Justin Rothshank • The Good of Goshen

Justin Rothshank

Goshen Potter at Rothshank Artworks

Published Sept. 2020

My high school art teacher was Cindy Cooper at Goshen High School. I started taking clay with her. I also did a lot of work outside of high school, building houses and working with wood, so I’ve always been interested in working with my hands. Then I went to Goshen College. I have a degree in art from there.

I’m full-time as a potter, and my wife and I are both artists. My wife is a painter. Our main job is studio art.

After graduation from Goshen College, I moved to Pittsburgh and Brooke and I lived there for nine years. That’s sort of where we started our business.

The biggest thing from a business perspective, and why Brooke and I chose to come back to Goshen, was wanting to live in a small-town, rural environment. And also using this as a home base to go out from. There was a recognition that to make a living as a craft artist, cost of living needed to be low, and Goshen is a prime place for that. We can live here and work in a rural setting and do what we want to do in a way we couldn’t if we were living in some place like Chicago or San Francisco or New York. What we’re able to do because of the cost of living here is much greater than what we could do elsewhere.

Goshen has had a track record of being a good place for pottery. There are a lot of well-respected national and international ceramic artists who went to Goshen College and have moved on to make phenomenal tableware. So there is that reputation and that continues to evolve. There really is a history of good craft that comes from Indiana and from this region.

I think from a home-based standpoint, Goshen is a really great community that understands and values craft, and that’s really taken off in the last 20 years or so. There are guilds that have started. There’s the refocusing of what’s happening in downtown Goshen toward sort of craft and artisan skills. There are also the social movements related to craft beer and craft food and all that stuff that comes along with education, so there’s a willingness to sort of follow that lifestyle.

Writing, editing, and photography by Scott Weisser and Neil King

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