TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Tue, Feb. 25

Red Hot Pottery

VVN/Philip Wright

REDHot Pottery owner Christine Tenenholtz, in addition to creating ceramics during each day at her new studio and store, also is available to talk with customers about the works she offers for sale.

Growing up in Chicago, Christine wasn't particularly interested in the arts. But she had a high school teacher that recognized her passion for photography. At university, she studied photography and drawing. After college, her entry into the arts was somewhat indirect.

"I worked as a sales representative for a very large stock photo agency," she said. "My degree only helped me get a foot in the door."

It was then that Christine took her first pottery class.

"I did the whole 'I've got to go to Sedona to find myself thing,'" she said.

There was little doubt in Christine's mind that she needed a change. She left her family and boyfriend. "I came here and got a $5.50 an hour job."

She had different jobs during her first years in Sedona, including work as a potter.

In 1995, she took a course at Yavapai College. During a student show, she noticed that people were buying her pottery. She said that was an empowering experience.

"I had ideas of things I wanted to make, and when I'd make them, people would buy them."

It was in 1996 that Christine began doing work in her home. She also worked as a production potter for Tracy Weisel in Jerome and Steve Scagnelli in Sedona. "I learned a lot about how a studio runs," she said.

Even while working for others, Christine knew, at least vaguely, what she wanted to do.

"I was always looking to where this was going to take me," she said.

Using an electric kiln because of its consistency, Christine still makes pieces for her five steady wholesale accounts throughout Arizona. "I wholesale the same products," she said. "But I have about 80 percent more stuff here in the store."

All of her work is hand thrown, and she now has four lines of functional ware in four, color schemes. "But I'm making a lot more decorative pieces that are one of a kind."

Christine works in her studio, which is part of her store, five and a half days each week. Customers can actually watch her create artworks while they browse. She also enjoys talking with customers and doesn't mind answering questions.

The business is open seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. It is located at 1100 Hwy. 179 between the Radisson and Hillside Sedona.

"There are days when I don't touch clay," Christine said. "I've discovered that I love the business side.

"There is satisfaction in seeing it as a business," she said. "But I actually enjoy meeting people and running a business along with creating pottery."

The business side of art hasn't put Christine "off" of the idea of selling her own work. "I actually like having wrenches thrown into my day," she said.

For Christine, it all comes down to what motivated her to go into business in the first place: "Sticking with what you know you want."

"It's just one step after another."

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