I’m in love with this brilliantly creative idea – the Food for Thought Book Collection – by Maria Mordvintseva-Keeler. Three books with edible names have been packaged up in tin cans, complete with the daily value of humor and irony that the book contains, the number of pages that make the perfect serving size and the ingredients of the novel.
With the temperatures climbing slowly towards miserable, any form of refreshment is welcome. Including pool art in the form of Kristen Martincic‘s Pool Series. She’s been exploring water environments – pools, lakes, showers – with a special interest in how we interact with the different levels of privacy each one offers.
The most indispensable item when entertaining is a solid portable speaker. I love being able to grab it to take along wherever the action is – dining room, deck, park, you name it. Not so long ago consumers were limited to one or two quality sounds, but these days we have not only our choice of brands but color and design as well.
I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited to launch a new column as I am to kickoff PGH Maker Profile today. But let me start by backtracking just a little bit. Before I moved back to Pittsburgh (aka PGH) last September I had a few local creative friends, but didn’t know what to expect beyond that. I’d heard good things about the community, but was in no way prepared for just how phenomenal it actually is. I can honestly say that I’ve never met a group of people who are such go-getters, so willing to collaborate, or so welcoming as the crew I’m growing to call mine. It makes me realize that I’m exactly where I belong both in my career and in my life because so many good things are happening. Now I’m looking forward to sharing all of these amazing human beings and their talents with you. Some you’ll know, some will be new, exactly zero will disappoint.
Amy Hamley of Redraven Studios is my favorite kind of business lady, the kind who was following their passion and just happened to trip into business. A girl after my own heart, really. Within five minutes of meeting a few months ago I knew we were meant to be friends. She’s turned her background studies in ceramics into a legit career featuring pieces that you’ve most likely seen as Etsy all-stars and everywhere else on the web. Last month I spent an afternoon sweating and drinking warm Riesling in her studio while we talked life and business.
Tell us a little bit about how you got your start with Redraven.
My business kind of happened by accident. I was working at a community ceramics studio teaching wheel throwing classes. I made some work there for myself, but would take clay home and began to make jewelry in my kitchen. I would take it back to the studio to fire the pieces. It evolved from a thing that I liked doing to me opening my Etsy shop in 2008 selling ceramic jewelry that was finished with vintage ceramic decals. I enjoyed making these, but knew that I wanted to work larger and make work that was meaningful to me. In 2010 I started making molds again. I rebranded my store by creating all new listings for items that I had slip cast in porcelain from handmade molds.
Amy stamping her logo on a ring dish. Greenware drying.
What’s your favorite part of the process? Your least favorite?
My favorite part of my process is hand painting my dinnerware collection. My least favorite is refining greenware to bisque fire, or sanding bisque, they are equally terrible.
Redraven’s beautiful dinnerware collection.
What other makers inspire you most?
So many makers inspire me that I don’t even know where to start! First my studiomates, Heather and Myles of Stak Ceramics. They make flawless, innovative, functional work. Ali Gibbons and Taylor Ceramics are also two incredible ceramic artists that I really admire. Fayce Textiles makes the most insanely beautiful textiles and homewares. And, literally, every maker in Pittsburgh.
Stones that were cast as molds for jewelry.
Where do you see Redraven in 5 years?
In five years I’d like to see redraven in some dream retailers with a more expansive wholesale client network. And maybe working a little less!
The ring dish I painted before glazing and firing took place.
What makes having a small business in Pittsburgh so great?
The community. I couldn’t ask for a better network of makers, business owners, and friends. There is a work ethic and pride here that is very special to Pittsburgh, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.
My friend Jaime and I have been planning our retirement for years. Key elements include huge sunglasses, turbans, red lipstick (preferably on our teeth), and caftans. So it’s rather serendipitous that the flowy frocks are back in style at the moment – black and white, colorful, patterned, long and short. What once was seen as your grandmother’s housedress is your summer wardrobe’s best friend.
Jess Marie Griffith is crazy talented. She runs a small design studio in Seattle where she sews, paints, sculpts, and collaborates – it’s also where she runs her bag and textile company Pine & Boon. Jess’ work is influenced by raw intuition, utilitarian construction, and artful details that all meld together to create pieces you’ll be sure to use for years to come. Today she’s sharing her process from start to finish – looking and listening, sketching and planning, stepping away, doing it, and testing it out – with us through a photo story shot by Serrah Russell.
On this first unofficial day of summer the work of Michela Picchi seems like a good fit. A rich, saturated palette is a hallmark of her style along with an amazing graphic appeal. The Italian-born, Berlin-based Picchi works with some big name brands as well as creating for herself.
Multi-medium artists make me so jealous, but in a good way. Ashleigh Ninos is doing good things with both illustration and dye on paper in her respectively titled series Contour and Forecast. Both are minimal in nature while packing a serious punch of impact.
The first weekend in May I had the chance to lead a workshop at Anthropologie where we made these fun and colorful abstract painted potholders. I made a few samples beforehand for inspiration, so I thought I’d share those along with a bit from the event itself, then tell you how to make your own.
The girls at the Pittsburgh Anthro’s Bakery Square location did an amazing job setting up for what was actually their first ever event. We all noshed on the tastiest mini cupcakes, fruit water, and plenty of Prosecco while painting. It was a beautiful day, and sitting inside those big windows with the warm sun shining in made everyone extra creative.
The best part of this project is that there are zero rules, it’s all about having fun. Paint skills don’t matter one bit because the end result is meant to be abstract and playful. We played with different materials to create designs – drinking straws, toothpicks, and cardboard – that could add a graphic element.
This gal was the life of the party. She showed up with her babysitter about halfway through and proceeded to tell everyone how wonderful they were doing (her words) before creating this masterpiece to give to her cousin. We sent her off with plenty of cupcakes and took plenty of selfies.
• plain white potholders (make sure they are meant for use, not decorative)
• matte acrylic paint
• paper plates for palettes
• paper towels
• drinking straws, toothpicks, etc
• water jar for brush rinsing
Thanks to Anthropologie for hosting the event and to everyone who came out to create!