Mazama is a beautiful ceramics company created by a group of friends in Portland. These are the kind of vessels that you proudly display on open shelving, but also use everyday. While it’s obvious to use a ceramic coffee mug, I’ve never thought of using one for wine or whiskey and I absolutely love that idea. Meagan gave us a great look into the people and vessels that make up Mazama. Enjoy!
Mazama comprises a diverse group of talented people, how did you decide on ceramics?
We knew we wanted to create a brand centered around pairing crafted beverages with vessels. When we looked for the perfect vessels, we felt there was something missing, so we decided to take on the challenge of producing these vessels ourselves. While glass is a wonderful material for drink ware, we felt it was a bit over saturated in the market and would have been much harder to create a studio making glassware. Ceramics was appealing for it’s versatility and because we felt there were very few brands making the type of vessels we all were looking for. The added bonus is that one of our partner’s sister has a master in ceramics. So you could say it’s in the family and that connection to the craft of ceramics has made building a production studio much less daunting than any other medium. All this being said, Mazama has aspirations for adding other materials to our collection down the road.
How did the group meet?
We’ve all know each other for years through other collaborations, and as friends. Sam Huff and Meghan Wright are married and approached me, Meagan Geer and my husband Tory Cross to to be partners back in 2013. We then added Casey Keasler and Connie Wohn to the team to help round out our areas of expertise. Honestly, we all probably met over a drink at some random bar or event way back when…
Was it important to be an American made company?
We find it very important to make hand crafted goods in the US. This helps our own economy as well as provide jobs to the creative culture here in Portland. Making these objects ourselves, allows us to have much more control over the final designs and pieces. We also chose to start with hand thrown pieces rather than slip cast. Hand thrown wares have a very unique feel in your hands. Making these in house allows us to see each individual piece come to life, giving us better perspective on how to improve the product over time, as well as a growing respect for the art of throwing.
Where does the inspiration for your pieces come from?
Each piece is inspired by the beverage that they were designed for. For instance I enjoy drinking wine out of Spanish wine cups, so our Small Cup is designed with this shape in mind. We also wanted the pieces to stack or nest. We found this was a major oversight in the existing brands out there. So there was a versatility we were striving for as well as a supple finish and minimal quality that would enhance the beverage.
What’s your current favorite beverage?
This is the question we ask anyone who wants to work with us and there is never a wrong answer. Whether is water or whiskey, they are all on our list of favorites. But right now around the shop we’ve been sipping on some hot cocoa for an afternoon cozy pick-me up and ending the day with pinot or whiskey, depending on the day
What do you do outside of Mazama?
We each have many other talents, obligations and jobs. I am personally the mother of two year old twins so that keeps me super busy. Meghan Wright is always cooking up some delicious new recipe. Lately she has been reinventing the art of Ramen. Sam owns and runs Tanner Goods, so that keeps him super busy. They are about to open up a new store in Los Angeles. Tory has a full time job at Nike designing foot ware, Connie is always working on a new rad event to produce and promote and Casey juggles working for Tanner as a designer as well as doing Interior Design jobs for business and residential clients.
What’s next for Mazama?
We’ve got a lot of ideas up our sleeves. We know we want to branch out into other mediums and add more cocktail accessories to our current line. And we are looking forward to creating more events for people to come enjoy our wares with us. We also have some fun collaborations with brands and restaurants that will be a great way to get our product into more peoples hands.
Thanks again for Meagan for giving us a look behind Mazama!