PR Collaborators | Sarah Wolf of Wolf Ceramics

PR Collaborators is a blog series highlighting hardworking individuals who help Portland Razor Co. be the best we can be. We consider the people and companies featured here to be integral to our success and hope our readers will show their support for these wonderful makers.

Several months ago we had the privilege of hosting local photographer and designer Connor Ebbinghouse at Portland Razor Co. Scrolling through his Instagram feed gives viewers a glimpse of Portland life and all the wonderful and interesting people we have the privilege of calling our neighbors. In browsing through Connor's beautiful galleries we came across one such neighbor, Sarah Wolf of Wolf Ceramics. We had been keeping our eyes open for the right collaborator to make shave dishes and scuttles for Portland Razor Co. and we were taken by the quality and aesthetic of Sarah's work immediately. We reached out to her and were delighted when she agreed to take on the project! As an added bonus, it's great to know that it is in fact possible to meet great people on the Internet!

sarah wolf wolf ceramics

Q: Tell our readers about your business. What do you do? What is your company story?
I started Wolf Ceramics about two years ago and shifted to working in my studio full time just over a year ago. Ceramics had been a hobby since grade school, but only a hobby. I studied Geochemistry in college and then almost went to graduate school for architecture. I kept coming back to clay because I love working with my hands and it is incredibly satisfying to make objects that will be well used. I decided to go back to school for ceramics instead of architecture and eventually chose to take the leap and start my own production studio. While gearing up to setup my own studio, I took part in a Mercy Corps small business program, taking business classes and participating in a matched savings grant program to help cover equipment costs. Now I spend my days in the studio and it is so fun. I am energized by exciting collaborations with other Portland businesses (Like Portland Razor Company!), which push me to try new things.

Wolf Ceramics Mug Sample

Q: Why Portland?
Portland is my home! I grew up here in Northwest Portland. I came back to Portland after leaving for 7 years, and now have a studio in the same building as my mother! She is an artist and has a painting studio just up the stairs from my work space.

Q: Is being in Portland important to you and your business? Why/why not?
Portland has been such a wonderful place for my business to grow, and for so many different reasons. Because I grew up here, I feel the support of my family and the community that a grew up with. But beyond that, the creative community in Portland is so welcoming, supportive, and collaborative. I am constantly meeting people who are doing interesting things and thinking of new ways that we can collaborate or work together in ways that are mutually beneficial. I have found the community of ceramic artists here to be kind and generous. The world of ceramics had also connected me with all sorts of other industries, from restaurants and coffee shops to florists and photographers.

Q: What sharp things do you use (knives, razors, axes, etc) at work?
What tools are your favorite to use? Trimming tools! After throwing on the wheel, we let work dry part way, and then flip it to trim and shape the bottom of the piece. I also use razor blades in the studio for all sorts of things, from cutting handles to the right size, to cleaning up glaze lines.

Q: Where do you look for inspiration?
I love textiles, in fact I may have a textile obsession. I also love drawing and playing with shapes and negative space. Sometimes I’ll peruse Instagram or Pinterest for patterns and shapes, start drawing, and just see where it takes me. I also love working from prompts. Sometimes a friend or business will come to me with a question or suggestion. Maybe they love a particular handle or wish that that their mug was different in some way. Maybe they need a particular tool and haven’t been able to find it anywhere. These sorts of conversations always get me thinking and often lead to new forms and new designs.

Sarah Wolf of Wolf Ceramics at Work

Q: We love your product. In your own words, what’s better about it than its big-box store competitors?
I find that I always enjoy using things more when I know where they came from and who made them. Its the same with coffee mugs as scuttle mugs. When I use a hand made object that I know was made with care, it often pushes me to be more thought full and intentional in what I am doing. I find my self taking more pleasure in the experience of using that object and even being more present in that moment.

Wolf Ceramics Coffee Pour Over

Q: What is the most “Portland” thing to ever happen to you?
One day I found myself biking down the street along side a man on horseback.

Q: Do you straight shave? If not, would you consider it?
Nope, but maybe...

