Green Travel Magzine

Inspiring us From the Road: Meet Willy the Traveling Potter

William Duval was working as an F&B manager at a hotel in Seattle until COVID hit and he lost his job. Opportunity knocked and he took his pottery wheel on the road, making his chosen art a full time gig, exploring and creating with incredible backdrops throughout the US. As he started to pick up more traction on Instagram– orders for his pottery began pouring in allowing him to keep on going.

We chatted with Willy to catch some inspiration from the road, and learn from someone who’s following their passion. 


How did this all begin?

@williamspottery has been an account I’ve been posting on since high school, just without consistency. After my undergrad, I felt like I needed to get a job and stuck pottery to the side. But yeah then I got laid off due to COVID and I had actually gotten a new car in October with a plug in the back of it, so I knew it was possible to spin on the road. It was an idea already in my head. I set off for a 3 day trip and ended up returning a month later. I grew around 4000 followers in 2 weeks and had a whole bunch of orders come in. I returned home, finished all the orders, and then got back on the road.”

What it’s like being on the road during these crazy times?

“It’s been nuts, I was in Yellowstone the first day it reopened so the wildlife was insane. There was a crazy amount of bison and obviously people hadn’t been there in so long.

Although, you feel out of place when you’re out of any major city. There’s less mask wearing, lots of wide open space. The only place I avoided was Maine. To get into any campsite there you need a negative COVID test within 72 hours and there’s a bunch of signs when you enter the state. Any place I felt unwelcome, I’ve just avoided. There’s no traffic right now so that’s a major plus!”

Where do you get your inspiration/how do you decide what to make?

“My inspiration is from driving around and exploring. I try to take a lot of the backroads & forest roads. I make a lot of u-turns! I don’t really know what I am going to make when I make my pots, I make a cylinder and go from there. I basically just know the general shape and go off of what I’m feeling. “

How do you create your content?

“So what I pull around is the real deal, it’s a potter’s wheel around 100 pounds. There’s no such thing as like a ‘travelers wheel.’ They have smaller wheels but you can’t throw as much clay on them. I bring my wheel around and plug it in to the back of my car that’s 120V. I have a 100 foot extension cord, so I can’t bring the wheel absolutely anywhere but that’s kind of the behind the scenes of how I get it set up.”

Are the spots you shoot at on the fly or planned?

“My first trip was the early days of COVID so places were wide open and I could set up in really cool spots. If I tried to do the same thing now, it probably wouldn’t work like I was in Jackson Hole and there were way too many people. But yeah like I said I make a lot of u-turns, and when I see a cool spot I’ll stop. Some are planned most are not.”

Favorite place you’ve shot?

“It was on my first trip out in Northern California – it was just the whole process that I loved. I found this cool spot, made a u-turn, made a pot, caught some fish, and met really cool people.”

What’s next?

“I am looking at needing more of a production type facility. Possibly somewhere in Montana. Cause I currently have to take everything to get fired off somewhere, and I am making too big of quantities to do that recently.

How do we find you & buy pottery?

“I take orders on Instagram, just DM me! @williamspottery

Advice to keep us smiling?

“Keep exploring & keep creating. I like to say, everybody has an art & you just got to try different things out to find it.”

ecomadic is a sustainable tourism brand that empowers travelers to make more conscious decisions. By curating a marketplace to easily find and identify responsible businesses to support, and providing educational publications through our online green travel magazine, ecomadic is committed to helping empower travelers make responsible choices throughout their journeys.

Meagan McRoberts
Meagan holds an MA in Creative Writing and is passionate about travel and sustainable living. When she’s not working, she’s either in the ocean, on her yoga mat, or in transit to somewhere new.