East Fork Pottery’s Founders Live in an Incredibly Cute, Cozy Cabin in the Woods

East Fork Pottery’s Founders Live in an Incredibly Cute, Cozy Cabin in the Woods

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Name: Connie Matisse, Alex Matisse, Lucia Matisse (4), Vita Matisse (6), Kitty Nacho Amy
Location: Henderson County, North Carolina
Type of Home: Cabin
Size: 1300 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years, owned

Popular pottery company East Fork is known for designing, manufacturing, and selling earthy, sturdy ceramic dishware that looks as good on a table as it does on open kitchen shelving. Connie and Alex Matisse, along with John Vigeland, founded the company, and for awhile Connie and Alex had been renting a house just outside of Asheville, where the company is based. When it looked like a quarantine was going to happen, the couple and their two kids, Lucia and Vita, headed to the woods. Specifically, to this cabin about 40 minutes south of town.

“The original cabin was built in the mid-1800s in South Carolina and moved up north where it was eventually purchased by our genius friends, Helen and Josh Nissenboim, of the creative agency Fuzzco, and remodeled so artfully,” says Connie. “We can’t take credit for really anything but the stuff inside and the landscaping.” Connie explains of the cabin, which the couple purchased from their friends last year.

“Alex, my husband, had a vision for the outdoor spaces and worked with a native plant specialist to surround the property with rhododendron and ferns and blueberries and wildflowers. I can’t wait to watch them all grow in and cocoon us year after year.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Objects, aesthetics, color, texture, beauty, pleasure are a guiding force in my life and always have been, but I never really have developed language to describe my personal style outside, perhaps, of it being deeply personal. I’m called to fill my home with objects rich in meaning and nostalgia, and only if I feel viscerally drawn to them. The things in my home that are most special to me are the things I saw and had an almost animal desire to be near to, to hold, to smell, to sit on, to wrap myself in. Very Venusian over here. 

Inspiration: I never know how to answer questions about style inspiration because while I’m undoubtedly influenced by other things I see the people doing, I don’t track that consciously or go to places, people, publications, or what have you for inspiration. I don’t have any language for design or shelter, really, and I can’t point to designers or movements and speak fluently about anything. I guess right now if I had to put an inspiration mood board together it’d read something like: Baby Spice, big snakes, teen angst, the Virgin Mary, psychedelics, the woods, the desert, the ocean, my husband’s pottery, my grandma and grandpa’s little Tiffany’s blue kitchen in the house we grew up in under the 405 freeway and their big laughs, sopapillas and buñuelos, fried hot dog wrapped in corn tortillas, nopales and homemade pizzas, and the 11-foot tall opuntia cactus outside their window in full fuchsia bloom.

Favorite Element: The path through the woods down the Hungry River.

Biggest Challenge: The house looks big from the outside but it ain’t, it’s tiny, and the kids take up about 1/3 of it. I miss my big-ass bed and one day I’d love to add on to the house so Alex and I aren’t sleeping on top of each other anymore. All in time, I hope. Right now I just wish the satellite internet would let me stream TikToks.

Proudest DIY: Alex rented a tractor and drastically changed the landscape of the property, moving dirt around until we had a spot for a garden, a place to park a car, a flat spot to have picnics, and a level patio. All glory and honor to him, though. He did an amazing job!

Biggest Indulgence: These high-backed, Baroque-style couches in the living room were the biggest splurge I’ve ever in my life made. The room was so small and I felt needed impactful furniture and it was early in quarantine and I’d committed to not buying a single new article of clothing the whole year (I made it six months). So I saw these on 1stDibs, grabbed a measuring tape, and made an offer. Honestly they’re not very comfortable at all but looking at them fills me with a sense of calm and scratches an aesthetic itch at the back of my skull.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? We live in the woods! I spend a lot of time outside, lying on my back, letting my eyes go fuzzy looking at the stars, and listening to the cicadas and the frogs and the crickets. I’d known for a long time that work and social life obligations and doing stuff in the evenings was keeping me from slowing down enough to start tuning in and attending to my actual needs for solitude, healing, quiet, loneliness. My home has helped me retreat into myself in a way I — and my daughters — so desperately needed.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I have no useful tips! I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to organize my space and it’s just an absolute shit show three days later! I think I’m ready to accept the fact that I have a 4- and 6-year-old and I like stuff and I’m never going to have my drawers be as sparse as I’ve dreamt of them being.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? My decorating advice is the same as my everything advice — everyone’s gotta really get to know yourself.  Like really, really know yourself. What makes you feel safe? What threatens your safety? Where in your body do you feel yourself making decisions from? Who are you influenced by and how do those people hold power in your life? Building a home is such a deeply personal experience and what works for one person isn’t going to work for another. Know you so you can do you.

