I was always interested in clay. As a child I made little pots out of clay that I found near my house. My father wanted to encourage me and tried to make a potter's wheel out of a record player but I had no idea how to throw pots and the clay would just fly off the wheel. I took classes in college but really learned when I took some classes from Art Gannett in the winter of 1979. Art was a high school classmate and had moved to the Pepin area in 1973. He is now the lead potter at Red Wing Stoneware—a very great potter. I was very determined and was making and selling pots later that summer. My husband built a big gas kiln for me in 1983 and I was in production. We sold my pots at art fairs and in 1991 I decided to become a shop keeper in Stockholm instead of hauling pots around to art fairs. Stockholm Pottery is now the oldest store in town!
My pottery is designed to be used. Functionality is my goal. If I have a choice between aesthetics and usability, I will choose to make my pieces comfortable and easy to use. I take special care to make sure they serve their function well by focusing on details like comfortable handles, smooth bottoms and lid handles that are easy to grasp so you don't drop and break them. All of my work is lead-free, oven proof and dishwasher safe. Enjoy your pots!
History of the Shop
The building that houses Stockholm Pottery & Mercantile began in 1913, when Christian Bruchman's daughter Ernestine finally found her mate in railroad engineer Joseph Beichel. They built the Ernestine Bruchman Beichel House and Confectionary. It was located between Lake Pepin and the end of Bruchman's meadow (now the carp pond next to the village park). The business and lakeside dream died with Ernestine in 1919. Joe moved the house up Spring Street, well away from the icy perils of Lake Pepin in winter, took himself to St. Paul and a new profession as a baker and took a new wife. In his absence the Stockholm house got a reputation for providing an evening's—or hour's—pleasure to railroad workers and roustabouts. In the late 1920s it reopened as a restaurant with a barber shop in the basement and eventually returned to the Bruchman family. After passing through several owners as a home, it was converted to Mississippi Pearl Jewelry Co. in the late 1980s by Nadine and Sonny Nelson. Diane Millner bought the building from the Nelsons in 1993 and opened Stockholm Pottery & Mercantile.
After twenty five years at her shop in Stockholm, Diane Millner is semi-retired, but still making her pots. Her pots are still available in the same lovely yellow Cape Cod house next to the railroad tracks in Stockholm, but the store is now called The Purple Turtle Artisan Collective. The new proprietor, Amanda Scholz, is an amazing woman with some very interesting, fresh and funky creations from around the country. In addition to Amanda's inventory, you will find your favorite Diane Millner pots in her store.