As a criminal defense attorney, Nick Robinson is used to long days. Maintaining a successful legal practice and representing clients is as stressful as it is rewarding. Being mentally and often physically exhausted at the end of a workday is commonplace; so, it may come as a surprise to most that after the kids have gone to bed, he isn’t quite ready to hang up his coat. “I put my kids to bed, give my wife Kara a kiss on the cheek and head out to the garage,” explains Robinson. “I turn on a podcast and start the pottery wheel. I can usually churn out about ten mugs a night.”
In his downtime, and often into the wee hours of the morning, Robinson is busy at home forming, trimming, glazing and firing bowls, cups, plates and other works that he showcases and sells on his Legalized Pottery Facebook and Instagram pages. “I’m flattered and amazed that anyone would want to buy what I make,” he says. “I often don’t feel that it’s better than anyone else’s. I avoided posting or selling my pottery for a while, but my wife talked me into it and here we are.”
Robinson’s love of pottery grew from his love for his grandmother. “About ten years ago, my grandmother called me and asked if I would like to take a pottery class with her at the Flint Institute of Arts (FIA). I said ‘yes’ and got hooked on it,” he reminisces. “Guy Adamec at the FIA is a wonderful teacher and when I got the clay balanced properly for the first time, it was a ‘lightbulb’ moment. All it took was a lot of practice, patience and determination.” Soon thereafter, as Robinson became busy with his law practice, pottery fell to the wayside. It wasn’t until the recent summer quarantine that he had the time to revisit his passion. “It took a bit to get back into it,” he says. “It became another thing to do with my family, especially my children. I use it as a teaching opportunity, as well as a way to spend more time with them.” During the day, his daughter, Piper (5 years) and son, Jude (6 years) can be found helping out in his studio.
When browsing through the videos and photos posted on Robinson’s social media pages, the quality, colors and variety of his creations are impressive. As it turns out, his work holds more than just talent. “I create every piece with love and feeling,” he explains. “I think anything made by hand is special. When people choose to use or purchase something handmade, they get something that another individual has created with love and care. Every time someone appreciates one of my pieces, I feel like I am releasing one of my children out into the world. It inspires me to continue.” Furthermore, Robinson has found that his hobby is having a positive effect on his professional life. “A lot of what I do in the courtroom involves strategy and creativity,” he says. “It seems that the more creative I am at home with my hobby, the more creative I am at work. I’m inspired to think differently and to follow other ideas.” Currently, every piece that Robinson has made has been sold and he says his biggest problem is keeping up with demand.
With all the success of Legalized Pottery, Robinson maintains a level head. “I am not artistic in the least – I can’t draw or paint or anything like that. I am just a guy who happens to make a few things that people like,” he continues. “Anyone can do this. You just have to decide that you want to do it, be committed and you can.” If you have the means, Robinson highly recommends taking classes at the FIA, which he feels is an underused resource in the Flint community.
To view his work, visit the Legalized Pottery Facebook and Instagram pages. If you are interested in purchasing an item, they are available first come, first served. Simply be the first to claim the item and payment procedures will be provided. He is not taking any special orders at this time.
As long as he is able and can find the time, Robinson will continue to create. And, as his law practice continues to grow, he appreciates everyone who has supported his hobby. “There are no plans to expand Legalized Pottery,” he laughs, “but I will continue to make things and if someone wants something I have done, I want them to have it.”
“I’m not artistic in the least – just a guy who happens to make a few things that people like.”
“When people choose to use or purchase something handmade, they get something that another individual has created with love and care.”