A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life of Shelley of Vitrified Studio

by Grace Bonney

9 vase with flowers
One of the things I like to take note of when I visit other bloggers’ homes is what pieces they choose to actually buy out of everything they cover online. I went through a phase where I ordered a lot of things I actually wrote about, but over the past four years, I’ve only purchased a small handful of new things to bring home. And out of that small handful, two pieces were from Vitrified Studio.

shelley and lily
Artist Shelley Martin is the creative force behind Vitrified Studio. Based in Portland, Oregon, Shelly creates handmade vases and vessels that celebrate the simple beauty of a well-made object. I love her vases (one of them is always on our table with flowers in it) not only for their clean lines and pleasing shapes, but for their beautifully contrasting hues. Shelley never goes overboard with trendy colors or patterns – she focuses on contrasting matte/shiny white or black glazes and occasionally highlights some beautiful speckled neutrals that are guaranteed to be pieces you hold on to for years and years to come. Shelley echoes that sentiment of tradition on her site where she explains that she, “really love[s] 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.” She’s found the beauty in that simple tradition and does it proud. I’m so thrilled to share a peek inside her daily life here on the site today, whether she’s walking the dogs or firing vases in her backyard studio. Thanks to Shelly for this peek inside…xo, grace

Click through for the full post after the jump!

1 chicken 2
Shelley: I wake up to the dogs dancing for breakfast at 5:30 am. I let the chickens out of their coop and look for eggs. I do a quick check in my backyard pottery studio first thing to see what temperature the kilns are at if they have been firing, and how things have dried overnight in the studio.

2 thank you
Shelley: Early in the morning, before I am ready to start the more physical work in the studio, I check my emails and start to prepare orders for shipping. I am writing a thank you note for a big custom order on a Portland postcard by Turn-of-the-Centuries. My good friend Kirsten Sparenborg makes these and they even include a drawing of my house on them (second from the top left).

3 throwing
Shelley: Finally, I start to throw on the pottery wheel. I currently use 5 different clay bodies in the studio, but my current favorite is this fine porcelain. It throws like cream cheese, but has the ability to go thin and tall. I try to spend at least 3-4 hours at a time throwing to maintain my production momentum.

4 studio shelves
Shelley: I work hard to fill the studio shelves with pots. Here they can slowly dry before I remove them from the plaster bats. Custom pet urns, some salt cellars, and some custom kitchen canisters are getting ready for text impressions.

5 lunch
Shelley: Lunch break with my boyfriend. I love when he can come home from his nearby office for a quick homemade lunch and a dog walk.

6 alberta park
Shelley: Time to walk our dogs, Lily and Arthur. We walk around a nearby park, Lily walks very slowly and sniffs all of the branches and Arthur wants us to go very fast, usually spinning in circles.

7 kiln before firing
Shelley: Glazing in the afternoon; I have filled the kiln and it’s ready to fire. These pieces will change color completely in the kiln once they reach 2200 degrees Fahrenheit.

8 photographing bottles
Shelley: In the afternoon, the light is good in the front room of the house and I can photograph pieces before shipping them. All my photos use natural light from the windows and usually the background is our living room wall.

9 vase with flowers
Shelley: Here is a photograph that I took with the set-up I just showed you and branches from the garden. I love studying my finished pieces through the lens of a camera. Sometimes I ship out orders so quickly, so the only chance I really get to see a piece is looking back at the photographs.

10 wholesale order
Shelley: A wholesale order is ready to pack and ship. This order is headed to Hong Kong, my first stockist in Asia for the vitrifiedstudio wholesale line. They customized the colors based on their shop’s seasonal palette. The rest of the order will come out of the kiln soon.

11 msa storefront
Shelley: I walked the dogs up to Alberta Street, on the way to pick up some groceries at the co-op. Here we pass my boyfriend’s storefront window (Mitchell Snyder Architecture). He also lets me use a corner of his window to display current vitrifiedstudio pieces. Someday I’d love to have my own storefront, too.

12 rainbow
Shelley: We head out for our evening run around the neighborhood, it seems like every other day we have a rainbow here. We try hard to stop working after dinner, but with both my boyfriend and I running our own small businesses, sometimes evening is another quiet time to catch up on work.

13 evening
Shelley: An evening neighborhood shot as the fog rolls in. It’s time to relax and rest, and get ready to do it all again tomorrow.

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