Benjamin Fox-Ezell is seen surrounded by a selection of his handcrafted wooden bowls during a portrait shoot at Spencer’s Coffee. Benjamin Fox-Ezell makes each bowl using a style of woodworking commonly referred to as “turning work” because of the rotating lathe involved. (Photo by Chris Kohley)

Local business Of Wood and Clay takes a twist on everyday items

With the holiday season approaching, purchasing gifts for friends and family can be a staple. Local businesses like Of Wood and Clay, based in Auburn, are one way to gift presents not typically found anywhere else.

Opened in 2019 by owners Laura Beth and Benjamin Fox-Ezell, Of Wood and Clay is a local business where customers can buy everyday items with a twist. The couple creates each product and operates their business out of the barn located on their property.

“Both Ben and I get a lot of joy out of making daily, utilitarian items that are elevated,” Laura Beth Fox-Ezell said. “It is a great opportunity to get to make things that require the use of your creativity and your hands, then have someone use it every day to drink coffee or use as a vase.” 

Benjamin Fox-Ezell takes a break from his woodworking while Laura Beth Fox-Ezell unloads her kiln of fresh pottery in the barn behind their home. “We have lived in our home in Auburn for about four years. We love to create together, many times our work in separate shops actually ends up bringing us together,” Laura Beth Fox-Ezell said. (Photo by Emma Steele)

Since 2019, the Fox-Ezells have sold goods ranging from T-shirts to hand-crafted rolling pins. Laura Beth Fox-Ezell not only throws the pots but also carves and paints the vessels for use in the kitchen or anywhere else in the home. Benjamin Fox-Ezell crafts cutting boards, cedar jewelry and bookmarks alongside Laura Beth Fox-Ezell in their barn that doubles as a workshop. 

“I hope people can feel the love that Ben and I share for each other and our craft,” Laura Beth Fox-Ezell said.

Benjamin Fox-Ezell began his woodworking journey in 2013 and began crafting and selling his walking sticks out of an old shed. Thanks to his family, Benjamin Fox-Ezell expanded his woodworking skills to include crafting ornaments and bowls. 

He said he controls the “wood portion” for Of Wood and Clay, gathering lumber from their property and bringing it to their studio to carve into kitchen utilities, jewelry and hand-smoothed wooden mugs. 

Benjamin Fox-Ezell sits for a portrait at Spencer’s Coffee, where he works as a barista. (Photo by Chris Kohley)
One of Fox-Ezell’s pieces is displayed inside of Spencer’s Coffee. (Photo by Chris Kohley)

Laura Beth Fox-Ezell said her journey started when she became intrigued by throwing pots, or making pottery, in a homeschooling group at her local church. She said she was fixated on clay but abandoned her first love when the group switched its focus to painting. 

When she joined a pottery class in her early twenties that reminded her of the love she had for clay, she said that’s when Of Wood and Clay began. After Laura Beth Fox-Ezell was awarded a grant by the Kentucky Foundation of Women for her community-building pottery work for feminists of Kentucky, she began molding mugs, ornaments, vases and hammered clay vessels, all of which she currently produces for the store.

Laura Beth Fox-Ezell begins a new mug in the studio in her home. She writes motivational quotes by women on the bottom of each mug. “I am inspired constantly by people who work hard to bring their unique vision to life in this world. They’re everywhere,” Laura Beth Fox-Ezell said. (Photo by Emma Steele)

“We both love working together to create and to give to our community in the form of our art,” said Laura Beth.

Of Wood and Clay does not have a storefront, but the Fox-Ezells have a web store and they are very active in their community and local markets. 

“This is something beyond special that we get to do,” Laura-Beth Fox-Ezell said.

Laura Beth and Benjamin Fox-Ezell enjoy their evening together. She works on a batch of her pottery, and he is trying to get their dogs to leave the room. “We have a community that supports us, and we’re interested in enjoying the small moments in life,” Laura Beth Fox-Ezell said. (Photo by Emma Steele)

Catch Of Wood and Clay out in their community on Friday, December 1 and Saturday, December 2 at the South Union Shaker Village Holiday Market in Auburn to purchase limited edition items and have a chat with them about their golden retrievers or their craft.