No more clay for Northwest Arkansas

After dropping my wife off in Prairie Grove this morning — she participated in a sheep-to-shawl gathering of spinners, weavers and knitters — I tootled on over to Flat Rock to purchase some clay. I’ve been productive in the past month or two, thankfully, and was in the mood for some more Texas White. I’ve been out of it for six months or so. Last time I went to pick some up the truck was two-plus weeks late, and they’d run out of just about everything. Much to my confusion, the store was closed this morning during its posted hours.

It was only 14 months ago that I found Flat Rock Clay Supplies in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In a phone call with the presumed prospective owner today I learned, much to my dismay, the store is closed pending a change in ownership to be followed by a move to the Russellville area of Arkansas. I didn’t ask why the new owners plan to move the business, but for ceramic artists and potters in Northwest Arkansas this is bad news.

Flat Rock Clay is the only ceramics supplier in Arkansas. The next nearest is an un-vetted outfit in Colcord, of all places, Oklahoma, and as I recall they only stock two or three clay bodies. There was also a clay store in Tulsa last I knew, which is a 90 minute drive (plus tolls) from Siloam Springs. From the I-540 corridor it’s more like two-and-a-quarter hours.

Paying to ship wet clay is just plain not desirable. Buying raw materials and mixing your own is great, if you have the space and money to buy a mixer, neither of which I have.

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About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

4 Responses to No more clay for Northwest Arkansas

  1. m oliver says:

    I guess I will have to go to Bercher<s Ceramics in OK City. I have to bby for my school and I would rather drive and get it than pay a fortune for shipping. MO

    • S. Dougherty says:

      I feel the pain of the author. I’m in Tulsa where Brookside Pottery has cut back their services considerably, no longer having a storefront. They’ve always been a bit pricey, anyway, but it was somewhere to get a variety of clays.

      Anyway I ended up at Flat Rock and, like the author, showed up at the store the first part of April and found the doors closed.

      If m.oliver is following this thread, I would like to know if Bercher’s carries cone 5-6, or what. Apparently they don’t have a web site.

      Also, does anyone know about the place in Colcord? That’s and easy 1 hour+ drive for me.

      Thanks.

      • L Reedle says:

        I haven’t tried Colcord, but I’ve been ordering from Crane Yard Clay, in Kansas City. and am very happy. It seems far away, but thanks to I49/US71, it’s not too bad. They also have been able to ship pallets for very cheap. It has to be because of the straight shot. Anyway, I’m happy enough to say you should give ’em a whirl. The website is http://www.KCclay.com.

  2. l spencer says:

    I’m in Tulsa and I buy from L & R specialties in Nixa, MO. They don’t have the selection that Flat Rock had but they are less expensive too since they mix it themselves.

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