After 30 years working in Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Amy Hertz was ready for a change. It had been a hectic yet rewarding career but she needed something to take her mind off her work, since her three children were grown up and out of the house. “I dabbled in different crafts throughout my life; at the end of 2017, I took a two-hour wheel-throwing class. That class changed my life, and I was hooked,” Amy said.
And with that, the adventure began. Amy now makes and sells everything from mugs and bowls to planters and yard art. Each piece is one-of-a-kind, handcrafted from stoneware clay on a wheel, glazed and fired at 2200 degrees. It is a physically demanding, time consuming process that takes several weeks from start to finish.
“Folks wonder why ceramics are expensive, but it really is a process. Every step can go wrong including drying cracks, kiln issues, glaze issues, pieces exploding in the kiln, and so many more,” Amy explained. It is certainly a hobby that takes dedication, patience and attention to detail.
When COVID began, Amy decided to make an investment in Belltower Coffeehouse & Studio and is now one of the co-owners. Belltower brings the community together in its coffeeshop and provides accessibility to the craft of ceramics through a wide range of classes. Local artists also sell their work there. Amy is often on-site because she enjoys selling her wares in person and chatting with the folks who are browsing. This gives her an opportunity to talk about what went into creating each piece and to make a personal connection with the people interested in her pottery.
Even though Amy left the medical field, she still finds ways to help and give back to her community. A portion of the proceeds from some of her mugs are donated to different organizations including the Meri Armour Endowment Fund of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, the Chesed Fund at Beth Sholom Synagogue and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital through the Forrest Spence Fund. “I have also been volunteering giving COVID vaccines since late January. It is so rewarding and fills a void in me to care for others,” Amy said proudly.
Amy has selflessly devoted so much of her life to helping people. By combining her love of taking care of others and her talent creating unique pottery, she continues to spread joy to people everywhere. Each piece exudes the love and meaning that went into making it. Her hope is that people feel exactly that when they choose a piece to bring home.