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December 03, 2023 | Katelyn Keenehan

Local maker’s pottery flies off the shelves

Diahn Ott is one of the local artisans involved in the Maker City.

It’s been eight years since Diahn Ott took her first pottery class. Most people can’t evenly distribute the mound of clay in the middle of the pottery wheel on the first try. Diahn centered it, no problem. It was at that moment she knew she was destined to be a potter.

“I’ve been an artist for a while doing drawing and painting, but I had gotten out of the groove,” Ott said. The pottery class was the turning point that reeled her back in.

However, instead of pursuing a traditional approach, she began to integrate new, innovative techniques. Ott paints a large portion of her pieces with wax. This gives each ceramic design a texture, along with a pain pattern. Then, she dips her piece in paint to give it an intense, vibrant coloring!

One example is her flower sets. In the photo on the right, you can see the dip technique where the pattern changes.

“Those have been really really popular. I can’t keep those in stock. I have some things at the Knoxville Art Museum gift shop, and the flowers are always the first to go,” Ott said. “For this one, I actually used a brush and wax to put in the designs. Then I painted the flowers on, and then I covered them in wax.”

She said these types of complicated pieces still take time, and close attention. However, after eight years, a lot of her pottery process is muscle memory. She threw a mug on the wheel during our interview. Within 10 minutes the base of the mug came out smooth.

Aside from keeping her pieces at the Art Museum, Ott said she primary sells her ceramics through her online store. She is also a member of the Maker City, which has been a beneficial platform for her to showcase her pottery.

Involvement with the Maker City

“I first was introduced to the Maker City in 2020, during the pandemic. We were all stuck at home and couldn’t meet anybody,” Ott said. “But, Maker City still had their Summit virtually that year. So, I was able to meet so many great people through that.”

In January of 2022, Ott joined the committee to help plan the Maker City Summit.

“I value the education opportunities. I’ve learned so much about taxes, business plans, and marketing strategies. They just provide so many resources, and it’s helpful because we all operate on very small budgets with very limited marketing and advertising,” Ott said.

In addition to the knowledge, Ott said she’s also gained a wonderful, supportive community.

Diahn Ott, 10 minute wheel throw

“I’ve met so many fantastic people who do things that are not pottery related. I’m friends with jewelry makers,  soap makers, candle makers and have even met someone who makes beard balms,” she said. “There’s no greater resource I think for makers in Knoxville than the Maker City. I think we’re really privileged to have something like that in Knoxville.”

If you are an artist and want to learn more about Maker City, visit

If you want to explore more of Diahn Ott’s pottery, visit



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