Marion Meets Miles

man working with clay at a pottery studio

Mountain Creative is a quintessential Marion date night, girls night, kids night and all-around artsy time. 

Miles Holbert started the business with his wife, Jessie in 2013, but his creative streak started long before that. 

The man behind the mud

man wearing a toboggan sitting at a potter's wheel

“[I’d play] in the mud when I was a little kid and [make] little figures. I would draw from the comics on Sunday morning, and I would kind of replicate those drawings.”

He’s dabbled in mud, drawing, painting, sculpture and now focuses on ceramics. 

“I was going to be a sculptor, and then I couldn’t find any sculptor jobs obviously.”

After working with at-risk youth, he said that experience changed his life and helped him decide to go back to school for a master’s in education. Although he hadn’t quite considered owning a business, he had always wanted to teach pottery. 

The idea for Mountain Creative had been in the works for a few years, perfectly combining his love for art and teaching kids. Once the building was ready, the customers were, too. 

“I had plans of going back to teaching, but luckily it was busy right off the bat, so I couldn’t do both.”

As he fulfilled a dream he didn’t fully realize he had, he is also fulfilling his original dream of living an artist’s life.

“I don’t have any dreams about doing it because I am doing it,” he said. “Maybe I thought I would be a full-time sculptor and live a different kind of life, maybe like an artist’s life, maybe the idealistic [life], but I am. That’s what I do. So I’m just living.”

His days start with dropping his son off at school, opening the shop and glazing people’s work from the previous days. When he doesn’t need to glaze or load the kiln, he works on pieces for places that request his work. He’s been making pots and getting inspiration from West Virginia as a whole – the environment, landscape, people.

Finding inspiration

“Inspiration is absolutely everywhere and everything so just breathing in is inspiring. You don’t really have to look for it.”

When he isn’t working, he said he gets coffee at Joe n Throw, food from Noteworthy Sweets and tries to get outside for walks in the woods and camping with the family. 

While the artist’s life he lives isn’t what he saw portrayed growing up, he said it’s always possible to live your life in an artful way regardless of your profession. 

several people sitting at long tables during apainting class

“Really, everybody’s an artist. You can live your life in an artful way, and it’s just as valid as painting a painting or making a sculpture or making a pot. You know, if you can communicate well with others and make them feel comfortable and things like that, or if you’re a really good dad or a mom, it’s the same. It’s all the same I think.”

As for the future, Miles is planning to offer even more crafts, more artistic mediums for the community, more camps and more after school programs.

“I hope that we’ve just been able to kind of facilitate people’s creativity. That’s pretty much what I think we’re here for. People just need an outlet. They’re super creative and smart and just awesome, so maybe sometimes they need a way to do that. Maybe they never had the opportunity to do that and maybe this gives them the opportunity to be creative and have fun with their family and … use their brain in a different way.”

Coming up at Mountain Creative in 2020 are some fun, artsy and chocolatey events:

Follow the calendar and Mountain Creative’s Facebook page for future events!

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