Editors note:

This business was temporarily closed due to concerns of COVID-19, however, it has reopened its zero-contact operations as of Tuesday, April 7.

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Zigzagging through neighborhoods in Wadena, Verndale and Staples is one business woman bent on delivering art projects to kids and adults staying at home.

Karen Moyer of Leaf River Pottery started her business north of Verndale on the Leaf River last spring after owning a pottery business for about 10 years in the cities. It began locally with community ed classes and a mobile art studio, popping up where a group wanted to paint pottery together and go home with a finished project. Since COVID-19 put a stop to those planned group gatherings, she threw out the idea of pottery delivered to homes. The idea has taken off as parents at home scramble for projects to keep their kids busy.

The process is catered toward the consumer with Moyer now having the added task of dropping off the raw pottery pieces (mugs, bowls, plates, animals and more) brushes and paint; then she must return to pick up the painted pieces and bring them to her studio, where she glazes and heats the pottery in her kiln; loads them back in her vehicle and drops them off at customers' doors or in the convenient totes many families have now placed outside their homes for meal and school delivery. It’s a two-day turnaround.

Choose your paints and pottery and they'll be delivered to your door.
Submitted by Karen Moyer
Choose your paints and pottery and they'll be delivered to your door. Submitted by Karen Moyer

While there is social distance between customer and producer, Moyer knows the feeling people have when they open up their completed projects. The once dull paint has brightened and the character of each brush stroke shines through.

“They are pretty excited,” Moyer said. She finds that even she is excited every time she opens her kiln. “It’s like Christmas.”

She said one recent drop involved a delivery to some kids and then a delivery to one of their elderly relatives. While at separate locations, the group planned to paint their projects together through a video chat.

Moyer does not make the pottery, rather she purchases it from a production company and allows customers to pick what they would like, including the paints. Moyer just set up a Facebook Live event for the end of April, where kids are invited to paint a bud vase with her to give as a Mother's Day gift to their moms. The project will be dropped off (no contact style) prior to the date of the event.

This special delivery service has been doing well in a time where people are less likely to go out and shop and are stopped from gathering at community events. But it certainly has slowed other movement in the Moyer family businesses. The family also operates Leaf River Recreation, a camper rental service.

“Normally, at this time, I don’t have people going out camping, but I have a ton of reservations, and that’s not happening,” Moyer said. “We are finding there are different ways our businesses are being affected. We’re just kind of riding it out, trying to stay safe, but not losing our sanity by being trapped with nothing to do.”

Prior to the virus pandemic, Moyer said she was looking at storefronts in Wadena to hopefully open a shop where people could gather and work on their pottery projects. Those thoughts of development are on hold for her and so many others that are unsure when some degree of normalcy will return.

Find out more

To find out more about Leaf River Pottery, search for it on Facebook or find Moyer’s posts on the Wadena - Yes, We’re OPEN Group Facebook page. You can also reach her at 763-443-2226.

Moyer said 90% of her pottery is in the range of $10 - $20. That cost includes the whole process from start to finish and free delivery within the cities of Verndale, Staples and Wadena.