The East Fork Journal

The East Fork Journal is a collection of musings, interviews, recipes and special features on products, collaborations and other beautiful objects we stumble across on our journey.  To get all of this delivered to your inbox a few times a month simply enter you email.  We hope you enjoy and if you like what you see, please tell us!  



I first discovered this truly addictive whipped tahini at a dinner hosted by Ashley Christensen as a part of her book tour for her (inventive and very cook-able) book Poole's: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner. It's a cinch to make and has since become a staple in my refrigerator. This ethereally smooth condiment works as a dip, spread, sauce, or just as a snack to eat by the spoonfull. I often use it to gussy up a piece of simply cooked meat or fish, but here I paired it alongside some lightly roasted spring vegetables. 



From Ashley Christensen's Poole's Diner cookbook

  • 1 1 ⁄2 cups tahini, well shaken
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

In a food processor, combine the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and process for four to six minutes, until the mixture lightens in color. With the motor running, gradually add up to one cup water, processing until the mixture is super smooth and creamy, like mayonnaise; the mixture will seize at first before emulsifying into a smooth spread. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. 



For this month's Clay Buddies, our meet-the-family journal series of employee profiles, meet Thomas: East Fork bookkeeper, number-cruncher, smiler, and all-around calming presence.  Below, he shares five of his most precious possessions to let us peek into his inner world.

 Thomas with Asa, his and  Amanda 's sweet pup.

Thomas with Asa, his and Amanda's sweet pup.

What do you do for East Fork?

I spend a lot of time in Quickbooks and a whole lot more time in spreadsheets. A typical day for me may include paying bills, categorizing expenses, recording/tracking sales, filing papers, etc. Classic bookkeeping stuff.  I also process payroll, review budgets, pay taxes, create reports and so on.  An interesting part each month is coming up with the most recent amount it costs us to make each piece of pottery - from Toddler Cups to Mixing Bowls. To sum it up, I do the accounting/bookkeeping at East Fork.





Let's talk about the objects you picked.

To start, the small card is my membership to the Planetary Society. I've always had an interest in astronomy and this is smaller than my telescope so it worked well.

What’s the Planetary Society?  

The Planetary Society is a non-profit originally co-founded by Carl Sagan. There is a lot of advocacy for government funding, community outreach/education, public stargazing events and such. They host a great podcast, too, called Planetary Radio.  It covers a lot of up-to-date space happenings that you may not discover without knowing to seek them out.

Do you use your telescope often?  

Not as often as I'd like. It feels like such a production to set up, though it really isn't, but when I do I have never regretted doing so.  Silly thing to make excuses for not doing because it's quite amazing to see.

What have you been finding or looking for lately?  Is this an appropriate question for a telescope-user?  

Sounds like an appropriate question to me. This telescope-user likes to look at anything. It sounds cliché, but honestly I just pan around, pause and focus in on what's there and have always been amazed.  My telescope is not the best to see nebulae or anything like that, but I have gotten really great views of Jupiter and its moons, which I always look forward to seeing.

Where is your favorite place to go to look at stars?

My front yard! Where I live it's fortunately rural and high in elevation enough to get really dark at night. If it's around the time of a new moon you can see so many stars, even without a telescope.  Gives me even less of an excuse to not do this more often!

How about the book?

The book, as you can see, is Salem's Lot by Stephen King, I really enjoy horror novels and this has to be my all time favorite.

What is it that you like about horror novels?

I originally got into Stephen King specifically and read a good number of his books before any other horror novel, then branched out from there and found that I like reading different takes on classic horror concepts. For example, Salem's Lot is a vampire novel that takes cues from all other vampire stories and even references Dracula but remains completely unique.

Do you like horror films too?

I do! A few favorites are Nosferatu, Night of the Living Dead, Let the Right One In and Thirteen Ghosts.

What's in the glass jar?

The jar of goo is my sourdough starter. Its been through neglect and has been knocked off the counter by my dog but still keeps living so I can make fresh bread.

