rafter e studio
  4501 Fairmount, Kansas City, Missouri


Hours & Contact Info

Our apologies to everyone who had finally gotten used to our Saturday hours, but we will be ending those beginning January 1, 2016. Most of you faithfully attend our seasonal shows, so we've decided Saturday hours are pretty much superfluous. So: we'll be open now by appointment and for seasonal shows.

  • To see John's work, call or text him at (816) 255-0956, or email him here.
  • To see Tara's work, call or text her at (816) 804-4278, or email her here, or see her online shop at www.taradawley.com.


NCECA 2016

View Exhibition Statement: "More, from Less."

John Eck's work is handbuilt from slabs of buff stoneware clay. The pieces are finished with groggy slips, oxides and glazes, and fired Cone 6 Oxidation.

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Vase (10"x3"x13")

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Vase

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Vase (21"x3"x6")

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Vase

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Vase (6"x6"x17")

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Totems (3"x3"x21")

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Vase (20"x3"x6")

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Vase

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Vase (12"x3"x10")

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Vase (3"x11"x7")

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Tray (14"x14"x4")

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Vase (5"x12"x8")

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Plaque (3"x12"x12")

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Plaque (3"x12"x12")


John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Tray

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Vessel

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Vase

John Eck, Handbuilt Stoneware Vase


Below are a few pictures of our studio/gallery during past shows. This is where we work and show. John is both an architect and a potter, and designed this space to be highly functional, versatile and affordable. The studio was even honored with a design award from the Kansas City Historic Foundation, as an adaptive reuse of a former neighborhood grocery store.

The front gallery space can be reconfigured with pedestals and rolling cubbies from IKEA.

Stacking stools can be stored on work days, and brought out for parties and shows.

A simple linear display shelf over the storage areas acts as both ceramic display and picture rail.

Easy-access tool and clay storage is hidden behind canvas curtains, and topped with a display shelf.
Sliding doors easily reconfigure the studio to create day-to-day workspace or a gallery for shows.
Long work tables, made of polyurethaned particle board, convert to display space during shows.
A custom rolling kiln shelf cart is easy on the back and slips into a nearby alcove.
Our front display window makes new work easy to see and rotate in and out.
Small spaces are grouped along one side, allowing one big space to run uninterrupted front to back.


NCECA 2016 and Blog Update

FIRST, the coolest new news: our gallery exhibition "More, From Less." has been selected to be part of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Conference to be held in Kansas City during their 50th Anniversary Conference, Makers Mentors and Milestones, which will take place in Kansas City, Missouri from March 16-19, 2016.

This is a big deal for us, of course, but it's a really big deal for Kansas City as a whole, too. The conference usually has an attendance of 3500-5000 people! Galleries all over the city will have special ceramic shows. If you're into ceramics, you should definitely take a look here to find out more.


SECOND, since Rafter E has reluctantly decided to take on social media and use Facebook and Instagram, this blog will have only the big announcements from now on (show/sale dates, dates we're closed, etc.).

If you are local to KC: We would definitely recommend "liking" our Facebook page (link above) to get a little more than the bare bones. We'll post new work there, and the occasional studio update or "special" Facebook-user discounts! It will essentially replace this blog (except for the afore-mentioned big things).

KC local folks and those abroad: Following our Instagram feed (link above) will give you a little more behind the scenes action. Work in progress and trivia about our ceramic process. If you like that kind of thing, you'll like Instagram. (Bonus: there will be an occasional giveaway.)

KC locals and People Who Hate Social Media: We hear you. We are reluctant participants. But we would recommend at least signing up for the mail list (link above). We send out very, very few emails--and it'll saves you the trouble of following any of this nonsense. And we never, ever sell emails.


The Rafter E Studio Gang 


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Open Saturday, July 4, 2015!

It'll be a beautiful day, we'll be making pots...why not be open? Bring your family and friends and come on by. Open 12pm-5pm every Saturday. (Below: a gladiola from the garden and a new stoneware vase from John Eck.) 


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Closed Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sorry! Events have conspired to make us all be away from the studio the weekend of June 27. If you'd like to get in before the following Saturday, just contact us via the email link right above this post.

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Spring Has Sprung at Rafter E

Don't you want to be a part of it? Our pots make your flowers look even better!

PS: Don't forget about Porchfest on June 13th. Everybody who's anybody will be there. www.porchfestkc.com

PPS: These flowers are all from our studio garden! 








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Closed Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sorry! Events have conspired to make us all be away from the studio this weekend. If you'd like to get in before the following Saturday, just contact us via the email link right above this post.

