Amy Briggs is an Auburn University alumna who has gone on to sell small-batch ceramics and recently became the general manager for Rock ‘n’ Roll pinball. She graduated in the fall of 2018 and moved to Asheville, North Carolina, in 2019.
After graduation, she moved to Asheville to pursue her residency at Odyssey Clay Works where she taught kids how to make pottery as well as assisting the other residents for three months. This same company asked Briggs to continue to work with them as a studio assistant.
During this time, she began looking for another job in ceramics to add to her income. Then, The Bright Angle offered her a job for the role of mold caster. This company specializes in 3D models and creates molds out of the models.
“I was filling molds with porcelain slip and created thousands of pieces with them on a production scale,” Briggs said.
However, she had to move back to Auburn once the pandemic erupted. Many artists were out of a job as she and her co-workers were not considered essential workers.
“There were more important things going on than the production of ceramics,” she said.
While the pandemic put her artist dreams on hold, Briggs said it did give her the opportunity to find an outlet of interest.
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Brigg’s father is an “avid pinball connoisseur.” Pinball machines have been a part of the Briggs family for the last 10 years. Her father introduced her to the owner of Rock ‘n’ Roll pinball, Ernie Rains.
Rains asked Briggs to be an event coordinator for his business. Briggs started setting up “pinball pop-ups” for the company. At this time, Briggs was “throwing pots in [her] studio” and posting her work for sale online.
Many successful events and pop-ups throughout June to August resulted in Rock ‘n’ Roll pinball establishing a permanent location on Railroad Avenue in Opelika. Rains then offered her a job as general manager.
“There wasn’t much time to create ceramics at that point,” Briggs said.
However, she said she hasn’t completely given up on pottery. Briggs and her partner, Patrick Davis, commenced the purchasing process of a historical home from the 1900s. Davis is the owner and chef of the catering business Home Eats.
The two decided to start their businesses within their new home; Briggs’ ceramics studio on one side and Davis’ catering business on the other. The couple will live on the second floor of the house.
“The long term goal is to have a community ceramics studio equipped with wheels, kilns, clay and tools for the everyday potter,” she said. “I’d like to open my doors to the public and allow potters to have a special space to learn about the joys of ceramics.”
Briggs said she acknowledges dreams and sacrifices go hand-in-hand. In order to purchase their dream home, Briggs accepted the general manager position at Rock ‘N’ Roll Pinball with the realization “that homes aren’t built off the salary of a potter…”
“It has been an amazing experience watching and learning about small business,” she said. “There have been many ups and downs but I am proud to work for Ernie Rains and the entire RNRP team.”
Briggs and Davis plan on making renovations on their home and pursuing the dream of Briggs’ own ceramics studio. Until then, she remains focused on the long-term dream.
“All good things take time and I am excited to see where it takes me,” Briggs said.
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