Mudshark: Portland Porcelain

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When we decided to re-create our Hannah family of porcelain light fixtures and Dunbar bath accessories, we knew we had to get every detail just right. (Of course, we feel that way about every item we make…) These pieces had a long life before they made their way to us – the fixtures originated in 1930 and the bath accessories in the early 1900s – and we wanted them to have a long life after they left our hands.

We could hardly believe our good fortune when we discovered Mudshark Studios just over the river from our Portland manufacturing facility. We couldn’t have had more in common: Mudshark is dedicated to traditional artistry and American manufacturing. And the studio owners were willing to tackle the challenges of maintaining historical accuracy and upholding our exacting design standards.

Our engineers and designers, and the studio’s ceramicists ended up spending quite a bit of time together as they found ways to marry techniques from the past and the present. It took two months (and many trips across the bridge) just to perfect the color and sheen of the glaze, but in the end, getting muddy was well worth it.

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes peek at the making of our Portland porcelain.

For much of the process, the craftspeople use good old-fashioned hand tools

For much of the process, the craftspeople use good old-fashioned hand tools

 

After the lump of clay is stamped in a mold, the two pieces are joined together by hand

After a lump of clay is stamped in a mold, the two pieces are joined together by hand

 

A ceramicist carves off excess clay so no seams show

A ceramicist carves off excess clay so no seams show

Mudshark Co-Owner Brett checks the kiln

Mudshark Co-Owner Brett checks the kiln

 

After being glazed, the fixtures are fired and then sent to Rejuvenation for wiring

After being glazed, the fixtures are fired and then sent to Rejuvenation for wiring