And as long as we're talking about those links above, did you know we're slowly crawling into the last decade and joining social media? Yep. Kicking and screaming. There's a Facebook up there you're welcome to follow--it'll have more frequent postings than this blog. If you're into it, there's an Instagram, too--which is actually where I post to, and then share it to Facebook. So the news will be several seconds fresher there.

Thanks for being our friend! 

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Architecture Break: Arrow Rock II

In case you were wondering why the previous post described the house as Arrow Rock I . . . here's an early peek at Arrow Rock II, right across the street! I'll post more as it finishes up. A bigger place, for a retired couple, who spend more time down in AR. Giant back acreage looking out onto horse stables. And horses, of course. A little different look to this one--it needed to meld with a couple of existing structures on the property.





This is the street side/south side of the house. The garage to the right was existing. Like the first house, this one has laminated asphalt shingles, Hardie-plank lap siding and brick-veneer foundations (this is nearly a building standard in AR). More photos to come!

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Architecture Break: Arrow Rock I

If  you read this blog from time to time, you probably saw a post a year or two ago about this weekend house under construction. Because of the town's status on the historic register, all new construction must be designed in a fitting, traditional style. Although from the outside it has a Shaker-meets-Queen Anne kind of look, the interior is actually quite contemporary. The centerpiece is a large, vaulted living/kitchen area. The kitchen has a BIG wood-topped island that can seat up to eight, in lieu of a dining table. The higher seating lets you see over the living room furniture and out to the beautiful view.

It's all done now, and the owners are spending happy weekends in historic Arrow Rock, Missouri. Maybe they'll have you over for dinner? I'll put a good word in for you. (But only if you like us on Facebook! Hey, pots don't sell themselves.)





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Scenes from the Spring Show

Thanks to everyone that helped make it a great weekend!





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Spring Show 2015

Our third annual! We're really excited about this group . . . and, well, about spring in general. The studio garden is coming back to life! Come by, catch up. (And feel free to join our mailing list if you're not already on there. And/or, like us on Facebook!)

Friday, April 24

Saturday, April 25

Sunday, April 26


Ryan Fletcher (www.ryanfletcherdesign.com)



Kahlil Robert Irving (kahlil.irving@gmail.com) creates installations and sculpture that collage color, complex forms, and recognizable objects relating to different signs and symbols from his cultural and social environment. His work has been exhibited internationally at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, in Jerusalem, Israel; The International Ceramics Studio, in Kecskemet, Hungary; and the Riga Porcelain Museum in Riga, Latvia. He has also exhibited nationally at The Glassell School and Museum of Fine Art in Houston, Texas; The Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and the Kansas City Artist Coalition in Kansas City, Missouri.




Reuben Ruhl is currently attending the University of Missouri Kansas City.  His work is the result of the exploration of academic techniques and subtle iterations in style which often effect the subject of his work in unanticipated ways.  This process is a meditation on the subjective altering of the objective world of experience; in which the human body is simultaneously the barrier to the Experienced Universe and its co-creator.





Tara Dawley (www.taradawley.com) received her Bachelor of Science at Missouri Southern State College and later began her career as a studio potter in Kansas City, Missouri in 1999. Having acquired extensive teaching experience, she shares her expertise through workshop presentations in studios across the country.  While emphasizing the alteration of form and the use of texture as surface design, her pieces continue to exist within the constraints of function. Tara creates at Rafter E Studio in Kansas City and her work can be seen in local and regional galleries and beyond.



John Eck (www.johneck.com) is a practicing architect and professor at the University of Missouri, as well as a ceramicist. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from Kansas State University and a Master of Architecture from the University of Virginia. His training in clay took place at Lill Street Studio in Chicago and Stephen & Susan Hill’s original Red Star Studio in Kansas City. His work is primarily hand-built, and explores architectural form and “remembered” form—the mental baggage we all carry regarding the spaces and shapes we inhabit. 



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The Legend of the "Rafter E"

We've been open a couple years of now, and--not surprisingly--our name still confuses people. (Surely there's a Business 101 lesson in there somewhere.)

However, it had to be what it had to be. John has long stamped his pieces with the "Rafter E" logo, in a nod to the cattle brand established on his grandparent's/ parent's farm, as well as his own profession as an architect. (That's the antique original below, kinda looking like a "Rafter 3", but remember it's backward.) Although the brand is no longer in use in its original capacity, it still has a life in ceramics.

So although we might still get mistakenly referred to as "Rafter Studio" or have letters addressed to "Raftery Studio" or "Rafter E. Studio", if you just remember us as a great place for contemporary handmade ceramics--we're good!


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