Not all “MarionMade!” people were born and raised here; many are transplants who have put down roots and are making an impact. Some live here, others work, play, volunteer, worship, and/or learn in Marion.
Meet Louise Chell, owner of Yellow Creek Pottery, who grew up in the Akron area. “There was a Yellow Creek that ran through my backyard and fed into the Cuyahoga River…thus, the name of my business,” she stated. Her pottery business is strictly online, Louise has carved out a niche with her artistic background and ceramic skills, not to mention entrepreneurial experience. “I was selling my creations at area craft shows and festivals, too, until 2020 and the pandemic hit.”
A sole proprietorship, Yellow Creek Pottery focuses on nature-inspired and functional pieces. “Growing up in the country as I did, my work often involves pigs, frogs, or owls. I really thrive on creating things that folks can actually use, but they’re also fun and distinctive. Some of my best sellers are mugs, bowls, owl planters, and succulent planters.” Last fall, Louise created a very popular Ohio mug (pictured).
As a child, Louise loved the arts and has always been interested in nature. “I used to make stick houses as a kid!” She also studied art education at the University of Toledo.
Louise and her husband, Adam Hanke, now one of two art teachers at Harding High School, have lived in Marion since about 2017 after he landed a teaching position at Grant Middle School. The couple had been in Cincinnati previously, where Louise taught art classes for five years to various ages with the Dunham Recreation Center.
It seems entrepreneurs have some common traits: one is risk-taking. Louise said that when the family came to Marion, she was seeking a job related to pottery. She had been making and selling ceramics since 2003, but she was encouraged by friends and family in Marion to set up a home-based studio – and has been in business now since the fall of 2018. “I got my registered business name, followed by transient license (for sales tax) and the rest is history!” Since Louise doesn’t yet own a kiln, she fires her pottery at a studio in Columbus. “But, I do all of the work (artwork and business procedures) myself. It’s rewarding, challenging, and a wonderful creative outlet.”
With three children in school, two at Benjamin Harrison Elementary and one at Grant Middle School, Louse said she enjoys the flexibility of her home-based studio and online business.
Another common trait for entrepreneurs? Like many local business owners, Louise is involved in her community. She helps with the PTO community garden at Benjamin Harrison, for example. “In 2019, I was invited to co-teach art classes at Garfield with Chelsea Dipman, elementary art educator, in a program funded through the Ohio Arts Council. The all-day program lasted about 7 weeks and included a mosaic project. It was quite an experience for me!”
Yellow Creek Pottery does custom orders through Facebook, Instagram, or Etsy. Since there have been fewer craft shows and events, having my business online is a logical alternative. “I have dabbled in some consignment sales, and hope to participate in the Eco-Show downtown when it comes back.” Search @yellowcreekpottery