Natasha Lawyer & Brett Bashaw's Remote Homestead Studio
Profession: Potter, Illustrator & Designer | Location: Vermont
Get ready for the coolest story ever! Natasha and Brett met in 2013 at a coffee shop in Seattle, and were married six months later. While living in a vintage airstream they restored, they discovered their love for ceramics. The two of them quickly outgrew their 188sq foot space, and began dreaming of a bigger space in the woods. They sold their airstream, moved to Vermont, and bought a ten acre patch of woods with a tiny cabin on it.
This is starting to sound like a movie, right?!
Natasha and Brett christened their land the 'Sugarhouse Homestead' because of an old stone sugarhouse foundation they found in their back woods. They built themselves a little pottery studio in a grove of maple trees and the Sugarhouse Ceramic Co. was established. Much of their work is inspired by Natasha’s former life as a designer at Anthropologie and her current side-hustle as a studio artist. With Brett’s love of business and well-made goods, they are the perfect team.
Most days you can find Natasha and Brett drinking lattes and making pottery or planning their next trip. You can purchase their beautiful ceramics here. My interview was with Natasha.
What inspires your work, Natasha?
I spent years as an illustrator and that definitely influences the surface design on a lot of our pieces. I’ve been doodling patterns in the margins of notebooks for as long as I can remember and doodling them on pots now only makes sense.
What are your favorite mediums and tools to use?
Obviously clay, but wax resist has become my favorite these days. You can do so much pattern work with a paintbrush and a jar of liquid wax. It’s pretty cool.
What is one word you would use to describe your studio space?
Remote. Our studio is on our homestead in Vermont in a maple grove surrounded by miles of farmland.
What is your favorite thing about your studio space?
The windows are pretty lovely but the proximity to our living space is probably my favorite thing. I love that I can climb out of bed and walk a few yards over to the studio to make coffee and get to work. It’s pretty ideal.
What are three items in your workspace that you can’t live without?
Our espresso machine, our slab roller and our giant work table.
What does a day in the life look like for you? What are your daily habits?
We usually start our days pretty slowly, up to take care of the chickens food and letting them out to free-range, coffee and breakfast in bed, then we head to the studio and get to work. We do a lot of slab work so we’ll toll out slabs and build pots, pour molds that we’ve made from pots I’ve thrown or I’ll get on the wheel for a few hours & throw. I tend to work pretty late into the night and sleep in cause it works the best with my natural inclinations.
How do you practice self-care throughout the day?
Ugh, I could be a lot better about this than I am but I do try to go take breaks and move around a lot. I’ll get up to take the dogs out, fetch the chicken eggs, give treats or walk out to the mailbox. When I’m being my best self I’ll try to remember to take a break and stretch out my wrists and shoulders a few times a day. When I’m being my worst self I binge watch The Office for 10 hours and wax pots until I’m so stiff I can’t stand up. Having my husband around reminds me to take more breaks than when I’m alone.
How do you store your ceramics?
Shelves on shelves on shelves. There’s never enough of them.