Fired Up

At her potter’s wheel, Jessica Kovack crafts unique pieces out of clay.

Pottery began as a hobby for Jessica Kovack of JK Design Company about ten years ago. An architect by trade, she would spend her evenings and weekends in her home studio crafting mugs, vases, jewelry, wine glasses, and serving platters. “If you can create it out of clay,” Kovack said, “I make it.”

Friends and family members would sometimes purchase items from her as gifts for weddings – typically mugs for engaged couples and serving dishes for newlyweds.

“Then friends of friends and family would ask me to make pieces for them to give as wedding gifts,” she said. “The first time I made pottery for a wedding [reception] was my sister’s in 2017.” Island floral designer Aubrey Sirois of Aubrey Maria Designs/Donaroma’s did the flowers for the day.

Jessica Kovack

“I suppose that is really how the tides turned, and [Sirois and I] began to team up for weddings,” Kovack said.

In 2020, Sirois opened Juniper, a retail store in Edgartown, and began selling Kovack’s items. “Things just took off,” she said. “I like to joke that this is a hobby that got out of hand.”

Because her artistic process is complex – requiring multiple firings before pieces are complete – Kovack needs as much time as she can get when it comes to creating items for weddings. “When I’m working with couples, which I love to do because it is such a privilege to be part of that special day, we typically start a year out,” she explained. “My kiln can only hold about sixty-five mugs at a time, and the whole process for every item takes about three weeks.” For those looking for ready-made items, Juniper carries a collection of wine glasses, wine chillers, mugs, serving bowls, candles, jewelry for bridal parties, and more.

Jessica Kovack

Kovack prefers to connect with couples through their wedding planner. Once on board, she speaks with the pair to decide what role they want her pieces to play.

For a wedding party, Kovack shared, “Many couples order necklaces, candles, or mugs for the bridesmaids and cufflinks or mugs for the groomsmen. It’s always a nice moment to have the wedding party drinking coffee out of matching Island mugs while they get ready.” For the big event itself, she recommends vases or napkin rings. In terms of wedding favors for guests to take home, Kovack explained that some couples have a variety of items such as mugs, wine glasses, and ring dishes, all with custom stamps, so guests can pick what they would like for themselves. One couple ordered 300 gold Island mugs with a custom stamp of their names and wedding date.

The most requested item for guests to give as gifts is the serving dish set, with the rising contender being a picture frame – both personalized with the couple’s names and wedding date. Kovack said another popular gift for newly engaged couples is a ring dish or a set of coffee mugs with Mr. and Mrs. on them (or Mr. and Mr. or Mrs. and Mrs.). Sometimes the ring dishes play another role. “I had one guy approach me about making a custom ring dish, and that’s how he presented the engagement to his partner,” Kovack said. 

Jessica Kovack

Thinking about her experiences, she fondly recalled, “I would say my favorite wedding project was to make all of the vases for my friends’ wedding in 2019. I made low, wide vases with white-gold Islands on both sides for the forty dinner tables, tall vases for the bars, and small vases for the cocktail tables. It was such a special experience to be able to create for friends, but it was also the first wedding that I got to see my work in action because I was also a guest.”

Prices vary for Kovack’s pieces. A small ring dish is $38; a set of twelve wine glasses is $720. Serving dishes for family-style service at the reception can run hundreds of dollars depending on the size, but, she assured, “We can work within pretty much any budget.”

The clay Kovack most often works with reminds her of the sand found on the Island. “I tend to lean more toward the blues and the greens with my glazes that are indicative of the seascapes here,” she said. However, Kovack will work with the couple and their planner to select the right glaze to match the wedding’s color scheme. To complete a piece, people often add on her signature twenty-two-karat-gold-plate motif of the Island.

Despite the increasing popularity of her pottery, Kovack remains a full-time architect. “What drew me to pottery is how similar it is to architecture in that you’re balancing form and function and trying to make the most beautiful piece possible while keeping its functionality in the forefront,” she said. “It’s two sides of the same coin, just that one is on a much larger scale.”

Kovack’s work is available at Juniper in Edgartown or online at; follow her on Instagram @jkdesign_co.