BILLINGS – For the last five years, 504 Square Feet has been putting a different spin on pottery.
In 2012, Cassy Crafton Kramer was working 50-60 hours a week as a business development manager for an Oregon company.
When her son was born, she realized her cooperate job was keeping her from valuable family time and decided to make a change.
“We decided that family time and doing something that we truly loved that was going to enhance our family experience was way more important than getting a big pay check,” said Kramer.
To make the dream of opening a pottery studio a reality, the Kramer’s initially gave up cable, smart phones and their brand new cars to make way for a new kind of life.
“I started the businesses with a couple hundred dollars,” said Kramer. “I bought my wheel from a friend, and I found a very small kiln on craigslist and I turned my home office into a home studio.”
Kramer’s pottery is inspired by Montana’s landscapes, including places in Yellowstone National Park such as the Grand Prismatic Spring.
“We decided to focus on Montana pride pottery because we love the area so much,” said Kramer. “Montana is such a unique place they like to have something that reminds them of their Montana home.”
Each piece is crafted completely by hand, and takes anywhere from a week to three weeks from start to finish.
While the company got off the ground in 2012, the Kramer’s had the name in mind much earlier. 504 is the number of square feet of the first home the couple owned.
“It’s where we realized we’ve got room for 2 mugs, 2 bowls, just a few of each item,” said Kramer. “So we wanted those items to be things that we cherished.”
The concept of “less is more” also helped to inspire her gallery, a renovated 65 Bell Camper.
“I needed more flexibility to be able to reach my clients and it was difficult to keep all of those different venues stocked fully with work, which is pretty frustrating if you’re a client and you go to a location and its either not open or not full,” Kramer said.
To find her work, you can track the traveling studio online, or just stop by.
“I keep my gallery set up in my driveway when it’s not at an event,” said Kramer. “You can send me a message and as long as I’m around I’ll just pop out of the studio and open up the gallery for you so you can choose a gift.”
You can also find 504 Pottery at the Northern Hotel Boutique, Frame Hut and Gallery and Rustic Nail bar and Day Spa in Billings.
In addition to selling the products around town, Kramer found a way to give back through her mobile studio.
It’s called “Pottery for a Purpose.” Kramer will bring the camper to a non-profit event or venue for the day and will donate 20% of all sales during that time to the organization.
On Aug. 15, 504 Pottery will be at the United Blood Services blood drive.
For more information on how to find 504 Square Feet, click here.
MTN’s Samantha Harrelson