For Jake and Julie Bond, 2019 will bring a new space for their Archival Designs pottery and custom tile business.
Their story of growth mirrors the Crossroads location they moved into 17 years ago.
Back then, they chose to rent a basement location with an entrance down an alley near 20th and Main streets. The space wasn’t ideal, but it was big — and gave them plenty of room for a kiln.
As the area grew in popularity, so did their client base and their family. Now they have two children, Margot, 9, and Oliver, 6. The couple also has a new building with a proper street level entrance and good parking near 31st and Charlotte Streets where they’ll set up shop in early January. These makers are excited about being part of the future of the evolving midtown neighborhood.
Kansas City Spaces: How did you guys get together and decide to start a business?
Jake: We met in a tile studio in Omaha. We worked there for a couple of years and learned the ins and outs of running a ceramics business. Julie was a Kansas City Arts Institute graduate and knew about the Crossroads area really well.
Julie: But it was only four or five galleries then, rather than what it is now. I had a friend who lived above the current space. So, I had seen it before.
KCS: Your entrance is down an alley in a basement. How did that work?
Jake: We used to set up a table in the front and tell people to go to the back. The area has changed a lot since then. It used to be, from 5 (p.m.) on Friday until 8 (a.m.) on Monday, there was nobody anywhere. Now, there are people everywhere all the time (downtown), which is great for Kansas City. Now, about 90 percent of the people who come in on a non-First Friday know how to find us and are repeat customers.
KCS: How have you grown your craft over time?
Julie: At first, we thought we were going to do mainly tile, but then the pottery aspect of it really took off. We quickly realized we could make a living on pottery.
KCS: What do you like about the work?
Jake: Everything. We like being able to create and make things that people are using every day. We specialize in really functional work that is for everyday use, but we are really big into color. The way we glaze our pottery, we want it to be beautiful and functional.
KCS: How do you keep your work fresh?
Julie: We have a lot of unique glaze patterns. We switch it up a lot. We have patterns we do quite a few times. Then we get tired of it and try something new. The tile is one of a kind. It can be very customized.
KCS: What is it like to work with your spouse?
Julie: You figure it out. There are times during the day that we don’t really talk that much. We are just doing our own thing.
Jake: That was the first 15 years — figuring it out.
Julie: Now that (our kids) are both in school it feels back to normal, but we didn’t actually work together that much for a while. One would work and one would take care of the kids then we would switch.
KCS: How do you think things will change when you move into your midtown location?
Jake: We are really excited to transform a new space into exactly how we want it with a full gallery, work space and tile showroom. The neighborhood there is really growing. There are really nice established businesses moving in and other artists moving that way. We are still going to keep a Crossroads presence for First Fridays.
Julie: We are lucky enough we have a good following. We hope to be able to see all of our regular customers before we move. With the new space, it’s ours and that is the biggest thing. We can do with it what we want — and there is a place for people to park.