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Adam Egenolf

~story and photos by Boris Ladwig


ndiana native Adam Egenolf went to the University of Southern Indiana to become a math teacher. An elective class in pottery changed his life. Egenolf, who grew up on a farm on the Greene/Owen counties line, took to the craft immediately and learned the tools quickly. The craft’s science—glazes, chemicals, heat and experimentation—appealed to his analytical side. “It took over my life,” he said. He started selling products in school and thought that if his parents could make it as farmers, he could figure out how to live off pottery. He changed his career plan, got a master’s in fine arts from East Carolina. It was 2008, and he had created pottery all winter, then went to 32 trade shows that year to sell his works. Revenue has increased each year for about 15 years, he said. He keeps customers interested by changing designs, colors, and products, from serving

24 Our Brown County • Nov./Dec. 2021

plates to vases, mugs and utensil holders, bowls and planters, as well as art that can be hung on walls. Last year, during the pandemic, Egenolf, 42, and his wife, Barbie, began making letters and Christmas ornaments that can be hung on trees or in windows. The secret of his designs lies in the metals he uses in the glaze and the temperature sequences to which he exposes his pieces. The composition of the metals, the height of the temperatures, and the duration of the exposure can drastically change the look of the finished product. Copper makes a green color, iron a brown, cobalt a blue. Nickel in crystalline form is blue, but in glass it produces a tannish color. Erbium, one of the rare earth metals he uses, produces pink.