Portland-based Carter and Rose was born from a desire to create a space that would celebrate making and beautiful handcrafted designs. The brainchild of Liz Carter and Anna VonRosenstiel, the business is comprised of a ceramics studio and a shop where the two sell their wares along with the works of other regional craftspeople. Photographer Christiann Koepke dropped by their shop and studio recently to get a behind-the-scenes look at their process. Take a look below!
You can shop Carter & Rose at west elm Portland, located at 1201 NW Couch St.
Please tell us a little about yourselves and your work.
Liz and I are long time friends who always dreamed about starting a business centered around making and creating beautiful and functional goods. We have backgrounds in ceramics, teaching, and floral design which made our Carter & Rose collaboration seamless and easy. Our ceramic and wood Wall Planters were initially envisioned from the scrap clay that I was cutting from dish-making forms. Liz, coming most recently from a flower shop, saw their potential as conical vessels to hold plants. We saw Wall Planters as a modern and unique way to bring plant life to the walls of small, urban apartments and lofts. We also have a store front in Portland, Oregon where we show our work and also represent other artists. The shop also acts as an Open Clay Studio three times a week for other people to come in a be creative with clay too!
What is it like being a maker in America right now?
There is a lot of opportunity right now to be creative and there is momentum to collaborate with other makers, locally and nationally. It feels like there is shift toward valuing handmade and small batch goods and supporting local, small business.
Tell us about your studio space.
Our studio space is the converted garage of my house. We have a giant kiln, a slab roller for rolling out clay, and a giant work table. My absolute favorite thing about it is the giant glass garage door that lets in tons of light. When it’s open, the studio spills out onto the driveway. People stop while walking by—working in our space is working in the neighborhood where I live and interacting with neighbors and strangers. This is also why I love Portland. People are curious, collaborative, and supportive. I truly feel like Portland supports creativity, small business, and is open-minded about new ideas and products. We opened Carter & Rose to support our own art and creativity, but we also had a bigger vision of being a greater part of the community. We love that our neighbors and Portland tourists come into the store to make things and buy things, and that people walk by the studio, curious.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
We generally work at the store two mornings a week, are in the studio three mornings a week, and work one evening of Open Clay Studio. During studio time we run in circles, rolling out clay, forming cones, glazing, cutting boards, sanding boards, hammering on hangers and gluing finished cones. In our work space there are piles of our wall planters in various stages—some waiting to be put together for wholesale orders. While at the store, we fill orders, work on small ceramic projects, get in touch with artists we represent, and get the store ready for open clay studio. During open clay studio, we help customers create their own projects by either hand-building or learning the wheel. Often, people mimic our own products!
Where do you seek inspiration?
Our inspiration comes from simplicity and accessibility and believing that unique design and creative products should be accessible so that people can interact with them and have them in their homes—whether it is one planter or 15 planters for an entire mantle. We love that the simplicity of the Wall Planter originally came from scraps of clay and our neighbors’ old fence boards. The designs and combinations grew from there, working toward modern, elegant, accessible design.