When she was a high school student in Winslow, Anna Prosser wanted to be a hairdresser.

Instead, she ended up as a medical research coordinator for ACC-Lourdes. But while Prosser did not pursue her first passion professionally, she always kept up with her favorite hobby: pottery-making.

Now retired from ACC-Lourdes, Prosser and her husband, Rick, have opened up a pottery store, The Leaky Cup, in Historic Smithville. Having her own place in which to sell her goods, Prosser said, is a dream come true.

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"I always wanted a store," she said.

Prosser first got into pottery through ceramics as a kid. When she got older, her mom got her a pottery wheel, and she expanded into clay. Over the years, she continued to hone the craft through lessons.

Prosser got Rick into the art back in high school, and the pair began selling their wares at craft shows around the area about two years ago. It was at one of these craft shows that Prosser met Historic Smithville owner and manager Wendie Fitzgerald, who informed her of a vacancy at the village.

The store opened March 15. So far, Prosser said, so good.

"It's nice, very nice," she said. "It's a little bit slow right now, but it's starting to pick up."

The shop's shelves are dominated by clay and ceramic bowls of various sizes, shapes, colors and functions, all of which were handmade by one of the Prossers. Anna specializes in smaller pieces made on the wheel and larger, slab-based bowls, while Rick makes baskets and boats.

The pottery is twice-fired, finished with a lead-free glaze and made of a heavy-duty material called stoneware that allows it to be put in the oven. Making pieces that serve a purpose besides decoration is a focus for the couple, Rick said.

"Basically, our whole thing is functional pottery," he said. "We like the functions of everything that we make."

In addition to pottery, the store offers items such as cheese platters made of melted-down wine bottles, paper "forever flowers" with a button that holds fragrances, and oil candles made out of rocks. Items start at about $10 and range to about $40, depending on size and complexity.

The Prossers hope to begin offering pottery-making lessons at the shop, which also doubles as a studio, but there's no timeline yet for such an addition.

Because Anna is retired, she is almost always in the shop. Rick, who runs B&R Masonry Contractors in Atco, Camden County, is usually busy working during the week but mans the shop on the weekends.

When it comes time for Rick to retire, it's possible the couple may move south - but so far, Smithville has been everything they dreamed it could be.

"We're really glad," Rick said. "We're really hoping we'll be here for some time."

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