In 1988, potter Michael Smith invited a small group of peers to his home to share ideas and further explore the art of clay manipulation. After just a few meetings, the group quickly grew to include around 70 craftspeople, who started meeting at the Kansas City Art Institute instead of inside Smith's giant conch shell. These regular get-togethers laid the groundwork for the initial incarnation of KC Clay Guild, a place where artists could socialize, buy materials in bulk, and learn from one another.
Now, the volunteer-run co-op is even larger. It occupies its own facility and has vastly expanded the number of services it provides. Amidst the changes, KC Clay Guild has remained true to its initial goals, guided by a mission statement to support the clay community. Artists of all skill levels enroll in classes that cover an array of techniques, such as wheel throwing, hand building, and slip casting. Members take part in regular meetings, open-studio time, and monthly shows, and visiting artists stop by to lead workshops and repair their ceramic automobiles. The guild even offers a scholarship to high-school seniors and hosts birthday parties, team-building exercises, and family-fun nights for casual potters.
Ortho Mattress has supported sleepers' backs with sturdy coils for more than 50 years, crafting Ortho LFC, Ortho Dr. Preferred and Summerhill & Bischop–brand mattresses in its Los Angeles factory before shipping them direct to customers. An Ortho Dr. Preferred Conform eurotop ($949.99–$1,499.99) cossets slumbering limbs in a 3-inch layer of contouring memory foam undergirded by supportive coils, while a 4.5-inch Ortho LFC smooth top ($199.99–$299.99) is slim enough to tuck into a trundle bed or rollaway. Both models come paired with a box-spring mate so that they'll always have a partner in Yahtzee. Besides in-house brands, Ortho Mattresses' showrooms stock Simmons Beautyrest and Sealy Posturepedic sleep sponges.
At more than 1,000 Mattress Firm locations around the country, shoppers sink into plush mattresses, recline on firm beds, and belly-flop onto pillow tops. Knowledgeable staffers can help customers create an ideal bedtime environment by dispensing advice based on sleep preferences and illuminating the difference between the many kinds of mattresses. And to the delight of their customers, much of Mattress Firm's bedding wears the label of a premium brand, such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest, or Stearns & Foster.
The thousands of unpainted pottery pieces that line Walls Of Clay’s walls are each blank canvases for painters’ creative designs. Pottery in shapes like plates, heart-shaped tiles, and animal figurines wait for the studio's provided brushes and paints to bring them to life. Once decorated, the pottery pieces spend time in the studio’s kiln, where under the watchful eye of Walls Of Clay staffers, their paint jobs become permanent, like a dishwasher-safe tattoo.
At eight showrooms across the Kansas City area, SleepOne Mattress Superstore's aptly named sleep advisors recommend mattresses that will accommodate budgets and physical conditions such as stiffness and pain. After scouring the showroom's floor, the staff might suggest a Sterns and Foster mattress made with materials such as silk and cashmere. They also offer delivery and removal of the old mattresses.
SleepOne Mattress Superstore also fights nightmares with several guarantees. For example, their staff will refund 110% of the difference in price if customers find the same mattress sold for less. They also exchange mattresses for up to a year (only charging a redelivery fee) and offer a rehabilitation program for reformed boogeymen.