When did you start getting into making sourdough?  How often do you bake bread?

I got that starter about 7 months ago and my first attempt pretty much yielded a frisbee.  Now, I've kept to a pretty consistent weekly routine since that first loaf: I feed the starter throughout the week, mix the levain Friday night, mix dough Saturday, and bake Sunday. It has been very meditative.

Tell me about the pour over situation there.

The coffee pour over and carafe has been with me for going on eight years and though I do love coffee, I really love the ritual of using this each morning.

Okay, now the star of the show - I don't even know what to call that, but I love it a lot. The jug?

The memory jug is something that has fascinated me longer than I can remember. My great-grandmother made it in Salem, Indiana and when I was little, it was at my grandma's house in Georgia. I recall always gravitating towards it and endlessly looking at the random objects stuck to it with mortar. A few years ago, after my grandma passed away, it ended up at my parents' house; when they recently moved, I took the chance to make it mine.

Did your great-grandmother make other things like this?  Where do you keep it in your house?

I'm not sure if that particular great-grandmother made much more like this. Other than some quilts, it is really the only thing I have made by a family member.  It lives in my living room with books and a bunch of woodfired pottery. It kind of gets overlooked most of the time but if I had to flee my house with only a handful of things in tow, this would always be included.


There's no doubt that our town's main draw is those big ol' mountains among which we're so lucky to be nestled.  Absolutely nothing compares to a romp through the woods when the weather's ripe, especially when it ends with a waterfall.  With a full-on curtain of snow falling on the first day of spring, though, it's safe to say we still haven't quite hit the true beginning of tourist season. 

Everyone in town seems to be desperately awaiting the end of another sleepy Asheville winter, but there's something cozy that I'll (maybe) (sorta) miss about the special small-town sweetness of Asheville in the "off season." 

It's as good a time as any to get out and flex your status as a local - below, a handful of things happening around town this weekend that we think sound better than hanging out at home.  Which can be pretty good.



 March for Our Lives Asheville student organizers.

March for Our Lives Asheville student organizers.

Asheville's March for Our Lives on Saturday joins a national, student-led movement organizing around ending gun violence in schools. The rain or shine March 24th rally starts at 11:00am at Pack Square around the Vance Monument, and you can read more about the event here.  If you can't make the march, you can donate to the student-led organizing initiatives on their GoFundMe here.



When's the last time you visited The Black Mountain College Museum?  If it's been a while, consider checking out their current exhibition, Gerald van de Wiele: VARIATIONS, an historic retrospective showcasing seven decades of the artist's work.  While you're there, learn about their upcoming annual {Re}HAPPENING, which will take place on the historic Lake Eden campus next weekend.



We love Villagers, a West Asheville shop that sells supplies and holds workshops for self-empowered living.  This Sunday, they're hosting a Basic Vegetable Fermentation Workshop with Lars Peterson, which will guide attendees "through the basic understanding of handcrafting your own fermented, lactic-bacteria, probiotic-rich foods."  Gut health is hot!  Learn how to get your own.



Madison Has Heart is a volunteer-run group dedicated to promoting and organizing initiatives designed to improve the lives of all citizens of Madison County (home to our workshop!), and this Saturday they're hosting their annual benefit Flea Market at Marshall High Studios.  The market will feature antiques, collectibles, and other local wares and all proceeds will benefit Madison Has Heart's heating-assistance program, with funds distributed directly to local families through Neighbors in Need.



We're lucky to have an organization like Revolve that hosts out-there performances and art events multiple times per week.  This weekend they'll host An eve of looping strings featuring area musicians Emmalee Hunnicutt & Will Franke; be sure to attend if you're in the mood for something a bit different, a bit trancey, and a bit meditative.


Meet Max, East Fork potter, crayon pot drawer, Asheville store window illustrator, and resident workshop joke maker.  Like everyone who works at East Fork, Max is a top-notch individual with many talents; here, he picks five special objects from his home to give us a glimpse into what makes him tick.

