Hi! My name is Heather Hitt and opening Burnish Clay Studio has been my dream for many years. I am new to Bellingham, but this town felt like home the first time I visited. I was delighted to discover that this place that I was falling in love with needed another studio to support an already thriving clay community. It feels like a perfect match. It is thrilling to combine the knowledge and skills I have learned in the corporate environment with my experiences in a variety of studios to facilitate the creation of art.
I took my first pottery class at Mesa Community College in San Diego in the spring of 1996 and I was immediately hooked. I bowed to pressure and got a “real” degree and a “real” job, but continued to keep ceramics as my primary passion and focus, moving from the community college to community studios over time. When I moved to Seattle the summer of 2008, the second thing I did (after finding a place to live) was to sign up for a class at Pottery Northwest. I knew that PNW would provide not only an avenue to continue working with clay, but it would provide a much-needed social outlet and way for me to meet people since I did not know a soul in Seattle.
Fast forward a few years, and I got involved with a project spearheaded by one of the former PNW Resident Artists to build a wood kiln in Arlington WA at Smoke Farm. The crew that built and now fires that kiln includes a few Bellinghamsters and the connection was made. As those friendships grew, work/life (and traffic) in Seattle got harder and I knew it was time to get out of the city and out of my job. Moving to a town that I already had strong relationships in and a thriving ceramics community was the easiest decision I have ever made.
My corporate job has been focused on building and maintaining spaces that facilitate other people doing work. I have worked in building maintenance and real estate project management for 15 years. Prior to that, I worked as an office manager and bookkeeper in a variety of small businesses. Through the course of my career I have learned that management and operations of a business have significant commonalities regardless of the type of business - whether it was mental health programs, high tech sales & distribution, or financial services. They all still needed a physical location and an operating budget that all follow the same general process, for the most part it is just a matter of scale.
Bringing together my business operations know how with my passion for pottery will provide an interesting balance to the studio. I have always joked about dueling nature of my corporate side competing with my dirty hippy side - BCS will provide the opportunity to satisfy both. I saw an opportunity to transform my life and I am running full tilt down that path. It is both terrifying and exhilarating. I am jumping off a cliff and hoping I can learn how to fly before I hit the bottom. I know I will stumble and make mistakes and it is going to be really hard. I also know I can’t do this without the support of my family, friends, and you. Getting to this point has taken a lot of time, research, and planning - but now the real work begins. I am so excited to finally get started!