About us

Madstone Productions sprang into existence, quite by accident, in early 2007. For Christmas in 2006, my Mom gave me a “raku” fired mask, that she had bought at an art show. The mask had the most amazing colors, and the texture was so¬†cool, that everyone wanted to touch it. I was mesmerized by the piece……..but even more so when I read the tag that came with it. The artist talked about pulling the piece from the kiln…….glowing red……at 1800 degrees…….then putting it into a metal garbage can lined with shredded newspaper……WHAT???? I had never seen a piece of raku before, or for that fact, had never heard of it……………

 

In 2007 we had just sold our last nightclub, and we were focusing on our horses. Ron was deep into training some of our show horses, and it was fun to travel with him and watch our horses perform at some of the horse shows………..but my mind kept going back to that awesome piece of raku……now hanging in the living room. To this day, I can’t explain exactly why…….but I just HAD to try it!! As with all things in our lives………we decided to jump in with both feet. We bought an entire ceramic shop…….on Ebay of all places……and I flew to Pittsburgh and rented a truck to haul it all back to our South Dakota farm. I was very very wrong about how much stuff there was to haul back……..so a week later I flew back to Pittsburgh and hauled the rest back. Now, sitting in our shed, was about 6000 ceramic molds……2 kilns, and piles and plies of various stuff. Now the question was…….where to start????

 

Next we were off to buy a pottery wheel. The only problem we had, was nowhere to put it……and lets be honest…….that was, by far, NOT the biggest problem!!! Neither of us had ever thrown on a wheel. So……..several YouTube videos later…….we confidently opened a bag of clay and approached the wheel…………which by the way……ended up in the corner of our kitchen. I HUGELY regret not video taping those early sessions…….clay on the walls….the fridge……the floor…..the dogs………which was puzzling, because the guys on YouTube made it look so easy!!!! Eventually we got the hang of it…….

 

Firing raku is very difficult, and none of the books give away the secrets (I know, because I read them all…..twice). After a year of firing, we were just about ready to throw in the towel……..when a couple pieces actually turned out!!! Slowly we were figuring out the secrets of firing raku…….and this was a game changer. We were firing from 8:00 in the morning until 10:00 and even 11:00 in the evening. We were hooked!! By now, we had sold everything we had bought in Pittsburgh, and had bought 2 new Skutt kilns. They were also game changers. With the digital display, we had absolute control over our firing temps……and the raku just kept getting better.

 

In 2008 a friend suggested that we display at an art show, and I was like “no way”, this stuff isn’t THAT good, and besides, its really just a hobby. I did have to admit that the work was really piling up, and as we developed new and different firing techniques……the work really was getting pretty good. So what the heck………we applied to our first show in Omaha, NE. A few weeks later I got a letter in the mail telling me I had been accepted to the show! UH OH!!! Now what!!??? So…….we bought a tent and some tables……and I winged it. Just before the show opened, as I was making last minute adjustments, I was a nervous wreck!!! I kept thinking “what am I doing here???” Then the show opened………….and before I could even think about it, it was 3:00 in the afternoon!!! The first time that day that I could run and get a drink of water!!! As I walked back into my tent and looked around…..the shelves were almost empty!!! I sold a few more pieces….and then it was 4:00 and the show was over. I was exhausted, and inspired, and COULD NOT wait to do another one!!!

 

In the last 9 years, I have displayed at shows from Minot, ND to Frisco, TX………and have, quite honestly, met some of the most wonderful people on the planet. Our families have tons and tons of our work in their homes…….which any artist will tell you……..is the best compliment you can get! My brother Chad, and his wife Beth, have almost turned their home into a showcase for our work………and that makes me feel like a million bucks!

 

In 2013 we made the decision to sell all of our horses, and work solely on our artwork……we also introduced a line of “horse Hair pottery”……that has become hugely popular. We do a lot of custom horse hair, and people from all over the country send us their own horses hair, to have a special piece made for them. That’s just an AWESOME part of my work!!!

 

2017 will be my busiest year yet. 11 years in, and I love what I do more and more every day. It’s just as exciting today to open my cans and see what I got…….as it was 11 years ago. (Although I have to admit, the work is MUCH better today!).

 

Finally……a very special THANK YOU to our families, for their undying support since day one!!! Ron and I were blessed with the best families you could ever ask for…..so thanks to my Mom (and my Dad, who passed away 2 years ago) Chad, Beth and Brett. Ron’s Dad Leonard, and Scott and Kelly, Tom and Carol, and Brandon and Tiffany. Thank you for visiting us at several shows, for honoring us by having our work in your homes, and for the years and years of kind words and support.
And Mom……thank YOU for the gift that changed our lives………….