Chelonia Ceramics is a very small, solo-run business specializing in small batches of thoughtful porcelain pottery, designed and handcrafted by Amber Wallour in West Michigan. Each piece is unique and represents a dedication to intricate detail and a love for soft, muted colors. Amber designs pots for use in the home and with gifting in mind. Chelonia Ceramics can be found online here, or around the country in a handful of independent shops who sell Amber’s work.
I read the folktale “The Tortoise and the Hare” over and over when I was little. I love the idea of the slow and steady tortoise, cleverly pacing himself through a long race with his erratic companion.
(artist for above image unknown)
The word “Chelonia” comes from the Latin word for the taxonomic classification of the family of turtles. I picked a turtle to stamp on my pots as a promise to pace myself and as a reminder— to slow down, breathe, find balance, and keep going, no matter what.
After growing up in Houston, I earned my BFA (in painting, actually, not ceramics) from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. I took a wheel throwing ceramics course while I was there, and then a couple more. I always spend most of my time making things with my hands, but I really loved working in clay. It took two muddling years after graduating to figure it out, but eventually I got myself back into a pottery studio and began my work.
I moved from Austin, Texas to West Michigan in 2018. One of the best things about Michigan, believe it or not, is the winters. With the snow comes the option of extra sleep, cozy shenanigans, and time to think and read. I love to read. I can’t remember if my first love was working with my hands or reading, but thanks to audiobooks, I can usually do both.
I have now put five years of full-time practice and study into what I want my pots to do and how I want them to look— and I hope for many, many more. I love waking up every day to design and make these objects, but in the end, it’s up to you to decide what role they play in your life. My job has many perks, but that part is probably my favorite.
photo by Natalie DeVries