Portland ceramic company Mudshark Studios touts Oregon-made

| Print |  Email
Articles - February 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013

BY EMMA HALL

0213 FOB Dispatches OregonMade 01
Above: Brett Binford and Chris Lyon, co-founders of Mudshark Studios
Below: A worker pours a ceramic mold
// Photos by Sierra Breshears
0213 FOB Dispatches OregonMade 02

From vases that look like trophies to vintage urinal reproductions, Mudshark Studios is an alternative to “Made in China.” The company offers ceramic mold making, production services and product consulting at their 17,000-square-foot Northeast Portland location, not far from the basement where the company began in 2006. Co-founders Chris Lyon and Brett Binford started out making mostly one-offs for artists like Jim Riswold. By the beginning of 2012, they had seven employees and had expanded into their current location in March. Less than nine months later, they had 26 employees and had already outgrown the new headquarters.

But they didn’t outgrow the one-off productions and small runs of items. Mudshark makes large runs of up to 3,000 items for established designers such as Schoolhouse Electric in Portland and San Francisco-based McGuire Furniture, a subsidiary of Kohler, but it also makes as few as 50 units for smaller local artisans. “We’re the only ceramic subcontractor that will do small runs,” Lyon says. “We’re bringing back local manufacturing in a global economy.”

The company’s goal for the near future is to make that business model of small runs efficient and profitable. As the company matures, it’s getting better at providing quotes to the clients, Lyon says. They help artists alter their designs to be “production friendly.” “A lot of the job is educating designers on ceramics,” Lyon says.

Future goals include expanding to a second building that would handle only larger runs, and then to locations outside of Oregon. “We’ve always kind of had the idea of one in the East or South,” Lyon says. They also hope to have enough employees to allow Lyon and Binford more time to work on personal projects, like the Portland Growler Company (PGC), which they started with fellow designers in the summer of 2010. PGC makes $65 ceramic growlers with wide-mouth flip-top lids, and with Oregon’s beer boom, they have become extremely popular. The company is already Mudshark’s third-biggest client. “Last year we couldn’t keep up with the demand for 100 growlers a month,” Lyon says. “This year it’s the same problem, but with 1,000.”

 



 

More Articles

The Road to Reinvention

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Damian Smith bets on changing himself — and Portland — through consulting.


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...

Opening soon: 3 of the coolest new breweries in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, March 19, 2015
brewthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are 278 companies licensed to operate as brewery, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Here are three new beer-making hubs slated to open soon.


Read more...

5 questions for inDinero CEO Jessica Mah

The Latest
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
jessicathumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

inDinero, a business that manages back-office accounting for startups and smaller companies, recently announced it would relocate its headquarters from San Francisco to Portland. We talked to CEO Jessica Mah about what drew her to Portland and how she plans to disrupt the traditional CPA model.


Read more...

10 Twitter highlights from #OR100Best

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
100bestBY OB STAFF

Oregon Business held its  22nd annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon celebration Thursday night in the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

Footloose

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Founded 12 years ago, Keen Inc. likes to push the envelope, starting with the debut of the “Newport” closed toe sandal in 2003. Since then, the company has opened a factory on Swan Island and a sleek new headquarters in the Pearl District. The brand’s newest offering, UNEEK, is a sandal made from two woven cords and not much more.


Read more...

Bike Chic: 7 stylish options for cyclists

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cycling to work is all the rage. But not everyone wants to arrive at the office messy, sweaty — and unfashionable.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS