The Bright Angle is a Handmade Design Brand owned and operated in the Refinery Building in Asheville, North Carolina. We embrace craft and technology to bring small-batch handmade goods to fruition through maker-designer collaboration. Our team is comprised of skilled craftspeople that are involved in every step of the process in design and production.
I, Nick Moen (founder and creative director), moved into the Refinery Creator Space in Asheville, North Carolina in the Spring of 2016. My mission was to create a design workshop based on the principles of collaboration and problem solving through small-batch production. These collaborations have involved the small team of full-time makers at The Bright Angle as well as other studio artists throughout the country.
The goal is to bridge a gap between studio artists and the design marketplace. I believe the best way to execute this is by creating efficient systems of well-designed handmade objects where the production process is taken into consideration when designing the original model. In order to execute the prototypes for our first collaborative collection, we utilized the Asheville Maker’s space, our neighbors at The Refinery, to 3D print models for slip-cast porcelain mold systems. Beyond that, our collaborations in Asheville have involved working with local glassblowers, leather workers, printmakers, photographers, candle makers and other ceramic artists. This is why The Bright Angle is starting in Asheville, because the creative community is full of masters of their craft and in my experience we are all here to grow together.
Meet the makers & designers.
FOUNDER / OWNER / DESIGN LEAD
Hometown: Saint Paul, MN
What do you do outside of work? I love to fish, I grew up fishing and these days I will fish anywhere I can get to with my fishing pole. When I can’t do that, I love throwing pizza parties for my friends and seeing live music all over Asheville.
What’s your favorite way to relax? Sitting on a canoe in the middle of a lake.
What was the worst studio situation you’ve ever had? Any number of moldy, dark, basements.
What part of the process most excites you? Designing, there is so much possibility in the beginning.
PRODUCTION MANAGER /
Hometown: Menifee, CA
What do you do outside of work? Make my own ceramics at my home studio, drink beer, play music, spend time with my close friends.
What’s your favorite pot to make at TBA? The Monday Mugs because they are designed for functionality in our process. The shape of the mug works extremely well for pulling from the mold and the handle attachment is tight and extremely stable.
What is your favorite part about working at The Bright Angle? I am so thankful for the opportunity to work in a field that I am passionate about with a collection that I am proud of. I really love my coworkers. Also, I can curse freely.
LAURIE CAFFERY HARRIS
STUDIO MANAGER / STORY TELLER
Hometown: Boone, NC
Describe your perfect day: There are too many cool things to do and people I love to fit into one perfect day. What I’m really wanting right now is to have a day to sleep in as late as I’d like, spend the afternoon hiking for views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and wrap up the day with tacos and limey margaritas with friends.
What is your favorite book in the world? Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
What do you do outside of work? I have a studio at Odyssey ClayWorks where I am a Resident Artist and I make my own ceramics. In the small amount of free time I do have outside of my studio and TBA, I love to read, hike, and hang with my husband and my coonhound.
EVAN CORNISH - KEEFE
GLAZE CHEMIST / ALCHEMIST
Hometown: Irvington, NY
What do you do outside of work? I make my own ceramic work, make booze, research glazes (because I’m a nerd), hike in the beautiful mountains.
If you could meet one person over dinner, who would it be? Barack Obama, we would talk about the state of the world over Thai food. Maybe we could come up with some solutions, or we could just share a bento box.
What part of the process most excites you? Getting things out of the kiln, because sometimes I make cool stuff.
What is your favorite part about working at The Bright Angle? Being able to implement what I have studied in glaze chemistry is great. Also, my coworkers are awesome.
PAST RESIDENT ARTISTS
The Artist in Residence program was established to give an emerging ceramic designer an opportunity to expand and refine their practice in a production setting.
The way objects are held, whether resting or firmly grasped, is often an unconscious act. It is a simple moment of tactility that awakens an experience. With interior and exterior space in mind, I create forms that entice the hands of the user to investigate volume. Subtle impressions imply evidence of nesting or a memory of pieces existing together.
I see the potential process of functional slip casting in everything. I look at the concave leather chair in the corner of a cafe, see it in clay, envision it as a salt cellar, and start engineering the mold in my head before I even order my coffee. In the studio, plaster prototypes are designed from a mathematical process of achieving a technical concept. Conversely, my idyllic forms emerge from loose intentions through the intuitive subtraction of plaster carving.
I remove the connotation of fragility associated with white slip cast porcelain by staining the clay body. Reflecting a personal attraction to color, my simplified palette provides continuity between individualized altered pieces coexisting amongst one another. The restrained use of glaze highlights compositional form contours while seducing the user to interact with the clay as a raw material.
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
Why did you choose to come to the bright angle for a residency? I've always been interested in learning more about ceramic design. In my own practice it's more about the process of making the work. It's exciting to have ideas for a pot that I can design and have a team of experts help me with every step of the process.
What are your favorite tunes to play in the studio? In the studio I like to play a mix of all things. It's all about feeling out the vibe. Some days after a long night out with the crew we gotta put on some soft jams. Other days call for movie soundtracks and occasionally we need to listen to our favorite podcasts. I love music, and turning others on to tunes they haven't heard.
Where we call home.
Our studio is located less than a mile from downtown Asheville in The Refinery Creator Space. We're able to watch our community flourish and grow and we couldn't be happier to call Asheville our home.
The largest city in Western North Carolina, Asheville is nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's easy to see why Asheville has been called one of the "10 Most Beautiful Places in America" when you can hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway and drive through the historic Biltmore Estate any time. Asheville is an up-and-coming city with a population just under 90,000. It's no wonder to us why many businesses and young entrepreneurs are migrating here when Forbes has listed us as one of the "25 Best Places for Business and Careers".