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.Posted In behind the scenes, create, house and home, living, pittsburgh, sculpture