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.
01/ INKO is a hand-tattooed iPad keyboard – so rad!
02/ 20,000 sheets of paper and 4 tons of stone make up Steve Messam‘s bridge.
03/ Pretty but controversial, check out Marco Evaristti’s Rauður Thermal Project.
04/ Feminist Lisa Frank is perfection.
05/ Matthias Schaller realizes the beauty in artist’s palettes.
06/ Some grain silos in western Australia got a creative makeover.
07/ Huge eyeballs that maybe belong to mythical creatures from Stefano Prina.
08/ Thomas Lohr showcases the intricacies of birds’ feathers in his photography.
09/ Ron Isaacs created clothing art with plywood and acrylic paint!
10/ Life listed – best friends build tiny homes on a ranch together.
This week on Design Crush:
The vintage postcard landscapes Caterina Rossato creates are incredible.
Glop is a multifunctional, bendable line of kitchenware.
The most amazing paper masks from Mlle Hipolyte.
The Messenger is such a fun interactive gift that travels from person to person.
Merve Özaslan’s Natural Act collages are so good.
Obsessed with these Fireclay Tiles vibrant colors and patterns.
Michael Carson nails the underplayed glamour look in his paintings.
A few weeks ago I taught some ladies how to make DIY Abstract Painted Potholders.
Loving the different mediums and styles of Ashleigh Ninos‘ work.
Caterina Rossato combines vintage postcard landscapes into something new by cutting out and placing them on wood blocks for dimension. The resulting sculptures feel fresh and modern, all while retaining the dignity of the original imagery.
Studio Twocan is a creative studio managed by sisters Maddie and Becc Sharrock. Each piece the duo creates is individually crafted, showing off their dedication and commitment to quality of design and manufacture. The cement is colored using pigment inspired by Australian landscapes, then each piece is polished with natural oils, sealing the cement with a satin finish. This process celebrates imperfections and ensures that each piece is unique. Check out their shop to make a piece your own.
I have so much respect for artists who straddle the traditional and contemporary worlds, and Hella Jongerius has been super successful at it. She seamlessly fuses industry and craft while tossing in a cheeky nod to whimsy, like in this collaboration with Nymphenburg.
Just what happens when real world and virtual influences collide? In the hands of 25-year-old Valentin Dommanget it’s a series of marbled canvases that get stretched and torqued to mimic what look like Photoshop effects. (I’ll take ten.)
You know of my penchant for hair art, so I’m clearly loving Marianne Nielson‘s glazed stoneware take on it. Hairstyle equals personality, and Nielson captures just how fun and ridiculous those universal choices can sometimes be in her Hair 2008 and Hair 2009 series.
ReCheng Tsang creates these incredible site-specific installations and sculptures from hundreds (sometimes thousands) of thin porcelain pieces. Each piece is manipulated any number of ways by hand before being added to the predetermined gridded structure. Some works appear to be in motion while others seem so delicate they might crumble at any moment.
(via The Jealous Curator)
01/ Beautiful linear geometric tattoos by Chaim Machlev.
02/ Leave it to Sweden to create a playground and maze entirely of snow and ice.
03/ Sign me up for these punctureless push pins.
04/ Because isn’t this to-do list exactly how you classify things in your head?
05/ Alexis Arnold turns books and more into crystalized sculptures.
06/ I love these pocket knives from Farm & Field Lockback!
07/ What might cities look like if sea levels rose dramatically?
08/ Jackson, Wyoming will soon be home to one of the world’s first vertical farms.
09/ Ever read about the basics of numerology?
10/ If you saw a USB drive in a random wall would you plug in?
This week on Design Crush:
A little Art Before Breakfast can go a long way.
St. Eloy‘s jewelry line is now on my wish list.
I never would have guessed Sarah Symes‘ creations were made of textiles!
Pretty marbled stationery from The Adventures Of.
Jenny Andrews Anderson has mastered the art of color.
My 5 favorite food blogs of the moment.
I shared 4 ways to give a traditional space a modern touch.
Loving Clare Elsaesser‘s mysterious painted women.
Beautiful collage work from Rocio Montoya.
01/ Five friends got together and built Icehenge in Lake Mills Wisconsin.
02/ White balloons erupt from houses, basketball hoops, and more in Invasions.
03/ See what a cup of tea looks like in 22 different countries.
04/ Rebecca Bartoshesky turns Jell-o into modern art.
05/ Glowing terracotta warrior lantern sculptures are on display in Sydney for Chinese New Year.
06/ Winter winds have carved frozen sand towers on the shore of Lake Michigan.
07/ Lifelike galvanized wire animal sculptures by Kendra Haste.
08/ Beautiful mosaics made from painted ceramic plates by Molly Hatch.
09/ Joy Pitts turns unwanted clothing labels in to beautiful animal portraits.
10/ I now want to adopt a capybara even more since finding out they enjoy hot tub soaks.
This week on Design Crush:
Big + bold statement art and why it works so well in nearly every room.
Pretty snowy script street art by Faust New York.
I’m an adult! I got a new Casper mattress!
Check out these 12 February DIYs you’ll want to make ASAP.
Stunning textile art by Serena Garcia Dalla Venezia.
Great leather bags meet art at Epoché.
Cheuk Lun Lo turns shampooed heads into abstract art.
Stay warm with hot chocolate 12 ways.
Who knew that flowers look just as great frozen in ice as in a vase? Makoto Azuma.
Design Crush elsewhere:
Sometimes pattern-free is just the way to be!