What it Takes: Morning Ceramics Studio



Morning Ceramics Studio is a community ceramic space in Portland, OR.

 

1. What is your company? How did you get started?

We are a community ceramics studio in South East Portland, offering memberships, classes, workshops, and access to community equipment for ceramic artists.

We opened in October of 2018 after numerous discussions with local potters at sales and markets who kept telling us that there just wasn’t enough space for artists to work. Alexa had been a member of a large community studio down in Pomona, CA and we tried to bring the same kind of community vibe and shared space to our studio.

2. What is/was the hardest obstacle(s) you've had to overcome?

Closing down during the height of the pandemic and shifting the way that our membership worked was definitely a big challenge, that came right in the middle of just an overall draining time to exist. While in hindsight, the idea of increasing the amount of space between people and offering contactless services to people seems obvious and a pretty easy pivot - there were a lot of details to work out with the day-to-day operation of the studio. Offering shared space, but not allowing people to share - having to build new furniture, re-design layouts, while trying to maximize access but keep the number of bodies in the space to a safe level, was, as with most business during the last year, an incredibly trying experience and demanded much more of us mentally than we probably realized at the time. We’re incredibly grateful for the experience and proud of our problem-solving, but it definitely wasn’t something we planned on adapting to as our space grew!

3. What are near-term (and longer-term) plans for the future of your business?

Ultimately we’d love to be in a forever home space with the ability to offer something for everyone, at all stages of their ceramic journey. Whether that’s an intro to wheel class, membership and studio access to practice, access to firings, opportunities to sell their work, help with marketing, branding, work opportunities, specialized firings, larger studio spaces - we’d like to be able to cater to as many artists at as many different levels as we can.



4. Who or what inspires you as an individual or as a company?

I think without trying to be too corny, our biggest inspiration comes from each other. Our greatest sources of excitement come from our ‘meeting of the minds’ where we talk about bigger plans for the studio, ideas for streamlining the business, and fun opportunities for new and existing customers.

5. What do you look for in a new partner/company to work with?

Someone who shares the same vision for the space, and isn’t afraid to put the time and work in to get the studio to where it needs to be. With community being the drive for all of the decisions that we make, any collaborations would aim to expand what we offer and provide even more opportunities to our members and customers.

6. What impact do you hope or want to make on consumers, communities, society in general?

Our goal with the space has always been to create a welcoming, comfortable, safe, and inspiring place for artists to work. We hope that our space can feel like a home-away-from-home for our members, and an exciting place to visit for any guests or members of the public that are interested in ceramics or local art in general!

7. Can you share an important mistake/misstep you made in the business?

For the longest time we had shied away from offering firing services to artists who were not already members or students at the studio. When we closed down for the pandemic, we had more space in the kilns and more time to focus on loading them, and were excited to start offering the service to basically anyone who wanted to fire their work! We’ve met so many new artists and connected them with not only our studio, but other services around the city, that they may not have had the opportunity to experience beforehand.

8. Can you share something about yourself (your business) that many might be surprised to learn?

Despite the business’ very customer facing position, we are both pretty heavy introverts who enjoy nothing more than staying home and playing video games! There are also a number of video game easter eggs around the studio that make us very happy!

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What it Takes is a series of interviews with founders who were brave enough to take the leap, make mistakes, pivot, and keep going. This is What It Takes to be an entrepreneur. If you're a creator who is determined to follow a purpose or push the boundaries, then you’ve signed up to make mistakes, that’s the price of innovation.