Sharing the Process : Beehive Kitchenware

Guest Contributor Post by Heather Smith Jones of Blue Sparrow Press.


Hello and welcome to another installment of Sharing the Process! Today Sandra Bonazoli talks about the line of metal and ceramic wares that she and her husband Jim Dowd make for their company Beehive Kitchenware. Earlier this year they were part of the Poppytalk Handmade Market and I asked them to be part of this series of interviews. At the time they were swamped wholesale orders so I'm very pleased that Sandra kindly contacted me and was able to share with us now about what they do. Thank you Sandra!
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Beehive Kitchenware is the collaborative team effort of my husband, Jim Dowd, and me. We started our company in 1999 in the Pantry of our house. We met in art school while getting our degrees in metalsmithing and jewelry. Now we live in a small cottage by the Sakonnet River in Tiverton, RI and work out of a 2,500 square foot studio space in Fall River, MA.



Even though we both have Master of Fine Art degrees, we think of ourselves more as makers than artists. The objects we like to make are decorative and useful, which comes more from the world of craft than art. We both grew up making things as kids; Jim made tons of model cars and eventually moved up to bikes and repairing cars, and I made just about every 1970s craft there was. It wasn’t until we took Metal-smithing classes in college that we both realized that’s what we wanted to do.

We try to gather as much visual inspiration as we can get our eyes on: we look at design trends, folk patterns, nature imagery, illustrations, vintage kitchenware, etc. Then we filter our discoveries through the parameters of our manufacturing process and develop ideas for things we want to make. We go from a sketch, to a more finished mechanical-type drawing, and then to the jeweler’s bench. Usually we build a quick prototype before we get to work on the original model. Making a metal original can take many days to complete; it involves various tests and examples, then the actual bench work, which includes metal forming, machining, hand sawing, soldering, and usually lots of sanding. The decision making process while creating the prototype is where the ‘art’ process happens, determining the weight, look, feel and balance of the actual piece. Then the completed original gets molded, the production pieces are then cast into the molds, and then cleaned up and polished.


 

A couple of years ago, as metal prices sky-rocketed, we thought about working in other materials. Once we realized that we could take our process (of making a mold off an original) could be translating to other materials which could be cast, we decided to create a line of ceramics. We pretty much start the same way, exempt we are not working in metal: we usually turn wood or hard foam on a lathe, or hand carve it, and then mold the original in plaster. The pieces are then slip cast at a ceramics factory that specializes in hand made pottery. It has been a real learning experience, but very fun and refreshing to work in a new material, in a larger scale, with more dimensional objects. 



We kind of love working for ourselves and creating cool things. It would be nice to be doing it in a studio that was a bit warmer in the winter and have more fun tools. We love metal, but we have lots of ideas for non-metal things that we want to make, so branching out into new materials is on our to-do list. Also, selling your own work takes a lot of time, which requires a lot of administration — I think we would both rather be doing more creating, and less bookkeeping and admin, in the near future!

Beehive Kitchenware
Website : http://www.beehivekitchenware.com/index.php
Shop : http://www.etsy.com/shop/beehivekitchenware


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Heather Smith Jones M.F.A., is a multi-media artist, arts instructor, and author. She lives with her husband in Lawrence, Kansas and loves painting, printing, and drawing. Find out more about what Heather does here:

Website : http://www.heathersmithjones.com
Blue Sparrow Press : http://www.bluesparrowpress.com
Poppytalk Handmade : http://market.poppytalkhandmade.com/author/blue-sparrow-press/

Jan Halvarson

8 comments:

Pinecone Camp said...

A great post! Their work is beautiful.

Kathryn Hansen said...

What a creative couple!! I love their art pieces...especially the combination of ceramics and wood!! very cool!!

Cori said...

I love their work! and it was super awesome to get a inside look at how they create!

Mandy Behrens said...

Fabulous article! It's always a treat to catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the artisan process. Lovely work!

Anonymous said...

Poppy talk...we are in the know.
You are POPPINDA- IRA or PLO.
You don't RELY care as long as you get DATFEE .
For OOFDAT .
For TERSCOW .
SCULLS- CHERSCO - OSIRIS.
It's that GREED ARK in ARKETRE with NANCELEV and TREMP.
UK.
LIZECO.
BAZZELCO .
MOBECO.
You , none of you, have any " qualms".
MAIMPORK - you do your CUNTSE- ASEASE-
TOBALSE- for GRAVEYARD CARNIVALS with
" METTETAL"?.
But now there are " VIKING DOORS".
And ORYHONE .
TWOPME - PMEDE .
And this is going to " crucify" RICK'S SETAIN - NCOZZE.
POPPYTALK.
No longer " APPYR".
And 1825 now has history in ROOKSAC.
UTAH?
CHENEY?
MARC?
It's a " 29" in BESOMES.
That's SYRIA?
EDWARD MEESE?
" Busy Bees" losing their " hive".

San said...

Great post!

Ginny said...

I have a set of beehive measuring spoons and a coffee spoon. They are so lovely.

Ginny said...

I have a set of Beehive measuring spoons. They are so lovely. Thanks for the inside look!

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