Business Profile

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Title and firm: Potter Tom Meyer is the sole proprietor of Tom's Pots, which produces fish platters in a variety of sizes as well as mugs, bowls and other lead-free dinnerware and serving pieces. An Alaska specialty is the sourdough pot, complete with starter, which he air-dries himself. Much of his work is produced freehand on a wheel, but his halibut plates are created in molds. Meyer works in the basement of his home on Fifth Street, next door to Spirit Beads, and has been in business more than 20 years.

Services: "About 50 percent of my business is cups and steins. They have straight sides so I can put pictures on them fishing boats, whales, large halibut, and other things people would associate with Southeast Alaska." The pictures are created by "anyone who will deal with me," and then Meyer transfers the originals to his drinking vessels.

Recently he's been experimenting with creating clay pizza stones fitted with domes called cloches. "I make my bread that way, freestanding. I let it rise free and then put it in the oven and cover it with this dome, and it comes out just like bakery bread, crisp on the outside and moist inside. I am stunned by the difference."

"I have a few of those around the house," he added.

Meyer's pottery is available at Galligaskins, Rufus K. Page, and Eskimos and Butterflies.

Biographical information: "I was born the same year as Muhammed Ali, 1942, but later in the year," Meyer said. "I went to college, which made me more methodical in my thought processes than I was in high school. I am self-taught using a potter's wheel."

In his youth, Meyer "killed trees" in another state. He has worked for state, federal and local government, but hopes never to do that again.

Quotable: "When I am being sarcastic I say the clay has nice tactile qualities like a woman's body. It's satisfying to make something out of a lump. It keeps me out of trouble, and almost keeps the wolf away from the door."

Employees: "Just me."

Family: "I'm single, if anybody is interested."

Contact information: Meyer welcomes visitors to his work place at 229 Fifth St., but appointments should be made ahead of time by calling 586-1773.

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