INTERVIEW: Studio Hecha

INTERVIEW: Studio Hecha

Here at Slowdown Studio we love collaborating with emerging and established artists from across the globe. To celebrate the launch of our exclusive collaboration with Studio Hecha, we chatted with Hecha's founder/maker/designer Haley Ann Bradley about her design process, finding the work/life balance as one half of a creative couple, and the best food in LA and Portland.

1. Hi Haley! You've gained a huge following from your ceramics line, but you have an equally impressive portfolio of graphic design, branding and creative direction. How do you function with so many creative outlets!?

I guess the short answer is I am a hyper-active person who enjoys creative tasks and experimenting. But to expand on that, my subconscious is constantly in full throttle beginning the moment I realize I'm awake in the morning. It's busy puzzling pieces of my experiences together, and somehow these ideas are able to be realized by way of shape, color, pattern, clay, vector or general concept. Every day is a new day in this here mind. We have fun.

2. Your ceramics drops are always highly anticipated and sell out fast. Talk us through the design/making process for each collection.

I try to be really loose and cast a wide net when concepting a new collection. I have thousands of shape drawings in my sketchbook so I'll refer to those or draw new ones and see what stands out and feels good together. It's also very possible that a shape comes to me on the wheel while I'm throwing and my hands just tell me what to do. I used to design and illustrate patterns for different types of apparel so my surface design process is very similar to my shape process. Lots of doodles. I think of each collection as an opportunity to create these mini campaigns. Because of my design background and experience in the fashion industry, it's natural for me to build a story around these collections and put a bit more meaning into the release of these special pieces. The shapes and surface graphics tend to inform what the design elements in my campaign could be. I try to make each collection feel different than the next, but all feel like they're coming from the same hands. Approaching my collections this way definitely adds hours, days, weeks of work on top of the clay work I do but I would feel like I'm losing a part of myself if I didn't inject some of my design point of view in there.

3. You also have a creative partnership with your husband Thomas in your design studio Famous Charm. How is the dynamic of the work/home life? Are you guys arguing about Pantone colors over dinner?

I'm laughing at this one. We actually named our dog Pantone. We call him our designer dog but really he's a rescued mutt who loves eating trash. Over time, and with a few solid failures, we have found a really healthy balance between the two of us. I'm talking about Thomas now, not Pantone. Thomas and I know each other so well at this point that we've learned to hone in on who is proficient in what and we kind of just let that person shine in those areas depending on the project and client. Of course we both have opinions and we are constanting bouncing ideas back and forth, but overall our love for design and all things creative has brought us to this really radical level of love and friendship. We really trust the other to be honest and constructive criticism is a big presence in our studio and home lives. I think he is so talented I'm obsessed with his mind.

4. You recently moved to East LA from Portland. What's your favorite thing about being in East LA, and what do you miss the most about Portland?

I'm constantly discovering new spots to eat, small mom and pop hardware stores, bodegas. I'm trying to be very respectful of our neighborhood and support the local businesses as much as possible. I cannot begin to tell you how many tacos I've eaten since moving back to California. We were really hoping for our new spot to have some walkability and we really lucked out. There's a spot down the street called Sara's Market that we visit at least once a week. They are family owned, have a killer natural wine selection, locally-made salsas and sauces, cookies, and juices, they have food pop-ups with a diverse food line up, but they also have your typical bodega offerings like cheetos, gum, cheap beer, tin foil or paper towels, you know, the essentials. Our house is a 7 minute drive to our studio so our commute in this city is very minimal which feels like the absolute win. I've always had a crazy commute in every city and spending less time in my car has really improved my quality of life. I think the thing I miss most about Portland are my friends and bopping around town with them. But thankfully it's close enough and I know a good break from the rain is always needed during the winter so I'll see them soon. I also really miss the hikes and incredibly easy access to nature. I will say I do not miss the weather.

5. They're both great food cities. What are your top 3 eating spots in each city?

Oooh great question. I love food.

El Compadre (honestly this might be a nostalgic thing? Also I love flaming margz)
Viva Taco Azteca taco truck in Highland Park
Navarre (brunch forever)
6. What's playing on the stereo while you're working in the studio?

I am all over the place. Sometimes it's completely silent because I can't have audio distraction. But I can go anywhere from Sade, to Paul McCartney, to Alanis Morsette to Sublime, back around to Diana Ross or SZA. Thomas and I have been on a big reggae kick so exploring where that goes. Thankful he is into good music so we can really get lost in it throughout the day. Also hate to say it but I'm a true crime podcaster.

Haley made a playlist - Be Water - for this collab: CLICK here to listen! 

7. And finally, what's your favorite way to slow down?

Smoke weed, take long nature walks, big fan of baths. A trip away with no work involved. Look at art books. Browse antique shops.

The Studio Hecha collection is available to purchase here!