Eight miles down Nevada 447, running west from Gerlach, and in the middle of what feels like nowhere, a sign for Planet X Pottery appears.
Off in the distance, surrounded by sagebrush, poplars and cottonwood trees, a small house can be seen.
A dirt road leads to the house opening to a vast property featuring a charming and rustic group of gallery buildings and workshops, a house, solar panels and 250 acres of open and uninhabited land.
The constant drizzle of rain muffles the sounds of an arriving truck hauling a trailer.
"The bad weather usually brings people in," Planet X co-owner Rachel Bogard said.
Planet X Tours
Tom and Lonnie Wood of Reno and Brenda Smith of Fallon were heading to Squaw Creek to go camping when the rain began. They said they have driven past Planet X a hundred times in the past, but for the first time, they decided to stop.
"We thought we would stop and maybe the storm would go by and it would quit raining," Tom Wood said.
His wife Lonnie agreed and said, "We knew they did pottery because that's what the sign says, but we didn't know if they shipped it or what did they do. We loved it."
The trio took a tour of the property and galleries from Bogard and discovered it was not what they had expected. Lonnie Wood said from the road it looks like it's just a little shack that maybe carried dime store stuff inside.
"I don't think you can get more unexpected (art) than this," Smith said. "They are so self-contained; they don't have a website and they don't advertise. I didn't expect the quality of the work or the depth of the imagination or the artistic quality. It's all word of mouth."
Bogard said that throughout the year, Planet X has about 2,000 visitors, and during their annual Memorial Weekend show they usually have 500 to 1,000 people show up. She said that throughout the years, they have seen days with no one, days during which several people will drive up at once, tour buses, art groups, the Red Hat ladies and a wagon trail.
"I think pottery is timeless," Bogard said. "The next generation of buyers are in their 20s and 30s, and we have an amazing following worldwide."
Back in the 1960s, potter John Bogard would come to Gerlach to go to the hot springs. He said at the time, he was living in Santa Cruz, Calif., but as his rent increased to $45, he said it was too steep a price for a potter. He decided to move out to the house west of Gerlach for $30 a month.
That was 40 years ago.
One of the first additions to the property he made was a kiln. He said he built a fire brick kiln outside from the scrap piles from the previous gypsum plant in Empire, and then, he just kept going.
Throughout the years, he's added five galleries that run X through Z, an unnamed and large gallery and an art gallery, for his plein air oil paintings, as well as a throw room with a potters' wheel and a kiln and glaze room.
Each of the galleries offers a little something different and eclectic.
In addition to the variety of bowls, dish sets and art pieces, you can find unique creations like a "Z Nuker" for heating soup in the microwave or a nightstand jug that features a small canister with a cup on the top.
He also has created a series of creative and decorative teapots and his "Postcard Pottery" themed pieces that look like a stormy Nevada landscape that he said put him on the map.
"Eventually, people drive down that road and they stop. We have built up a mailing list of thousands and thousands of people over the years," Bogard said. "People also come to my shows, and I meet them. I do shows in Reno, and I did a bunch of shows in Berkley (Calif.) for years."
The prices for the pottery start at about $5 for ornaments that Rachel creates, and $10 for pottery, up to $3,500.
The average price is about $60, he said, and while it might not be cheap, he said it's well done and it has taken him a long time to get it right.
Pottery for Bogard is not about the artistic aspects; it's his lifestyle and his choice. He said in today's world, it might be a dinosaur craft — that he doesn't have anyone apprenticing or following him.
"I think in this day and age, people do not know how to use their hands or make or fix stuff. I know how to do all kinds of stuff, integrated into the pottery," Bogard said. "It's not taught anymore in schools — art and shops — drawing is done with a finger on an iPad instead of pen, paper and a live model."