Founded in 2014, The Granite is an emerging female-owned and operated creative studio and ceramics workshop with evolving focus and inspiration. As a collaborative effort between an Interior Designer and a Craftsperson with a background in Metalsmithing and Ceramics we are able to draw from a variety of disciplines to design and create a wide spectrum of useable porcelain objects.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. The Granite is made up of Megan Perry and me, Meg Drinkwater. Megan’s background is in Interior Design and my background is in Metalsmithing and Ceramics. We both design and make all of our products with the help of 1, sometimes 2 employees. At the moment, we are working exclusively with slip-cast porcelain and our patterns are all hand-painted using a stenciling technique.
For the most part, a new project will start with a concept, then we each work on sketches and discuss and critique the designs. We are also very much informed by process when designing. Handling an object while it is being made, and when we see and use the first iterations, can alter its original design or aesthetic significantly.
What is it like living and working in Portland? Portland is great. Of course it is changing a great deal and we are a bit apprehensive about the scale and speed of the change. However, it is a city full of creatives who are working in all mediums: music, food, design, craft, art, literature…you name it. It is exciting and inspiring to be surrounded by so many curious individuals who are invested in breaking the mold. Here, we are also surrounded by many other women-owned businesses. We love being a part of this community of driven, intelligent and strong-willed women.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? We have been discussing a line called “Service” for almost as long as The Granite has existed and we finally have some prototypes and early drafts that we are excited about. The focus of this collection is to create items for a variety of serving needs. We are interested both in how function informs the design of the vessel as well as how each vessel interacts with one another. While designing this series we have thought a lot about the tradition, ritual and etiquette that surrounds serving and eating. The series will continue to grow and develop as pieces are added or altered resulting in an assortment of unique and utilitarian objects.
Favorite pizza topping? Basically every topping has its merits.
How did your interest in your work begin? Before we were a brand each of us were makers and designers, both in professional capacities and in our own right. A shared interest in visual and material culture and complementary aesthetic sensibilities made us natural collaborators. We started working together as a hobby on a complex origami light, too complex in fact for it to ever really come to fruition, but from there it was somewhat seamless transition in to creating a variety of household products.
How long have you lived in Portland and what brought you there? We’ve both lived in Portland for about 9-10 years; Megan arriving from Seattle, WA and myself from Eugene, OR where I had studied at University of Oregon. It was a couple years before we met while working together at a bar.
What do you collect? I collect rocks I find and I need to get rid of most of them. Megan collects small glassware, mostly too small to drink from.
Cats or dogs? I have a cat. Megan is considering a dog – any weird, crazy, fluffy variety. I would like her to get a dog ASAP.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? We have been consistently impressed by how positively people respond to our work. When you are in the studio with your head down making a product you are focused on how an object functions or looks and you are very absorbed in the work itself. As designers we of course consider the public reaction, but it is not foremost in our mind until we release a new item or line. In this way production can be insular and it is difficult to know how other people will react. We have been fortunate in that people seem genuinely interested and appreciative of what we are doing.
What are you really excited about right now? Opportunities to collaborate, projects in new materials and lighting. We always are excited about making new lighting.