t forget to visit the gift shop. It’s there you’ll find Sunset Hill Stoneware pieces – the perfect way to remind you of home and wildlife.

Keeping Watch. Pat

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In recognition of Breast Cancer awareness month, we have added the awareness ribbon to our library of stocked artworks. To show your support for the cause, you can combine the ribbon with our new Pink Passion glaze to create your own stoneware – or you can purchase in stock pieces crafted by SHS master potters that are ready to ship.


To show our support for the cause, we’ll donate $3.00 to the Breast Center at Theda Clark Medical Center Foundation for each Pink Passion mug purchased in October that features the international awareness ribbon symbol.

The Theda Clark Medical Center Foundation is a non-profit corporation that serves as the philanthropic arm of Theda Clark Medical Center. Located in Neenah, the ThedaCare hospital network was the first health care system in Wisconsin to be selected as a Mayo Clinic Care Network member. This collaboration enables ThedaCare physicians to have access to the latest Mayo Clinic expertise in disease management, clinical care guidelines, treatment recommendations and educational materials.   


We are so fortunate to have this resource in our hometown! I hope you join my Dad, myself and the entire Sunset Hill Stoneware team in supporting early detection and the cause during October.

Until next time. Tom 

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If you’re lucky to be old enough – you’ll remember a product from the 1950’s called Dippity-do.  It was a translucent pink color hair gel product made by The Gillett Company.  As a kid it was just fun to dip your fingers into the gel and play with the stuff – watch it in action!

Ok, we’re not making hair gel here – but I can tell you there are members of our team singing Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, My, oh my what a wonderful day!

What deserves such nostalgic fun?  Well, in the pottery world creating a new glaze color takes a lot of chemistry knowledge, patience and sometimes a bit of scientific luck. Glaze colors are affected by the clay, slips and underglazes – but mostly by the metallic oxides within the fabric of the glaze itself. Varying circumstances give these colorants very different results. Variables can include the composition of the glaze, the temperature used when the glaze is fired, the placement of the product within the kiln and the kiln’s atmosphere during firing and cooling.

Knowing what can go wrong helps you understand why we’re fired up.  Our Ironman production manager and his team of rock star glaze technicians have created a PINK glaze. 

It. Is. Stunning.  And it’s for you!

Oh, yes, we’re singing in the firehouse tonight. Pat

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