Our History


Jim and Tricia Bell met in 1974 while attending college at Eastern Michigan University. Jim had recently completed a four-year enlistment in the Navy and was pursuing his Masters in Fine Arts. Tricia was working on her Bachelor's in Interior Design. It was "artistic destiny" and the two were married prior to graduation. After completing their degrees, they moved to Ohio and began a very interesting project ... the renovation of a historic school house. With Tricia's design background and Jim's construction talent, they painstakingly turned the school house into a unique first home and started a family!

While in Ohio, Jim and Tricia founded an art gallery in the loft of a refurbished barn. The barn also housed a fine restaurant and the combination proved to be very successful for both companies.

A shift in the economy brought a new and exciting challenge! Jim, Tricia, and their daughter moved to North Carolina and began working with a group home for troubled teens. The work was very rewarding and they shared their home and love with some special young adults. After completing nearly two years hosting this teaching home, Jim and Tricia decided to return to their artistic roots with Jim taking on an Art Instructor position at Ravenscroft and Tricia joining Homewood Nursery and Garden Center as the Garden Center Manager.

In 1993 the Bells were fortunate to find a seven acre mini-farm in Wake Forest and the dream of turning the farm into a pottery studio and nursery was formed. Jim Bell had been throwing pottery since he took his first class in college in 1965 and Tricia had developed a love and talent for handbuilding pieces. Jim's building talents were once again employed and the old barns and home were renovated to create the perfect working studio and nursery.

In 2012 Jim and Tricia made the difficult decision to close the nursery side of the business. The Pottery and Gift Center remains open and the Bells will continue to offer pottery classes to the public at various times throughout the year. Additionally, Tricia also provides garden consultations by appointment, as time permits.

A beautiful dream lives on ... Under the Oaks!

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