Tessa Morgan of Flying Pig Pottery, located at 410 Woods Hole Road in Falmouth, started with her art at an early age, and kept up with it through the years.
“I started working with clay as a 15-year-old,” she said. “When I moved to Woods Hole after college, I waitressed at the Fishmonger, and the owner, Frances Bueller, let me set up a pottery studio in her basement.”
For a long time, though, pottery remained a private hobby, as Morgan focused on other goals and priorities.
“I always wanted to be a children's book illustrator,” she said, “but was not confidant enough as a young person to pursue that career. In my late 20s I went to art school and got a degree in illustration. I worked in that field for about 10 years, but found that the stress of deadlines was interfering with the way I wanted to raise my two sons.”
Looking for a pursuit that would allow for more family time, Morgan fell back on her old love.
“I started to think about a different career,” she said, “and still had a wheel and kiln in my basement. Quissett Pottery and Ron Geering Pottery were right down the street, and I thought a 'potter's alley' on Woods Hole Road would be fun, and a draw to Woods Hole.”
The decision to open her own home studio has been a resounding success.
“Starting a small business out of my house was the best thing I ever did,” Morgan said. “My goal was to add a little income to the family while being home everyday when my children got off the school bus. Like most artists, I initially made most of my income teaching. As demand for my work grew, I had to stop the classes and start making pots full time. I now work seven days a week and hire others to help.”
Morgan's success has even inspired her spouse.
“My husband thought walking downstairs to go to work looked so good, he now runs his business, Quissett Counseling and Consulting, out of the house as well,” she said.
Flying Pig's popularity owes something to its local focus.
“The majority of my pottery is Cape-themed,” Morgan said. “The fish, whales, mermaids and turtles are my most popular designs. I had lots of experience with marine illustration when I came back to the pottery, including a children's book about whales and one about sharks, so the sea designs were a natural direction to go in. I have yet to put sharks on my pottery, but who knows? Great White mugs would probably be pretty popular these days.”
Morgan's sometimes hectic schedule has done nothing to lessen her enthusiasm for her work.
“There are few places I would rather spend time than my studio,” she said. “I particularly enjoy the winter, when I can work on developing new designs. This past year I have started making large 'cookie' jars with hand-built figures for handles. I have also added stripes and checks to my marine themes, with really exciting results. I have also been producing 'Africa' themed pots which are gratifyingly popular.”