Maker Stories

A Perfect Design for Your Knitting Nest

September 15, 2014

Aaron A. Harrison | UncommonGoods

The son of an architect father and artist mother, Aaron A. Harrison quickly gravitated towards all things creative. LEGO towers gave way to kindergarten art contest wins, which eventually gave way to an MFA in ceramics and sculpture. Knowing he wanted to play with clay forever, Aaron decided to turn his passion into a career once he started raising a family.

While working in production at a ceramic slip casting company that specializes in bird feeders, birdhouses, and nightlights, Aaron began to shift his focus from artist to designer. “It was here that I learned how to run a production studio,” says Aaron, “making products from clay was preeminent to making clay art.” Working with all the bird-friendly pieces at the studio also fostered an appreciation for the bird form, inspiring Aaron to incorporate the winged creatures into his own designs once he started his own studio in 2009.

Birdie Yarn Bowls | UncommonGoods
Birdie Yarn Bowl | UncommonGoods

On his process, Aaron says, “creativity as a designer follows the need to solve a problem.” In the case of one of his most popular designs, this problem was the unrolling of yarn. After two separate friends asked him if he made yarn bowls, he researched the concept, made some prototypes, literally put a bird on it, and the Birdie Yarn Bowl came to be. Each yarn bowl begins as a ball of clay that is then thrown by hand on the potter’s wheel. Once the bowl firms up, the bird is added, then the hook and holes. After an initial firing and glazing, each bird is painted by hand, then fired one more time to seal it all in.

Painting the Birdie Bowl | UncommonGoods

Aaron works out of his 500 square foot basement, painting each individual bird himself and packing each completed yarn bowl for shipping. “It’s not uncommon to find my children wrapped in bubble wrap or making packing peanut soup for their dolls,” says Aaron of his at-home operation. For inspiration while he works, Aaron keeps drawings from his children around, as well as a LEGO calendar (“my second favorite pastime after ceramics”), and an architectural drawing of an observatory from his father.

Aaron's Studio
Packing the bowls

With all this inspiration by his side, it’s no wonder Aaron’s work has been featured in Knit Simple, Vogue Knitting, and Knit Scene. Though he’s “still waiting for Oprah or Martha Stewart to place their orders,” Aaron gets immense satisfaction from the feedback of others, telling him that his piece inspired them to be more creative. Both this and the opportunity to work from home are the ultimate pay-off. “Sitting at the wheel three to four hours a day, working long into the night to finish an order, and the physical strain of manipulating the clay can take its toll,” says Aaron, “but I am working for myself and I can see my children grow up. In the end, it’s a tremendous blessing and extremely satisfying.”

Buy the Birdie Yarn Bowl | UncommonGoods

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4 Comments

  • Reply Eugene Hsue September 15, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    YAY Harry!! I’m so proud of you!! You ROCK. Geno

  • Reply janet December 18, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    So disappointed and even more so after I saw the perfect birdie bowls pictured in your blog. Mine arrived with 2 large cracks sideways out from the yarn cut-out; not a shipping mishap since the cracks were obviously glazed over. This defect is the first thing you see when you look at the bowl. My replacement didn’t arrive as promised since the next shipment was already promised out to orders, so now instead of a nice present for my daughter I have to go shopping at the last minute. I will not be ordering anything anymore from Uncommon Goods – this was not a good experience.

  • Reply Jen C. December 30, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Oh no – we’re truly sorry that you received a defective bowl! We definitely understand why this was not a good experience for you. Thank you for reaching out. Though it did not arrive when expected, we hope that you still enjoyed the replacement. If there is anything else we can assist you with, please feel free to reach out to us at 888-365-0056 or help@uncommongoods.com

  • Reply Jamie Parker December 10, 2015 at 4:07 am

    I love these yarn bowls!! Super cute!!

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