 Max with the late Kinky, beloved East Fork workshop cat and dear friend.  RIP, Kinky. ❤️ 

Max with the late Kinky, beloved East Fork workshop cat and dear friend.  RIP, Kinky. ❤️ 

Tell us about what you do for East Fork.

My recent work contract says I'm a "Glazer."  Predominately I prepare and glaze bisqueware, load and unload kilns, sand, and finish the product.  Sometimes I throw pottery, sometimes I doodle and draw.  I like to giggle and work really hard.





Tell me about the objects you chose.

Those are Tastee Fries from Tastee Diner [in West Asheville] with a Texas Pete packet as a garnish.  There's also a Pokémon Blue Version Game Boy cartridge, the Savages' "F***ers/Dream Baby Dream" 12", my mother's 8mm Sony Handycam, and a decorative tile of the Virgin Mary from Pewabic Pottery in Detroit.

What's the deal with the fries?

I just think those fries taste really good and I had a hankering. So they were my favorite thing at that given moment.

Tell me about the Game Boy game.

Pokémon Blue version. That cartridge is my oldest possession. The sticker is faded from use. My six Pokémon are most often Squirtle, Pidgey, Abra, Krabby, Vulpix, and Aerodactyl.  But how great is Jolteon?  Oh, or Vileplume or Cubone. Psyduck is a quack up. But Krabby is my favorite.  What's your favorite, Anne? 

I don't know much about Pokémon but I like Squirtle and Charmander because they're cute.  I also had a card for Ditto when I was younger which I thought was cool because Ditto is jelly and pink.  Frankie is here and she says she likes Vulpix, then Connie likes Flareon and Erin likes Squirtle.  Thanks for asking! 

Do you play on Game Boy Color?  Game Boy XP? SP?  What's it called?

I like this question.  No, I wish I still had my navy Game Boy Color.  I did nab my sister's original transparent gameboy, however I rarely use it since it's so hard to see the screen. I prefer my red Game Boy Advance SP, because of the backlit screen. 

My friend Lucian bought two unopened Pokémon card booster packs at this collectibles shop in Dallas over a certain spring break.  AND there was a Charizard in the pack.  Hysteria. Pure joy. Really nice picks from the store crew.  (And a note for the good people of the internet: whoever has my Pokémon Silver version, I want that back.) 

So why'd you choose this particular 12"? 

I like the Savages.  My pal Austin bought that record for me when I moved to North Carolina.  Their cover of Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream" is beautiful.  I think it's inspiring.  It encouraged my move to the area, among other things. You've got to keep that dream burning, Anne.

I love the Suicide song and will listen to this cover!  What else encouraged you to move to the area?

A lot of college friends had moved here from Chicago, and I wanted to live near them.  I had also interviewed previously with East Fork (and was NOT hired), but I thought I'd pester them once more.  Glad I did.

You recently set up the camera for guests at your housewarming party to use to make a "video diary."  Do you use it for other video projects? 

All of our home movies and school projects were shot on that camera.  Embarrassing stuff, but all of its buttons and cables and pivoting components are fun to play with.

I only just recently convinced my mother to part ways with it, and purchased new cassettes only a few weeks ago.  I don't imagine I'd use it for finished film projects, but rather as a resource for my drawings. 

My mother just recently sent me a portion of this taped indictment against Conrado, the mobster who supposedly was after my great grandfather's property in Honduras. I'd love to somehow use that footage in a drawing series.  Clips of the banana farm where my grandmother grew up and a photograph of the family safe with its door blown open - family intrigue.

Only thing left is the tile.  Tell me about that choice.

Pewabic is a pottery in Detroit, established in the early 1900's.  My parents have collected a lot of Pewabic's decorative tiles. I admired them as a kid, and appreciated them fuller once i started working with pottery.  I appreciate the Virgin too.  Brave lady.  The low relief catches the glaze so nicely, the glaze pooling off of peaks and into the recesses to produce that chiaroscuro effect. Good craftsmanship.

Thanks for having me, Anne.

Thanks, Max!!!