Here at West Coast Shaving we pride ourselves in finding the most unique grooming products on the market. We go to great lengths to find interesting artists and companies founded on good quality, good craftsmanship, and good ingredients. We want to introduce you to some of the people who go out of their way to make your grooming experience exceptional in our new series on our blog called, "Hands Behind The Art."
In our first interview we meet Dorothy Brady, a talented potter with a keen eye for the classic wet shaver's needs. She recently told us her story about how she got into pottery, and, more specifically, how she began creating her beautiful and highly-rated shaving bowls and apothecary mugs for West Coast Shaving. Read on to hear her story . . .
By Dorothy Brady, potter
Many, many years ago—before children and a teaching career—I took a pottery class at the local art center and fell in love with clay. I continued with classes for a short time, but family and a job took my attention. Then, about 15 years ago, I turned my basement into a studio where I have a wheel and kiln. I worked part time until two years ago when I retired and became a full time potter. I make my own food safe glazes and try to be as green as possible by recycling all my clay in a pug mill and recycling my shipping materials as much as possible.
I use a mid range clay, which means I fire to 2165 degrees for my functional pieces, but I love to experiment with forms and glazes. I’ve tried not be afraid to embrace failure. Not being afraid to fail frees me to push the clay a bit more… it might collapse… or it might yield a beautiful pot! So it is with life. Sometimes it works out and sometimes not, and that can be the fun of being an artist. When the kiln is loaded with a glaze firing, I wait excitedly for the opening because the glazes always surprise me. A customer will ask for a specific color, and I can make no promises, as the kiln is a stronger force.
My pottery is designed to be functional and enjoyed in your everyday life. My hands are lovingly involved in every step, from throwing the piece on the potter's wheel, to glazing and firing it. For that reason, no two pieces are alike, and each piece is unique.
I do everything in the studio, from wedging the clay to firing the kiln. I also do all the marketing, selling, and packing. I can't think of anything better than being lucky enough to be able to follow your dream and live your passion. I love what I do, so it doesn’t really feel like work. No matter how sweaty or messy I get, I keep saying that clay (after my dear husband) is my perfect match.
I sell my work online and in several local shops and do occasional shows. A few years ago I was blessed to begin working with West Coast Shaving Company.
More of Dorothy's hand thrown lather bowls and apothecary mugs can be found here.