What’s In A Name?

What's In A NameWe have a new logo! We have revamped our logo to one we feel will look better in print and on screen, and we think it will better reflect the nature of our business. At the same time, we’ve gained hundreds of new farm followers; and as a result, we’ve been asked quite a bit lately where the name “Two Clay Birds” comes from. So, we thought we’d use this week’s blog to explain. First a little personal history…

We married in a field on Kevin’s parent’s land in Erath County, Texas. Almost everything about the wedding had the mark of our handiwork on it. Our big day was a celebration of our life together and the friends who enriched it. We opted for an oak tree and hand-painted furniture instead of an ornate altar, a field instead of an expensive dance hall, fresh food prepared by friends and family instead of a catering service, a dress made by Kevin’s mom and embroidered by me, and a pie bar with fare made by a local restaurant instead of the obligatory cake. (Neither of us really likes cake.) And in lieu of a plastic bride pulling a plastic groom down the aisle, we selected pie toppers that truly spoke to our interests – two clay pie birds made by a family-owned company that has been making stoneware for over 80 years. For us, the experience of our wedding was a symbol of how we wanted to live life – simply, joyously, and surrounded by good food and good people.

“So, what is a pie bird?” you might be wondering. The quick answer is that it is a pie vent that is made in the shape of a bird. This often begs the question, “What the heck is a pie vent?” Well, I’ll tell you. Before the advent of pie vents, pies often boiled over while they were being cooked; this is because of several factors – pre-modern ovens often heated unevenly, and steam can get trapped underneath the top crust of a pie before having a volcanic effect that allows the pie’s contents to leak out. Pie vents, which were invented during the Victorian era, are small ceramic funnels that can be baked into the top of the pie which allow this steam to exit without ruining the crust. A secondary advantage of the pie vent is that it holds the top crust in place and prevents it from sagging. Thus, they’re also sometimes called “crust holders.”

Following the funnel shape of initial pie vents, it became popular to design them to look like birds.  The main reason we chose the pie birds for our wedding pie was that it seemed like an “earthier” choice for us than any plastic decoration we could find. The ceramic, or clay, was a material that appealed to us because it is worked by hand by an artisan before being formed into shapes. It is an artistic medium that dates back to the earliest, most ancient days of humanity, and this conveyed a timeless feel to something that was there to represent our love for each other on that day. Buying our birds from Clay City Pottery – an American company that dates back to the 1930s – felt like an investment in both the past and the future, since we are huge supporters of local economies and small businesses. As an added bonus, the pie birds came in our favorite colors: aqua blue and yellow.

With the past, present, and future in mind, “Two Clay Birds” seemed like a fitting name for the farm and studio and the overarching dream for our life together. It was a name that tied us to one of the most momentous days of our lives – our wedding day, as well as to the soil of our farm and to the artisanal nature of the crafts and foods we wanted to bring forth and share with others. Every time we look at our pie birds that we keep on the shelf, we remember those goals and the ideals we have tied in with our plans – to live a hands-on, creative life that brings us into stewardship of the Earth and the people we meet along our journey.


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