Planning a Super Bowl party? If you don’t like serving all the food you worked so hard to make in those plastic containers with your favorite team’s logo plastered all over them (Go Pats!), Susan Horowitz has a classier – and more sustainable – alternative for you.

Horowitz owns Ash Cove Pottery in Harpswell, and one of her most popular pieces is the Double Dip Dinghy, a stoneware pottery boat glazed in the colors of the sea. The dinghy, which has the word Maine stamped into the stern, is split in half, so you can put chips or crackers in one side and dip in the other. Or pretzels on one side, cheese cubes on the other. The “oars” are cheese spreaders. Maine humorist Tim Sample saw one at a party and proclaimed it “a-dory-able.” And we agree.

Horowitz learned how to make pottery in 1970 when she was in high school and she and her father took a class together. She moved to Maine in 1975 to work as a ceramics counselor at a summer camp. Later, she became a potter-in-residence at the Brunswick Craft League. Today her studio is located in Harpswell Neck, between The Dolphin Restaurant and Estes Lobster House. Her home sits on a cove so she sees boats all day, and lots of her neighbors are lobstermen.

It was those surroundings that inspired her when she was asked in 2016 to make a Christmas ornament for the Maine Potters Market. She made a dinghy with a bell in it and called it the “ring-a-ding-dinghy.” That boat evolved into the Double Dip Dinghy that holds snacks. Last year, Coastal Living magazine featured the dinghy, and within eight days Horowitz had 200 orders. She shut down the ordering button on her website until she could catch up, then sold 600 more. They’ve been shipped all over the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.

 

Production can be overwhelming at times, but that’s OK with Horowitz because she has no desire to mass produce her work. She sees the irregularities in her pieces not as defects but as “evidence I made it.” As she posts on her website, there is no need to make or use hand-thrown pottery in the 21st century, but she feels it’s important to do so at this time when “people are more likely to text their online friends than to have tea with their neighbors.”

“It’s in the news every day – addiction to cell phones, how technology is causing anxiety – and I think part of that is because people have withdrawn from contact with people,” Horowitz said.

Customers who order her work like to call her and share their stories. “It’s not just buying a thing,” Horowitz said. “It’s forming a relationship.”

The Double Dip Dinghy is dishwasher and microwave safe, and costs $64 plus shipping. Find it through ashcovepottery.com or at Maine Potters Market on Fore Street in Portland.

— MEREDITH GOAD

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