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

Adrienne Breaux

House Tour Editor

Adrienne loves architecture, design, cats, science fiction and watching Star Trek. In the past 10 years she’s called home: a van, a former downtown store in small town Texas and a studio apartment rumored to have once been owned by Willie Nelson.

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This Reader-Favorite Pottery Brand Is Hosting an Exclusive Labor Day Sale — Here’s What to Buy Right Now

This Reader-Favorite Pottery Brand Is Hosting an Exclusive Labor Day Sale — Here’s What to Buy Right Now

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No matter the weather, the traffic, and all those other question marks that make it tough to make Labor Day weekend plans, one thing you always can count on is a slew of epic sales at top retailers. But the savings aren’t limited to major department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom. You can also score big discounts at loads of small businesses we love, like Haand, a reader-favorite pottery brand we’ve had our eye on all year. The North Carolina-based company handcrafts a wide range of (dishwasher-safe!) ceramic pieces, from coffee mugs and flower vases to serving bowls and dinner plates, that are absolutely gorgeous to look at and made to last. And this weekend, the more you buy, the more you save.

Now through Tuesday, September 7, you’ll score 10 percent off purchases of $100 or more, 15 percent off of purchases of $250 or more, and 20 percent off when you spend $500 or more. These discounts apply sitewide and will be automatically applied at checkout, so go ahead and fill your cart with ceramics that you’ll use (and admire) for years to come. Below, take a look at five of our favorites, and shop the entire sale here.

Here’s Where to Buy Meghan Markle’s Favorite Teacup

Here’s Where to Buy Meghan Markle’s Favorite Teacup

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Meghan Markle, the Dutchess of Sussex, recently celebrated her 40th birthday and to mark the occasion, she uploaded a video to the Archewell website announcing the 40×40 charitable initiative. The two-minute clip also featured actress Melissa McCarthy and a hilarious cameo from Prince Harry.

“Because I’m turning 40, I’m asking 40 friends to donate 40 minutes of their time to help mentor a woman who is mobilizing back into the workforce,” Markle said in the video. “Over 2 million women in the US alone and tens of millions around the world have lost their jobs due to Covid and I think if we all do it and all commit 40 minutes to some sort of act of service, we can create a ripple effect.”

Since the release of the video, a number of celebrities, activists, and royals, including Secretary Hilary Clinton, Princess Euginie, and Adele committed to participating alongside Markle and McCarthy.

Throughout the comedic yet informative clip, the pair shared a number of jokes, one which involved McCarthy changing into a regal-looking outfit while clutching a ceramic teacup— after all, cups of tea are widely associated with the British royal family.

Lo and behold, a rather stylish teacup and saucer can be seen next to Markle throughout the video, and it’s definitely a piece of crockery worthy of royalty.

The beautifully patterned teacup and saucer, which can be spotted throughout the video, appears to be from Burleigh’s aptly named Black Regal Peacock collection.

The collection is available to purchase via the Harrods website and, although the duo is (unsurprisingly) currently sold out, there are plenty of other cermatic picks you can add to your collection, featuring the same eye-catching regal print. Plus, in addition to black, the Regal Peacock collection is also available in a striking blue colorway.

Alongside the teacup and saucer set, the collection also offers bowls, a mug, a super cute cow-shaped creamer, and an impressive three-tier cake stand that’s perfect for an afternoon tea full of finger sandwiches and scones.

