Located at 330 FM 474 in Boerne is a hidden treasure: Doug Oian’s studio Sunrise Pottery which opened 19 years ago and is still thriving today. Sunrise Pottery is a wonderful hand thrown, stoneware pottery store and classroom. The Clay Artist creates a wide variety of everyday dinnerware, serving pieces, and home decor as well as clocks, and music boxes while offering practical advice to those interested in learning more about the craft.
Doug Oian, 67, a North Iowa native, has a passion for clay. At a time when he could be fully retired, his love for pottery and teaching is what is keeping him busy almost every day. Anytime he can show someone a tip or trick to creating that special piece that they had in mind, he is achieving his goal. How he came to be such an accomplished potter was almost an accident.
In 1975 at Haywood College in North Carolina while working with heavy equipment, Doug signed up for a one-year pottery production class on a whim. The way he describes it: “As soon as I got my hands in the clay, I was hooked. I thought it would be fun and it was!” After college, it was a few years before he and his wife, Boni came to Texas to visit relatives in the Rio Grande Valley and began to explore living in the Texas Hill Country. After moving around a bit and trying his hand at being in a retail setting, they settled in Boerne and opened their studio. For 22 years, Doug and his wife, a certified Hypnotherapist, have shared a working space next to their home.
Sunrise Pottery is a comfortable space with an eclectic mix of ceramic pieces with two things in common: functionality and beauty. Doug has perfected the art of creating fun, unique, useful ceramic pieces that you can put on display in addition to using daily. Many of his pieces have designs and textures taken from nature: fern leaf platters, cherry blossom candle holders, and sea shell inspired wind chimes are just a few of what you will see in his studio. All of the pottery is dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and made with safe and natural ingredients that contain no lead. From bird feeders to coffee cups to tortilla warmers to chicken cookers and decorative pieces, he has it all and even will do special orders. He has provided personalized cups for high school and college reunions, place settings for newlyweds and makes custom orders with ranch brands, native American Pictograph designs on anything, as well as cups for ACTS retreats including custom names and dates just to name a few. In his words: “If you can think of it, after 40 years of experience, I can figure it out.”
In addition to the pieces for sale, Sunrise Pottery also offers lessons on the pottery wheel for everyone from novice to expert. Class times and sizes with Doug can be flexible, whether you are looking for a lesson with your family, a class with friends, or a team building exercise you will have fun as you learn basic clay hand-building techniques including pinch, coil, and slab methods. Doug will always be nearby to provide instruction and encouragement. He has a passion for teaching and his whole day is about creating new things in clay as well as pleasing people with his creations for them. He knew that when he got into clay that this is what he was meant to do and his joy in sharing his wealth of knowledge to help people create special pieces that will bring fond memories for years is apparent. Doug loves to try different techniques and processes to find his next idea and to pass that on to anyone willing to learn.
On most days you will find Doug in his studio, helping Scout Troops earn their Merit badges, hosting a pottery-throwing themed birthday party, or helping families reconnect while learning a new skill all through his love of teaching his art to others. In his downtime (when he has any!) you will see him playing with new ideas: colors, textures and patterns. A visit to Sunrise Pottery is well worth your time. You will without a doubt come away inspired. His energy is contagious and you can’t help but want to experience a little bit of that joy that seems to be in the air of his studio. It is the joy that is coming from a person who has indeed found that balance that we all seem to strive for: making a living out of doing what you love. It is clear that Doug and Boni Oian are truly living their dream.
To find out more about what Sunrise Pottery has to offer, visit www.sunrisepottery.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Pottery lessons are typically offered Thursday through Saturday from 1-3pm and reservations are available for group lessons, birthday parties or retreats. Walk-in’s are welcome but a call ahead to 210-494-8633 is always recommended.