Mazama Ceramics Portland
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Croudfunding: Mazama Ceramics

Issue 06

According to Meghan Wright, the Partner and Director of Mazama, “Portlanders are serious about their beverages.”  From coffee and tea to craft beer, wine and cocktails, if there is a city passionate about beverages, Portland is it.  Keeping in line with the local pastime and motivated to create a full time job out of containing the beverages they love, the Mazama team created a series of stoneware vessels that they brought to Kickstarter in the fall of 2013.

Mazama Ceramics Portland

Meghan on The Mazama Name: Mazama is named after Mount Mazama, a volcano that created Crater Lake long, long ago. We thought it made sense for us. Crater Lake is nature’s ultimate vessel. It is filled with the most perfect blue water and was created from the earth and fire of Mount Mazama’s explosion- a quality that speaks well to the elements that go into making ceramics. Our stylized “M” logo reflects the volcano of Mt Mazama. The top of the volcano, is inverted to represent the crater created by the volcano, exploding and transforming itself into the ultimate vessel.

Mazama Ceramics Portland

INTERVIEW: Meghan Wright, Partner and Director, Mazama {Portland, Oregon}

01 Where are you based? 
Mazama is based Portland, Ore. Portland thrives on creativity, design, and above all else, drinking! Portlanders are serious about their beverages, From local coffee and tea makers, to the growing craft brewing scene, and surrounding wine regions, Portland is ideal for our company based around drinking vessels.

02 When did you formally launch Mazama?
 Mazama was formally launched at the beginning of this year, January 2013, when we formed our business partnership. We began the process of designing and making our wares this spring and summer, and then moved into our studio in August. We are getting our first big production run underway, and we are super excited to start shipping out product.

03 What problem were you trying to solve in the marketplace? 
We realized we had all these amazing beverages we love to drink, but we couldn’t find a vessel worthy of them. A great drink is so much better when you drink from a vessel designed to hold that specific beverage! we created vessels that were suited to the things we love.

04 Why did you take Mazama to a crowdfunding platform? 
We chose to launch Mazama on Kickstarter to help with the cost of our first production run and to hire  people to make our wares. We believed that we could find passionate, creative people who want to work in ceramics, and earn a living doing what they love. We are so happy that with the help of our Kickstarter funding, we have been able to hire a great team of people to create our product. We also love that Kickstarter provides a platform for product testing. We were able to design prototypes, and put them out into the world to see how popular they would be.

Mazama Ceramics Portland

05 What materials do you work with?
Currently we use two types of stoneware clay. The are both sourced locally in Oregon and Washington. Stoneware is super durable, it will last just about forever. Our wares are microwave and dishwasher safe, and can even hold up well in the freezer if you want a frosty cup for a cold beer at the end of the day!
06 What is involved in Mazama’s design process?

Sure. We are a team of designers, we worked long and hard on our line until we felt it was just right. Each silhouette represents years of drinking the beverage it was designed to hold. The size, how it feels in your hand, the shape of the lip, how many ounces each cups holds, were integral in our design decisions (which meant lots of product testing, a.k.a. drinking!). We want our vessels streamlined and simple, yet have a warm and inviting quality, blending handcrafted products with precise design intentions.

Mazama Ceramics Portland
Photo Credit: Alex Nguyen and Taylor Ahlmark

07 What does the name Mazama mean? 
We take our name Mazama from a great piece of Oregon history. Mount Mazama was the name of the super volcano that created Crater Lake long, long ago. We thought it made sense for us. Crater Lake is nature’s ultimate vessel, with the most perfect blue water. It was created from the earth and fire of Mount Mazama’s explosion, and speaks well to many elements that go into making ceramics. Our stylized “M” logo reflects the volcano of Mt Mazama. The top of the volcano, is inverted to represent the crater created by the volcano, exploding and transforming itself into the ultimate vessel.

08 What is next for Mazama? 
Taking over the world, one cup at a time! No seriously, we are focusing on getting our production running smoothly, and continuing to expand our product line. We plan on creating more silhouettes, and adding some new glaze colors. We will also be hosting some fun events in the next few months, where folks can come check us out, and help us drink some of the best craft beverages from around the Northwest.
10 Will you ship internationally once the campaign is over? Yes, we hope to ship to other countries soon. We wanted to make sure our domestic shipping was running well before tackling international orders. Our plan for world cup domination includes shipping internationally, of course.

09 How many people are on the Mazama team?
Did you study ceramics or are you self taught?Mazama is a group of 6 friends who have become business partners. Each partner brings something unique to the table with skills ranging from industrial, product, apparel, and print design, to color and trend forecasting, event production and experience with start-ups and running small businesses. Our ceramics team is growing steadily with highly skilled potters, studio technicians and our lead ceramicist, who holds a MFA in ceramics and just happens to be one of our partner’s little sister – yay!

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