Q: What is one thing you wish more of your customers knew about you or your work?
I want to somehow show my customers more about the process that goes into making each piece. In fact, I have been working with a friend on a tiny short film that documents making one mug from start to finish! I think that ceramics often have a low perceived value, because you can go to Ikea and buy 10 perfectly matching, factory made mugs for $20 or $30. Its always a little nerve racking pricing new work, because I want things to be affordable and accessible to all sorts of people, but I also need to charge enough to make my business viable. When I know more about how something is made, and the complex challenges that the maker faces when creating it, I find my self feeling good about paying a fair price for the object and more inclined to treat it with care and make it last. I feel more inclined to own fewer, higher quality things.

Q:How can readers get in touch with you?
Check out my website wolfceramics.com or email me at sarah[at]wolfceramics.com!

Shear and Clipper Sharpening Services

The day-to-day reality of tool maintenance is not glamorous, but we believe it is necessary and something to take pride in. At Portland Razor Co. we work hard to keep grinders lubricated, laser lenses clean, and saw blades sharp! By lapping our hones between sharpenings, we guarantee that each blade will be as sharp as the one before it. Our work would be impossible without these tools, and we honor them and the work they perform by committing time to caring for them.

Just as our tools are essential to crafting a quality razor, so are a barber’s in crafting a quality haircut, shave, or beard trim. Sharp tools work effortlessly, allowing you to focus on the important things: creating a work of art and building relationships with the person in the chair before you.

In an effort to better support our professional clients, we now offer scissor (aka beauty shear) and clipper sharpening services in addition to our very popular straight razor honing service. You can bring your tools to Portland Shave Shop to be sharpened while you wait, or you can mail them in to us, similar to our razor honing service. Barbershops and Salons in the Portland, OR area may also schedule mobile sharpening services to be performed by a Portland Razor Co. bladesmith at your shop!

shear sharpening at portland razor co-5814.JPG

Tools We Hone

Straight razors
Japanese-style convex edge scissors
German-style beveled scissors
Texturizing scissors
Clipper blades

All tools in good condition and made by a reputable manufacturer can be sharpened. If it cannot be sharpened for any reason, we will not charge for the service.

How We Hone

All honing services are performed by hand on traditional Japanese waterstones. This process results in the finest possible edge with the least amount of wear and tear on your blades, meaning your tools are safer to use, more functional, and longer-lasting than if they were sharpened with mechanized sharpeners.

We do our best to research and match the honing practices of the original manufacturer. Please be familiar with your manufacturer's warranty and repairs policy before honing with us.

House Calls

We know barbers and stylists carry full schedules. If you are a barber or stylist in the Portland Area who would like to avoid the hassle associated with mailing or dropping off your tools for sharpening, we’ll come to you! To schedule a House Call at your barber shop or salon, call us or email us with your location and availability. We are usually available Wed-Fri afternoons for House Calls. There is no minimum to schedule a House Call and no added fee. We look forward to helping you soon!

December & January Impact | Outside In

For the months of December & January, we are donating proceeds from Honing Services to Outside In, a Portland-based non-profit helping homeless youth and other marginalized people move towards improved health and self sufficiency.

There are an estimated 1,500-2,000 homeless youth in Oregon. These young people experience homelessness for a  variety of reasons including family poverty, violence, mental and physical illness in their families, sexual minority issues, unemployment, domestic violence, and sexual abuse. Without a home or medical care, these young people are forced into difficult lives and on average must be independent a full decade before their peers. Outside In, with its team of trained medical professionals and volunteer network, works tirelessly to step in and change the life path of these at-risk youth for the better. They offer a wide array of services including: housing, education, employment, counseling, medical care, healthy meals, and safety off the streets.

From Outside In:
For 49 years, Outside In has been a grassroots social justice organization supporting disenfranchised members of the Portland community.  Our mission is to help homeless youth and other marginalized people move towards improved health and self-sufficiency.

We are...

  • Service providers and advocates.
  • Experts in understanding adolescents.
  • A Federally Qualified Health Center.
  • A licensed Mental Health Agency.
  • Leaders in serving LGBTQ youth.

How It Works

Portland Razor Co. will donateº $10 from each Straight Razor Honing Service sold during the month of December 2017 and January 2018, in support of OutsideIn. These donations will continue through the end of January. We hope to aid those in need as much as we can and thank you for your support.

If you would like to make a donation on your own accord, you can donate directly to Outside In here.

