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Sturdy Handmade Stoneware from Vitrified Studio

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What first drew me to Vitrified Studio was this handsome set of spice jars. We are always struggling to do the right thing with spices. I open the cabinet and those plastic bags with the twisty ties just drive me nuts. A set like this would solve the problem nicely. OK, maybe not the extra small ones. I would probably go for the 3″ x 2.75″ version.

What I really love about Shelly Martin’s handmade work is the color palette. These soft and dusky hues are so attractive. Produced in her Portland, OR backyard studio, Shelly takes her time to create useful objects that double as works of art.

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photo by Mitchell Snyder Photography

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photo by Mitchell Snyder Photography

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I believe that Shelly sums up nicely her mission with Vitfified Studio:

“These handmade studio ceramics are an alternative to the high volume mass produced repetitive work you find in other studios, workshops, and factories.

Each piece is unique, considered, and made only using my hands, the pottery wheel, a few simple tools, local clay, food safe glazes and natural cork stoppers. The clay used is colored stoneware and porcelain, hand glazed and fired in my electric kiln to 2100-2200 degrees. The glazes are food safe and lead free.  I really love that I am merely continuing a tradition that has been going on for thousands of years, making simple pots formed with my hands and clay, on the potter’s wheel.”

You can only get this kind of purposeful simplicity when you make by hand.

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photo by Mitchell Snyder Photography

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Shelly was interviewed as a Featured Seller on Etsy. I love her answer to this question:

How would you describe your creative process?

My hands take over my creative process. They decide the shape and I just follow along. The bottles especially seem to make themselves – the forms evolve and change on their own over time. Recently, I started using a mirror to watch the reflection of the profile of what I am making. It’s the only way to see the subtle lines of the form when you are sitting so close the the piece you are making.

Because of the disconnect between how a recently thrown piece looks and how it looks out of the kiln after shrinking and changing from mud to stone, I end up constantly starting fresh, making and trying again to get the form just right. I have been working hard to measure as I go, trying to be more methodical, so five cups made of five different clays with five different shrinkage rates all end up about the right size. All the measuring and scaling reminds me of architectural drawing.

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