How Did I Get Here??

Hi I'm Rachel, the artist/mechanic/website designer/warehouse worker/cleaning lady/business owner behind Baxter Creek Pottery. I have always loved playing in clay, but never imagined I'd have the opportunity to pursue it full time, at least not until I retired. I have a bachelors and part of a masters degree in Biology. So how the heck did I get here??

My first time using a potter's wheel was in high school, and boy was I hooked! I actually was in the middle of making a giant vase when Spring Break was approaching, and my teacher let me bring it home, where I spent hours carving it, while my friends were probably on beaches in Florida or something. These were the first signs that clay would probably be in my life for good.

My love affair with clay continued into college, where I studied Biology. However, my main stress relievers were my ceramics classes. I earned a minor in studio art, and probable spent more time in the ceramics studio than I did in my biology labs.

After graduating, I spent a few years traveling around the country working as a research technician for Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Yellowstone National Parks, as well as Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. I decided to pursue a Master's degree in Integrated Biosciences at the University of Minnesota, in Duluth. I completed all of the coursework towards my Masters, but quickly realized being a researcher wasn't everything I was hoping it would be. My time at UMD wasn't wasted, however, as this is where I met my wonderfully supportive (and hilarious) husband.

We moved to Two Harbors, Minnesota in February of 2018. I continued to try and find work related to the outdoors and conserving nature. Living in such a small town, it was hard finding work that I felt suited my interests. I worked a few jobs in town, but neither felt like the right fit for me.

That leads us to the summer of 2020. In the midst of a pandemic, I made the bold choice to quit my job and pursue pottery full time. I acquired a wheel, built myself sturdy worktables, and bought my first 200 lbs of clay. It felt like I was finally doing what I have been meant to do all along: Use my hands to create functional art for others to love and enjoy for years to come. The pandemic, California wildfires, shipping delays, and other apocalyptic-ish events couldn't stop me! They did however force me into finding a therapist and work very hard at discovering what self-care means to me so I didn't feel like my cup was constantly on the verge of overflowing (a work in progress...).

Currently I am enjoying making logo mugs for a few companies. I'm also leaning into my love of carving as a form of surface decoration and as a way to express my love of the outdoors. I have also been working on and off again as a contract forest surveyor for Forest Carbon Works. Check them out if you own forested land and want to figure out how to earn carbon credits by keeping your forest healthy! It has been a dream being able to find ways to get paid to both spend time in nature and play with clay.

If you made it to the bottom of this blurb, you should win some type of award! Thanks for sticking around.

I hope you enjoy my art as much as I love creating it.

-Rachel Baxter