by Roger Ward | Photo © Roger Ward
Creativity, social responsibility, artistry and independence are banners held high on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. Very few fly them higher or more proudly than two clay artists who meld these qualities with a keen business sense. Highlighting the importance of family farms on the island, their creations play a starring role in the progression of food from farm to market to kitchen to table.
The small business that Robbie Lobell and Maryon Attwood established, Cook on Clay, made a huge splash during a 2012 Seattle event, Art of the Northwest Table, which paired the best local clay artisans with local chefs. Cook on Clay’s pots wowed with rugged duty functionality in the kitchen and elegant presentation on the table. Demand skyrocketed.
Robbie Lobell is the designer and maker of the company’s line of high-fire flameproof cooking pots. She describes her designs as, “distilling the idea of the pot until the essential form is created and adding back only what is absolutely necessary for perfect functionality.”
Lobell and Attwood (the company’s business manager) have brought a rare new product to market: made-in- America, high-temperature ceramic cookware.
Locals and visitors thrive on Whidbey Island’s food culture. Buying produce and seafood, such as fresh Penn Cove mussels, right from the source, picking up gourmet items at Bay Leaf Deli in Coupeville or Oak Harbor, and sampling wine at local wineries, such as Spoiled Dog Winery or Whidbey Island Winery, are favorite pursuits.
Visiting craft studios is also popular. A visit to the Cook on Clay studio immerses the visitor in the Whidbey Island landscape. With a pot from their studio, you can immediately begin cooking in one of Whidbey Island’s many overnight accommodations with kitchens, such as Fort Casey Inn or the Lovejoy Inn’s Carriage House Cottage. The pots also function perfectly on a campsite grill at Deception Pass State Park. And, of course, you can take your new island treasure home.
For more information:
>> Whidbey Island: whidbeycamanoislands.com
>> Cook on Clay: cookonclay.com
>> Fort Casey Inn: fortcaseyinn.com
>> Lovejoy Inn: thelovejoyinn.com
>> Deception Pass State Park: parks.wa.gov/parks
>> Bayleaf Deli: bayleaf.us
>> Spoiled Dog Winery: spoileddogwinery.com
>> Whidbey Island Winery: whidbeyislandwinery.com
Where to purchase Penn Cove mussels: