King’s Home residents find fulfillment in making pottery
Published 4:12 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2016
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
As Jamie Ankenbrandt examined several ceramic platters in the basement of Prodigal Pottery on a cold morning in January, she reassured one of her workers of the platters’ worth despite minor inconsistencies in their appearances.
“The imperfections make them beautiful,” Ankenbrandt, 27, said to Donna Reiber, a full-time employee at Prodigal Pottery, who continued to paint a gray-tinted glaze onto another platter.
“Just like us,” Rhea Grady added, looking up at Ankenbrandt from her seat across the table.
Reiber, 58, and Grady, 54, a part-time employee at Prodigal Pottery, are residents at King’s Home – a shelter located in Chelsea for women and children fleeing domestic abuse – who started working with the program in early 2015.
Prodigal Pottery formed nearly a year ago as a program that employs women residing at the home, allowing them to express themselves artistically and hone their skills in a Christ-centered environment. Under the leadership of Ankenbrandt, the director, the women make ceramic pieces that are sold in the Prodigal Pottery showroom and online.
“It’s so encouraging how well everything has done,” Ankenbrandt said. “People love what they’re making. They come into this with such a lack of self-confidence and self worth. They are a group of very confident women now.”
Since its inception, Prodigal Pottery has gained a strong footing as a business benefiting the women who make the one-of-a-kind pieces. One hundred percent of the proceeds from pottery sales go directly back to the home.
The program broke even last year, but Ankenbrandt said she expects the next 12 months to bring a profit.
“It’s really exciting,” Ankenbrandt said. “We’re very, very close.”