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Clay by Shay: Boise artist crafts sustainable ceramics

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Posted at 8:59 PM, Sep 26, 2023

BOISE, Idaho — A local artist is making ceramics out of natural and sustainably sourced clay.

Shay Woodhouse owns Clay by Shay, and crafts ceramic jewelry and pottery at Clay Collective in Boise.

“A quality item that was made by a human, that you want to keep for your whole life," says Woodhouse

Woodhouse works to create sustainable, life-lasting pieces that fast fashion and box store production can’t compare to.

“Rather than the detached buying something online and not really knowing the face behind what you are supporting,” says Woodhouse.

Shay’s journey with clay started when she was in a ceramics class at Boise High School.

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Idaho News 6 reporter Allie Triepke getting a personal pottery wheel lesson

She then traveled the world, doing ceramic apprenticeships in China and in Washington state.

“After about eight years of doing low-key apprenticeships, I decided to go to art school, so I kinda went to school a bit later for this,” says Woodhouse.

Her mother and 5th generation potato farming family inspired her to work hard and become an entrepreneur.

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A Polaroid Shay Woodhouse and her mother

“I love having a storefront in Boise. And I just really wanted to have more interaction with the people who are supporting my work, if they’re drinking from my mugs every day or the earrings at the special events that they go to in their life,” says Woodhouse.

She and her business prioritize sustainability in her work. If she doesn’t use all of her materials in one project then she’ll repurpose them in another.

Woodhouse says all other unused material or equipment is donated to Cats Eyes Creative Reuse.

“Being a business owner in the community I was raised in, has been very rewarding in that I get to provide jobs for other people who want to have a creative lifestyle.”

Clay by Shay will celebrate 5 years in business – and 16 plus years of her love of ceramics– with her fellow artists and friends at an anniversary party, Saturday at Clay Collective on State Street.