These DIY Kits Let You Create Your Own Pottery At Home

These DIY Kits Let You Create Your Own Pottery At Home

Arielle Tschinkel


Arielle Tschinkel is a freelance pop culture and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared on Shape.com, WomansWorld.com, FirstforWomen.com, Insider, HelloGiggles, and more. She loves all things Disney and is making her way to every park around the world, and is a die-hard Britney Spears fan for life. She’s also obsessed with her Bernedoodle, Bruce Wayne.

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This Gorgeous Pottery Collective Has An Inspiring Mission

This Gorgeous Pottery Collective Has An Inspiring Mission

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From Fair Trade partnerships that boost emerging economies to buy-one-give-one models that prioritize donations, many home brands are stepping up to the plate when it comes to giving back. California-based People’s Pottery Project takes that thinking to the next level, and for the first time, their pretty pottery is available at West Elm.

The brainchild of artist Molly Larkey, People’s Pottery Project seeks to employ and empower formerly incarcerated women, trans people, and non-binary people through paid job training and employment in their non-profit ceramic business. Prior to co-founding People’s Pottery, Larkey had spent years volunteering in the anti-carceral movement where she saw first-hand the struggles that formerly incarcerated people face when rejoining society. 

Working in fine arts, Larkey wondered if ceramics could create a gateway to employment for formerly incarcerated people in her Southern California community — particularly for women and trans individuals struggling to find a foothold in the workplace. She got a ceramicist friend to offer classes to several people she met through her activist work. The experience turned out to be healing for the participants.

“Something special happens when people who are re-entering spend time together making things,” says Larkey. “It feels really supportive.” Larkey planned a full schedule of classes, but it wasn’t until a friend pointed out that Larkey could actually sell the pottery the students were making to raise funds for the group that the People’s Pottery Project’s current structure started to come into focus.

Through her activism, Larkey was also connected to Ilka Perkins, who had learned welding while incarcerated. Upon hearing of her skill set, Larkey offered Perkins work in her art studio upon parole. Once Larkey began working with Perkins and met Perkins’s wife, Domonique, Larkey says all the pieces began to come together. “With them on board, I know we could build out this business,” she says.

The first product People’s Pottery sold was their People’s Bowl. A slab-style vessel simple enough for a beginner to craft, Larkey was also drawn to the organic texture the process creates. “I’ve always loved the aesthetic of artwork from slabs,” she says. “The clay holds the texture of the fabric.” Experimenting with glazes, they created People’s Pottery’s signature pearlescent, sky-blue finish, which, when fired onto both sand- and chocolate-colored clay, takes on two distinct looks — with the sky blue more visible on the lighter clay. 

The products quickly caught the eye of buyers and tastemakers. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) started carrying the People’s Pottery last summer, and grocery store Erewhon also sells pieces like their bud vases (shown above) in their Silver Lake location. Most of People’s Pottery Project’s sales are made through the organization’s website, where pieces start at $25, but Larkey says they’re eager to forge more wholesale relationships and create custom dinnerware for restaurants. Now, even West Elm stocks the Blue stoneware side plates and bowls, as pictured below!

Since its start two years ago, the operation has grown to five full-time employees, including co-founders Domonique and Ilka Perkins (Larkey is also still deeply involved with the organization as a volunteer). The collection itself has expanded to include plates and mugs, some of which are wheel-thrown by the more advanced ceramicists. 

People’s Pottery Project has continued their community building, too, with classes for people in re-entry programs and part-time paid work for other formerly incarcerated individuals. It’s a win-win proposition: The students gain skills, a sense of accomplishment, and a feeling of community, and People’s Pottery gets help fulfilling orders. It’s also a rosy proposition for customers, who are getting one-of-a-kind, contemporary ceramics that support a good cause in a deep, meaningful way.

Larkey dreams of People’s Pottery growing to become a leader in the ceramics world that employs hundreds of formerly incarcerated people all over the country, but she also dreams of inspiring others. Larkey says, “I am really interested in being a model for other people who want to build similar organizations or create activism-based craft.”

Laura Fenton


Laura Fenton is the author of The Little Book of Living Small. She writes about home design and sustainability, and is a regular contributor to Apartment Therapy. Her work has been published in Better Homes & Gardens, Eater, New York Magazine, and Real Simple.

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