Pottery, Stickers, and the Eastern Sierra Dream with Casey Clark
Words and Photography by Spencer J Harding
In an all too familiar series of small world events, I ended up at a small property about an hour north of Reno with Casey Clark. Casey is more known in this bike world for his side hustle of “Camp and Go Slow” stickers and patches, a visual play on the famous Campagnolo logo. Think of this as a Behind the Music if you will, well behind the sticker at least…
Nestled on the side of the road with a large sign proclaiming “POTTERY” lies veteran potter, Paul Herman, and his massive wood-fired Kiln, a centerpiece among the many facets of the property geared toward pottery. Casey wound up as a joint caretaker of half of the property and has been carving out his own little slice of eastern Sierra paradise out of the ruins of the Nursery that once stood there. Throughout the renovations, he is currently living in a canvas tent and commuting into Reno for teaching and other pottery related gigs.
A veteran bike mechanic and avid bike nerd aside from his pottery, he had a silly idea, making the classic Campagnolo logo say, “Camp and go slow” which he turned into reality with the help of a friend and a vinyl cutter. He imagined it would just be a fun thing and he’d hand out a few stickers to his friends. Miraculously, one of those stickers wound up in the hands of Jarrod Bunk, who was so excited he wanted to be a partner in this venture.
Stickers and jokes aside, I was quite lucky with my timing of the visit to be able to witness the prepping and semi-annual firing of the massive wood-fired kiln on the property. The process takes many months to prepare, requiring the sourcing of many cords of wood as well as the creating and packing of the kiln with pottery. The process of firing is incredibly labor intensive, with round the clock attention needed to keep the fires ablaze at temperatures over 2000 degrees for multiple days. It was intriguing to see the pottery community come together for this occasion, with all the pomp and circumstance of a Thanksgiving feast with plenty of communal meals for whoever was tending to the kiln at that time. With so many facets to monitor it is most definitely a multi-person task to manage the huge fire-breathing kiln.
Wood firing is a slow and laborious task, one with results that are very unique to a firing of this type. Casey rarely seems rushed, he just wants to camp and go slow as well as maybe take a week to fire some amazing pottery. He still sneaks in bike rides on missions to cut down firewood, and oh baby look at that sweet Rawland! The dream is still out there, you just might have to carve it out of the ruins and sagebrush.
Bikes have taken me to some truly unique places and now I can add a communal wood-fired pottery gathering, oh the places you’ll go. Thanks for letting me hang out and ask all kinds of silly questions.
Campandgoslow just posted a bunch of new products, so head on over and check it out!