Hello! I am Stephanie Shull, sole proprietor and pig-maker of Pike Place Pigs . I’m a new member of Pike Place Producers, so I‘m using this blog post to introduce myself and my little piggies.
I started making piggy banks because of my Uncle Mike. When I was young, my family would visit Uncle Mike at his cabin in Appalachian foothills of Pennsylvania, where he made his pottery. I remember being delighted with the ceramic mushrooms that dotted the backyard of the cabin and I was mesmerized by the spinning kick-wheel in his studio. I loved watching him magically coax beautiful forms out of what started as unremarkable lumps of clay. In 1975, Uncle Mike made me, my sisters, and each of my cousins a piggy bank for Christmas. I was 6 years old.
I loved that pig! I carried it around the house like a stuffed animal for days! It’s a wonder it survived. Sadly, Uncle Mike died in 1995, when my daughter was about the age I had been when he gave me my piggy bank. Still missing my Uncle Mike, in 1998 I started working with a lump of clay … and, inspired, I believe, by my nostalgia for Uncle Mike, I worked the clay into my first piggy bank, a gift for my 8 year-old daughter.
She loved it. She also suggested I add nostrils. I added the nostrils, and I spent the next several years making and gifting piggy banks to friends and family. I was excited to get into my studio after work and on the weekends to work with the clay. In 2006, I set up a stall at the world famous Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA. When everyone else loved the banks, too, I quit my day job, and devoted myself full-time to making and selling these wonderful piggy banks. I make each one by hand, so every pig is unique. I also hand inscribe each pig’s belly with my signature, where I made it (Seattle, WA), and the year it was made. This little touch is a tribute to my Uncle Mike, and it makes each one a collectable keepsake that will be treasured for years and years to come.
I make each of these pigs in my studio (AKA my renovated garage). The name “Pike Place Pigs” comes from the place where I offer them to the public… Historic and world-famous Pike Place Market in the heart of Seattle, WA. Since 2006, visitors to Pike Place Market – tourists from all over the world and local Seattleites– have embraced these little piggies and taken them home to delight eager savers, young and old. The first recipient, my daughter, is all grown up, and Pike Place Pigs helped put her through college. Even now the shoppers at Pike Place Market help keep me busy doing work I really love.
Who doesn’t love a piggy bank? Think back to your childhood… What did your piggy bank mean to you? It was more than just a place to put your pennies… it represented endless possibilities. It allowed you to dream of what you would do with the money you were saving. It taught you to think ahead and to plan. For kids just beginning to learn the value of money, a piggy bank is an essential tool that makes saving fun. For adults, it’s a bit of nostalgia that makes you smile. Regardless of age, piggy banks are just plain good fun for everyone! Stop by Pike Place Market and meet these remarkable pigs for yourself!