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Meet the Maker: Will Donovan of Donovan Pottery

Every ceramics artist has a great story or antidote about how they got started in pottery. Will Donovan’s narrative and offerings to the Making world echo some of the great crafters and wordsmiths of our modern mythos. Now established in their business and focused on the direction their story takes them; Will sat with me to better introduce themselves to their audience and hopeful new prospects at Lv1Gaming.

Will, how would you describe what you make?

As the founder of Donovan Pottery, I create unique, handcrafted ceramic pieces that merge traditional pottery techniques with modern, nerdy inspirations. My work is deeply influenced by The Hero’s Journey. Aiming to craft drinkware that feels like it’s a guide on part of your epic adventure- Life.  Donovan Pottery exists to inspire others to craft their own stories by encouraging the development of Heroic character traits and values- ones we can use in our daily lives.

What exactly is it you’re Nerdy about?

I’m incredibly passionate about the intersection of ceramics and storytelling. A common misconception is that pottery is simply a functional craft, but I see it as a narrative medium. Each piece I create tells the story not only of its creation- but also reflects where I am in my journey as a craftsman. My work is meant to evoke a sense of heroism and adventure, drawing from the rich lore of fantasy worlds. I wish more people understood the storytelling potential within each mug or bowl.

What thread in Modern or Mythology Media led you to what you do now?

The idea that everyday objects can carry the weight of epic tales inspired me profoundly. A Map, a Ring, a Cup, a Sword- these are all objects that tell profound stories, and are the heralds and causes of great stories. Growing up, I was fascinated by how objects in fantasy stories held deep significance and lore. As a result, I found a gap in the market where pottery could not only serve its functional purpose but also be a catalyst for imagination and adventure. I sought to fill that void.

What is the biggest problem facing Pottery at the moment?

One major challenge in the pottery industry is balancing artistry with scalability. Many artisans struggle to maintain their unique voice while expanding production. For me, the ideal solution involves developing efficient systems that retain the handmade quality and storytelling essence. Right now, my biggest challenge is managing production and marketing simultaneously. I’m working towards building a team and creating more efficient workflows. I admire the approach of Rae Dunn, a ceramic designer East Fork Pottery who is reimagining American Craft manufacturing, and Fell and Fair, a medieval costume and events company, who have maintained their distinct style even as their respective brands have grown significantly.

Some of Will’s amazing work in Collaboration with Fell and Faire, Credit: Donovan Pottery IG

How did you get into Pottery and Ceramics?

My journey into pottery began almost by accident. Switching my major in university from Business to Art the day before classes began my freshman year. I had no prior art or craft experience in or out of school but was driven by a love for creating things with my hands. I quickly fell in love with clay, and by the end of my first semester, I told my girlfriend (now wife)  who was taking the class with me, “I am going to be a potter.”

Since then, I have pursued every possible opportunity to make that dream a reality, forgoing many other opportunities and life paths. As my skills developed, I found myself naturally integrating my interests in fantasy and mythology into my work. This approach felt authentic to me and resonated with others. It took time and experimentation to refine my style and purpose. Each iteration brought me closer to what Donovan Pottery is today—a blend of craftsmanship and storytelling.

Ideally, where do you want to take your pottery work in the future?

In the future, I envision Donovan Pottery expanding into a broader range of fantasy-inspired home goods and educational media. Becoming a beacon of inspiration for both enthusiasts of craft and nerd. Providing valuable access to nerds seeking to pursue their own dreams of living out a non-traditional work experience. Using their passions to create meaningful, and life-changing opportunities for themselves, families, and communities. The dream client would be a major fantasy franchise, or a game studio to create thematic pieces that fit within the stories they tell. That would make me very happy indeed.

 What does time away from Work look like?

Time away from work is often spent exploring new storytelling mediums. Anything from animation on my iPad to developing a media company, playing board games with family. (I’ll crush you in Catan) Even enjoying daily life with my wife and two boys. I’m an avid runner, modest gardener, and according to my youngest- the best pancake maker in the world.

What’s your “Secret Fandom” and guilty pleasure that you’re nerdy about that few people would guess?

 My secret fandom is my admiration for the work of Jim Henson. His creativity and innovation in bringing characters to life through media have been a guiding inspiration for me. His ability to merge storytelling with craft to engage and reach an audience of millions is something I deeply respect and strive to emulate in my own work. I also am a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuck, and the work he is doing educating people on the power of brand building on social media with tactics to help them do it. 

His intellectual property project, Veefriends- a modern version of Pokémon meets Sesame Street- is one that I’m following closely. 

What’s the upcoming or new project you’re excited for that you can tell us about?

 I’m particularly excited about a new venture that I’m working quietly on- a Media Company called Mathom House. This new venture will serve as a hub where artistry, craft, and storytelling converge. Mathom House will be a place to inspire people to craft their own stories, engage with the public through educational and immersive experiences, and support a community of creators. It’s envisioned as a space where magical and artistic experiences come to life. I can’t wait to share more as it develops.

Where can people find you?

You can find Donovan Pottery on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook at @DonovanPottery, and our website is Donovanpottery.com. We regularly share updates, new releases, and behind-the-scenes content across these platforms.

Closing Thoughts

Will, you’ve got me fired up. Seems even though our mediums are different, the mindset is the same. I won’t glaze over the insight you’ve given me today. Man, I need to stop throwing these puns out here. For real, Seeing your work on social media, it’s an honor to have these answers, and I’m taking the inspiration and “kindred spirit” vibes into my own work. Be on the lookout for my video interview with Will, and make sure to stay tuned for some more amazing articles and updates from both myself and Will here on Lv1Gaming.


About the Author:
Thomas Tusano is a Michigan Based Writer/Woodworker and Game Streamer passionate about Hand Crafts, RPGs, and Gaming with friends, He works out of Makerworks Ann Arbor where he can be found crafting the perfect desk or dice tray to roll clicky-clacky math rocks into to make stories and memories with friends, Streaming and Gaming to support his lumber habit, or to raise money for the Jimmy Fund

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