For designers, James and Chelsea Minola, Bainbridge Island, west of Seattle in Puget Sound, seemed like an ideal spot to set up their design studio: Grain. The pair, originally from Southern California, met while studying at the Rhode Island School of Design. The island atmosphere, which brought them closer to the woods and the beach, complements their philosophy of producing work that is both socially and environmentally responsible; like their Ty Shower Curtain that does not off-gas in the home.
Chelsea knew she was destined to be a designer. “I came from a creative family and was always interested in environments. I knew pretty early on that I wanted to study architecture or design” says Chelsea. “One of my jobs as a teenager included doing window displays for a local store. I went on to work in interior and now product design.” Grain’s team of four designs and creates furniture and objects that keep social and environmental responsibility in mind. “This means, we often start with a material or production process over a desired aesthetic. Many of our designs unite current technologies with age old craft techniques” says Minola.
01 Why did you choose to design tableware and home accessories?
We are interested in working in all scales, but tabletop objects are especially rewarding because they are the things that we interact with most in our daily lives.
02 What type of materials do you typically work with? Are any of the materials special or unique to Washington State?
Right now we are especially excited about experimenting with ceramics. Our terracotta cassoulet, Grail, is our first ceramic piece. We have several new iterations in the works using the same clay stamping process.
03 What is next for your company?
A dream project would be designing a little ski or surf cabin – something that we could use ourselves with friends and then rent out. It could be an incubator to test out some of the other ideas we have planned.
04 Do you entertain at home?
Dinner parties are our favorite way to spend time with family and friends. Our table always has candles, cloth napkins, and tableware inherited from my grandmother. Castelvetrano olives and roasted almonds are a staple around here, so you can usually find them when you arrive. We try to serve our homemade beer and wine to whoever will go for it. If we haven’t planned a dessert, there is always dark chocolate and fruit.
05 Are there any unique/special cultural traditions related to inviting family or friends to your house that you can share with us?
Since we live on an island, most of our guests come by ferry from Seattle. A lot of times the evening ends in a sleep over when they decide to miss the last ferry. We take this as a huge compliment and are always prepared with something for breakfast.
Photo Source: Grain
06 Do you ship internationally?
Yes! We ship anywhere. Our work can be found in 100+ retailers across the USA and abroad, but the best place to find the latest is our website (www.graindesign.com).