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A passion for pottery

By Carol Sones Shelter - Reporter | Feb 2, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED Cody Sones with items created during his eight year long passion with pottery.

MUNCY – From his senior year at Hughesville High school in 2010 to the current time, Cody Sones has been interested in pottery making. “I instantly took to it and knew I’d like to pursue it further as soon as I could. It was delayed while I went on to earn an associates degree in electrical technology at Pennsylvania College of Technology,” Cody said.

After college Cody began searching for equipment so he could continue working in clay, finding it in Maryland where he drove for pick up.

Of his passion Cody said, “I am almost completely self taught with the help of online ceramics forms and support pages. I would mention I may not have taken so strongly to pottery without the support of my high school ceramics teacher, Mr. Rick Mahonski. Now a successful goldsmith in Williamsport, he would always encouraged me to keep pushing forward even after a failure. He showed me that doing ceramics takes patience and should always be fun.”

Explaining the process, Sones said, “I start with commercially available clay that is already in a usable form. Most of the work I make is “thrown” on an electric potters wheel. After the piece is made it will slowly air dry for up to 20 days depending on the size and thickness of the piece. Once it is fully air dried it will be bisque fired in an electric kiln. Following firing, I glaze the pieces in commercially made glazes and fire the piece for a second time at 2232 degrees F (cone 6). The piece will be complete after the bottoms of tableware are sanded and smooth. The clay used and temperature fired is considered Stoneware, very durable for functional pieces such as plates, bowls, mugs,” he said.

Sones finds the actual process to be very relaxing and enjoyable and believes that will always will be. “Of course the business side of things does actually feel like work; posting, shipping, delivering, buying materials and such,” he said. His favorite thing is when caught up with orders, he sits at the wheel and conjures up new creations not yet attempted. The potter loves that he can take an actual piece of the earth transforming it into a real functional item.

As far as business is concerned, most is online. Sones said, “I ship some work around the country but estimate that ninety percent or more stays within the local community. Over the summer with Covid restrictions, I was displayed work at Kathy’s Café utilizing the empty tables. When locals, I drive to meet them or deliver directly to their house depending on what they prefer.”

Mugs are the makers favorites although seemly simple with a base and a handle there are little things making mugs comfortable and pleasant to use. A slightly small handle might hurt the hand to hold, or too heavy of a piece may feel bulky.

The potter switches pieces depending on the season. For example, coffee mugs and indoor items used mostly in winter, but as weather warms there’s a switch to creating more planters, bird feeders, bird houses and such.

Making money was never his goal, but is the joy of making the pieces. “As long as I can pay for materials I’m happy” Sones said. Looking toward the future he’s taken more of a business stand, getting more equipment so as to grow and improve. With a full time job, pottery work happens mostly at night or on weekends.

“My regular full time job is working along side my father and brother on the Sones Family Farm, and it’s related construction business, Sones Grain Systems. Having a little leniency with my schedule definitely helps me with working on my pottery,” he said.