Organic Spa Blog

Socially Responsible Vases for Fall

As a designer I love colors especially when they come in the shape of the Little Shirley vases by Material Good that are tied to a good cause. Seattle-based Material Good is a ceramic production company founded in 2011 by Lauren Burman. The colorful vases were created and named in honor of her grandmother who was battling cancer. Local ceramic artists handcraft every Little Shirley carefully. The company donates 10 percent of its profit from each purchase to organizations that work towards a cure for cancer or create awareness around it. When I saw the colorful collection at NYIGF last month they looked cheerful as a group and would brighten up any room or mood. New colors for fall/winter 2012 include hot tamale, market spice, marigold and canal beachglass (the founder’s favorite color). The handcrafted vases are only 4 inches tall by 2.5 inches wide. This makes them ideal for a small housewarming or birthday gift. When I spoke to one of the ceramic artists at the tradeshow she told me that each vase is touched by several artists along the manufacturing process.

Every Little Shirley is individually slip-casted and hand-finished on a wheel. They are then fired and heated twice in energy efficient kilns. Finally they are hand-glazed, sanded and stamped with the Material Good logo. Each vase is one-of-a-kind and it takes about one week from start to finish. The material used is clay from Washington. This aligns with Material Good’s values to use local materials and support community businesses as much as possible. Throughout the process Material Good also recycles excess clay that didn’t make it into the final design. On a bi-weekly basis the studio re-dries, re-wedges, and re-packages excess clay. Other eco-friendly aspects include that the equipment such as benches, kiln, and wheels are either reused or refurbished and firing loads are kept full to conserve energy. It’s amazing what a little bit of clay and glaze can do when it gets into the hand of talented people with a mission.

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