Sometimes a little sibling rivalry can bring out the best in people. Or at least that’s what it did for Drew. He remembers being home from the hospital after an accident when his sister brought over some pottery she had made. Wanting to make something even better sparked the start of what has led to Dmud Ceramics.
Drew is a Vaya Health member with an intellectual and/or developmental disability (IDD), and he enjoys the freedom of setting his own schedule and creating art from what can seem like nothing. Although his sister unknowingly gave him the initial push to start playing around with pottery, it wasn’t until he met a renown potter that inspiration truly struck.
He was going to church with a friend who happened to work with local artist Michael Sherrill and was invited to his studio. While Drew worked at a potter’s wheel, he looked over at what Michael was doing.
“He was working on this piece of mud that was literally two and a half stories tall that he was going to sell for thousands of dollars around the world – mud!” said Drew. “He did all of this with mud – the same mud I had on my hands. It was really an inspiration. That’s what got me started for sure.”
Whether it was working with such a basic element or being surrounded by the simple beauty of plants from his mother’s garden store, Drew’s style takes on a natural quality. He uses an embossing technique to create what he calls “Seasonal Impressive Impressed Pots.” He uses flowers, leaves and other organic materials from his mother’s store to imprint designs on his work. Just like nature grows something beautiful from dirt, Drew creates beautiful works of art from clay.
He started with flowerpots, which was a natural fit with the garden store, but has expanded to various items including coffee mugs, bird feeders and baths, vases and bird whistles. Drew is a self-proclaimed coffee and chess addict which explains why his mugs are such big sellers. He has even dabbled in making chess pieces which ties back to why he loves this type of art.
“I really like the free expression,” said Drew. “You can basically make anything out of this mud.”
Drew makes a common connection between his art and nature and loves what he gets to do, but it also means a great deal to him that customers love it, too.
“When you make something really great and people are like, ‘oh, wow’ – that’s a good feeling,” said Drew.
Dmud Ceramics has a few select pieces for sale at West Village Market on Haywood Road in Asheville. The majority of his pieces are for sale at Thyme in the Garden on Weaverville Road in Asheville where you can view some of Drew’s inspiration for your selected piece.
View other Vaya member businesses and read their stories on our Microenterprise Directory.