All Fired Up
Sunset Hill Stoneware’s artisans hand-craft masterpieces
From a lump of clay to eager lips, stoneware mugs and steins are the signature offering at industry supplier Sunset Hill Stoneware (UPIC: SHS) in Neenah, Wisconsin. But the skilled potters and production staff at Sunset Hill also shape and fire unique pen and pencil holders, soup crocks, coasters and other earthen products with long-lasting, truly personalized appeal.
“We hand-create every aspect of a mug, hand-dipping and high-firing it at 2200 degrees for durability,” says Tom Dunsirn, Sunset Hill owner. “Inside each mug you’ll feel the potter’s individual fingertip grooves. The end result is a piece of stoneware art that is attractive, functional and uniquely yours.”
Go-to favorites for Sunset Hill’s clients include the 14-ounce and 16-ounce mugs that work as client gifts and employee recognition items, says Dunsirn.
Sunset Hill is a production pottery shop that employs local artisans with a desire to learn the trade, and trains potters and production staff individually, in-house. Dunsirn says Sunset Hill’s products and their ‘made-in-the-USA’ status validate its customers’ high standards and sense of values. “We help customers build brand equity by associating their brand with a quality product,” he says.
Read on to learn how Sunset Hill crafts its signature steins and mugs.
Potters take lumps of clay and form them on a wheel into classic mugs and steins according to customer orders.
Products are loaded into computer-controlled kilns with built-in sensing and safety features, which are controlled internally and via the internet.
Fired and glazed mugs are moved into a shipping area for packing.
Sunset Hill products are equally admired in executive offices and at home.
Tom and Duane Dunsirn are the founding owners of Sunset Hill Stoneware.
Father and son, Duane and Tom Dunsirn
Size of production facility
15,500 square feet
Number of employees
Number of orders filled per year
About 12,000 orders
Types of specialized equipment
proprietary equipment and processes engineered and constructed by Duane Dunsirn, including custom-designed pottery wheels, mobile damp carts and traveling work stations.
The company was recognized in 2013 by the tourism-focused television show “Discover Wisconsin” as a Master Craftsman company.
Other unique company features The owners have conscientiously elected to do things the right way for the safety of their employees and the protection of the environment. They have made green practices an integral part of their daily operations.
A custom-engineered HVAC system reclaims 100 percent of the heat produced in the facility, and it is redispersed to dry greenware, heat water and the facility. On-site monitoring done by an environmental consulting firm this year for particulates such as respirable dust and crystaline silica revealed levels of the materials are 96 and 95 percent lower, respectively, than both current and proposed OSHA standards.