#meetthemaker: Brooke Dawson of Brookelyn Cereamics

To countdown to our two-part holiday show, we’re kicking off a new #meetthemaker series to get to know our DIY Night makers and artists a little bit better. If you enjoyed Brooke’s ceramic ornament workshop, stop by her booth at Urban Air Market: Holiday Show on Sunday, December 3rd!

An Oakland business with a New York name — just another way Brooke Dawson of Brookelyn Ceramics pays tribute to the many places and things that inspire her. As someone who just starting selling her pieces this past summer, we’re excited to have her at our holiday market and to see what the new year will bring her. Keep reading to learn more about Brooke’s maker journey and plans for the future!

Tell us a bit about your journey as a maker. When/why did you create your company and where do you see it in the next 2 years?

“In the summer of 2015 I picked up ceramics in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. I’ve long dabbled in multiple forms of art and crafts and always eyed clay from afar. I was immediately hooked and it served as a great outlet to my stressful nursing day job. I created the name BrookeLyn Ceramics just before moving back home to Oakland in 2016; as you can see I’ve included my name (the –e) but I also wanted to pay patronage to the borough that brought me so much artistic inspiration.

It was only this summer that I decided to become more serious about selling; mostly I wouldn’t stop making items on account of apartment pile-ups and so figured I needed to sell. In August I sold at my first market in the Laurel District of Oakland and it was so validating that I decided I’d definitely continue. My pride is the immersion process into my home community, it’s really important to me that I’m representing Oakland in this positive way. I think people especially appreciate when they run across a Bay Area native out here making things work.

In two years I’ll definitely have a legitimate website. That’s first up for next year! I’d like to work less at my nursing job and supplement with increased sells from my production. I’d also like to incorporate more plant/succulent displays and collaborate with different local artists to create personalized containers and pieces for their handmade products (i.e. candles, body and face products). Perhaps a cutesy mobile store will be in the works as well!”

What inspires you?

“I’m inspired by everyday items. When I go to a restaurant, market, store, really anywhere that has an interesting ceramic piece, I pick it up and feel it, I make mental notes of the patterns and glaze use, the empty spaces, and how it functions. I’ve asked my boyfriend for a functional design book for Christmas so I can zone in on creating unusual but very functional pieces.”

What’s your favorite gift to give during the holiday season and why?

“For the holiday season I like giving anything handmade if time is on my side. I like making dishes for my sister and personalized jewelry for friends. I’m also kind of obsessed with plants and succulent displays. It’s not easy!”

 What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

“I’m the worst at absolutes but if my memory serves me well my favorite gift was a surprise trip to LA to meet my best friends for my birthday. I was clueless. That or my little mermaid doll when I was like 8! I loved that doll.”

 What is your favorite part of participating in markets and meeting your clients face to face?

“The discussions. We all go to tables and are afraid of engaging because we don’t want the artist to think we’re going to buy if we’re only interested in looking. It’s totally fine! I personally love when people begin a conversation about my process and what they’ve seen so far. It’s validating and keeps me going! I also write down lots of ideas for future pieces. Even when sales are abysmal, I ALWAYS get something out of being at markets.”

When you’re not crafting away, where can we find you?

“I’m a major home body these days. I work as a nurse in San Francisco several nights per week on an as-needed basis so often I don’t leave my home during quiet shifts! It’s actually pretty awesome; I get to work on clay while I’m getting paid for my “day job.” Otherwise I’m jogging around Lake Merritt or getting coffee from Perch Coffee or Room 389. More road trips are in the works for 2018.”

Show us where you work!

“I work out of my apartment den, that’s what I call it anyways. Really I just took over our dining room. For firing I go to Clay People in Richmond or the Potter’s Studio in Berkeley. My boyfriend and I are talking about home buying soon, so a She Shed with a kiln is tops on my list!”

Any advice for first time vendors?

“Take notes, write your ideas down, take names, engage as much as possible and be open to making deals. We all want our beautiful hard work in people’s homes — when starting out be open to lowering prices or adding a small piece from time to time to reach that goal a little faster.”
Bonus: Brooke’s kitty!

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