Nick Moen

HANDMADE DESIGN

The Bright Angle

Nick MoenComment

I have been dreaming up The Bright Angle for a few years now. My intention with it was to create a business that bridged the gap between design and craft - that presented an avenue for studio artists to introduce their work to the design marketplace. Using efficient systems of production we are able to reach a wider audience with handmade objects. I define The Bright Angle as a handmade design brand with a backbone of a handmade design facility. 

There have always been the people in the village that create the objects. The potters, the metalsmiths, the builders. Today, even though we have the machines and technology to make the items quickly and efficiently, we still are in need of designers. At The Bright Angle we choose to not only design the items but choose to make them ourselves, which incorporates designing and handufacturing. One may see what we do as artists and craftspeople as a privilege, (superfluous, unnecessary) but it’s more than making art. It’s about making the things around you that you need or want rather than having a bunch of disposable “stuff” that is made in a different country by unknown hands or machines.

I have several goals for The Bright Angle, some of which are abstract and some of which are concrete. One, to have a space or facility that can allow my friends or fellow artists to realize an idea from mind to two dimensional drawing to three dimensional object as easily as possible. I would like our studio to be a facility for translating plans to objects.

Secondly,  I would like our studio to be a place to incorporate design with handmade. So many objects in our lives are disposable because most of the time the designer is disconnected from the maker and material. Most ceramic ware is designed on a computer by people who have never made a pot. In these cases, the designer has no concept of the material and may never even touch the item that they have designed. They have no grasp on the material they are designing with or the process in which it will be made.  This is a very tangible disconnect.

Third, my hope for The Bright Angle is to promote optimism and hope for a thoughtful and considerate life full of handmade things. It is my belief that handmade pieces promote empathy because you feel connected to another human who made the things you love. Empathy is a necessary practice to find an optimistic perspective. When you’re collecting handmade objects to encourage habits you want in your daily life, it makes you more thoughtful and considerate in your daily life.

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Martha Stewart Living American Made Finalist Opens up Voting

Nick MoenComment

I am excited to announce that the finalists for Martha Stewart's American Made Award have been announced. For the next three weeks she is opening it up to the public to vote for the winner. There are some incredible makers in the running make sure to take a look. Click the link above to see the finalists. I've written about what I do and included beautiful photographs taken by 7 ton press.  I am very excited to be a Martha Stewart Living American Made 2015 Finalist.  Search Nick Moen on the Martha Stewart American Made website or follow the link below:


The Cheese Board Collaboration: a porcelain tray and cherry board

Nick MoenComment

Designing and Producing a Cheese Serviette

This spring I was grateful to have close friend and colleague Mimi McPartlan visit me in Asheville, North Carolina. We shared a studio in Alfred, New York for a year so naturally I hoped to see if she would act as visiting artist at my studio at Odyssey Clayworks where I am currently a resident artist. I was preparing a body of work as part of collaboration with chef Nathan Allen of Knife & Fork restaurant in Spruce Pine, North Carolina.

After hearing Allen’s vision of what he’d like to plate his meal on, I knew I had to add wood as a material for a serving surface. Allen shared his vision of one of the courses presented as if it had grown out of the service vessel in a natural environment. I started sketching and dimensioning a porcelain vessel to hold a wooden board.

As I thought of what I wanted the final object to look like I couldn’t help but envision the elegant, full and voluptuous curves that McPartlan has conjured again and again in her work. I shared my concept and gave her dimensions to work in and McPartlan poured a block of plaster and got to work finding a beautiful form in the solid plaster block. After a weekend and a dull rasp, McPartlan had shaved the rigid corners of a rectangle into smooth and inviting curves with an interior to set a serving board in.

The next step was to clean up the mold so I could pull a draftable two-part mold with plugs off of the plaster model. Once I started filling the mold with slip I began to learn how the hollow piece that came out wanted to be stored in the drying stage to keep it’s shape. Inevitably I had to clean up the edges and seams to get the piece ready to have a glazed surface on it.

Since the serviettes were destined to make their debut at “cup & plate” at knife & fork dining experience, I started researching all the different white glazes that I thought would fit the form. I landed on a thick white sugary semi matt glaze that sparkled and softened the corners of the final object.

On July 1st, I saw the servers lined up and Allen starting to place large slices of soft fourme d’ambert, with slices of juicy beets with goumi berries and gastrique drizzled around the cheese and beets. The servers came out held carefully with two hands gripped around the bottom to guests awaiting a new culinary experience.

This collaboration was one of a handful that I feel so lucky to have been a part of this spring 2013. Having talented and thoughtful friends is a huge incentive to keep creating. Without combining our skill sets and working together on this project we never would have created such an unique and elegant object to grace peoples homes and become part of their eating experiences.

The cheese serviettes are currently available exclusively at K2 Studios for furniture and interior design in Asheville, North Carolina. http://k2furniture.com/

Mimi McPartlan is a ceramic artist and designer from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In May she completed a residency in Germany. She is moving to Philadelphia this fall 2013 where she recently accepted to be an artist in residence at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia. Follow her blog to see what this young and talented artist and designer is up to! http://www.mimimcpartlanceramics.com