 

ºIncludes sales to Portland Razor Co. retail and web customers, and authorized retailers. No portion of the purchase price is tax deductible.

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Introducing Portland Shave Shop

The Portland Razor Co. team often discusses the need for physical spaces where wetshavers, beard lovers, and barbers can hang out and share in our mutual engrossment with all things grooming. When we realized the lobby of our workshop was begging to be that place, we figured the extra work on the weekends and evenings would be well worth it! We are excited to announce that Portland Razor Co. is expanding into “Portland Shave Shop.” Portland Shave Shop is a retailer of fine shaving and beard care products, features a single-chair barbershop, and is conveniently located a few feet from our where we make our straight razors and strops. This means that we can manufacture, sell, and give personalized instruction on the use of our product all under one roof!

The "Work Together" Mural in the ADX Woodshop.

Better Together

The early days of Portland Razor Co. were spent in a 10x10 studio at ADX Portland where the motto is “Work Together.” There is even a mural of raccoons on the wall of the ADX wood shop that touts such a philosophy. As subscribers to this idea, we are always looking for ways to collaborate with those courageous enough to see eye to eye with a group of people who spend all day every day making straight razors! Portland Razor Co. sees the shave shop as aligned with the “work together” M.O. in that we can stock our favorite shaving goods from other companies making killer products and we can share our shop with customers and other industry pros for events and meet-ups. As we continue to densify life in the city, it is important to learn how to share and optimize a scarce commodity: space! Portland has an urban growth boundary (as do all cities in Oregon), so our fair city isn't getting much bigger, just denser! It is also important to find those moments where you can take a break from such packed-in city life. We had a friend who would drop-in to visit Portland Razor Co. in it's early days because he needed to, in his words, "Zen Out" before getting back to busy life. Portland Shave Shop makes good use of Portland Razor Co.’s extra space and offers it to you because we all need a reliable escape in which to "zen out" every once in awhile.

Portland Shave Shop

Portland Shave Shop is about giving wet shavers, barbers and beard lovers alike an inviting space to talk shop and enjoy a personalized retail experience. Located at 3207 SW 1st Ave, the shave shop is walking distance from downtown Portland and the Southwest Waterfront MAX. Customers can enjoy shopping in a classic barbershop setting, schedule a relaxing shave or haircut with our barbers, and receive instruction on how to use their new straight razor, safety razor, badger bristle brush, beard balm, etc. Portland Razor Co. straight razors and strops will be available for purchase, along with carefully-chosen products from our favorite brands.
Looking for a gift, but don’t know anything about “traditional wet shaving”? Not to worry: we are happy to give recommendations based on the giftee's existing routine and preferences. We don’t expect you to think about shaving all day every day, just know that we do and are more than happy to share in our knowledge with you. The Shave Shop carries an array of great products for wet shavers of any experience level, and is equipped with the facilities to see them in action.

Behind the barber chair at Portland Shave Shop

The Barbershop @ Portland Shave Shop

Centered around an ultra-classic 1920’s Koken barber chair, the barbershop is a throwback to slower, simpler times when the relationship between barber and client was about more than just getting your hair done right. Being a single-chair barbershop removes the stress of getting clients in and out of the chair as fast as possible, allowing both the barber and the client to relax and enjoy. You can swing by for a quick trim, or stick around and luxuriate in a hot towel shave. It’s an opportunity to unplug, enjoy some music, have a beverage with friends, and when you’re ready (and only then!), go about your day feeling clean, calm, and collected.

Portland Razor Co. Workshop

Portland Razor Co. will continue to manufacture high-quality straight razors and strops in-house, in our workshop behind Portland Shave Shop. We may eventually switch to having limited hours for shop tours, but for now all are welcome to schedule an appointment to come see us and learn how our strops and straight razors are made!
As we expand our product offerings, so too are our services! Our team is available to service your straight razors, strops, scissors, clippers, pocket knives, and other gear. Inspections are free, and our team of knowledgeable bladesmiths and makers is available to answer any questions you may have. Sharpenings, cleanings, restorations, and some repairs can be handled in-house. However, some products with warranties should be sent to the manufacturer, and we are happy to help with that process as well.

See you soon?

We’re always working on something new and exciting, and we’re constantly seeking ways to better serve our customers. Whether you seek clean-shaven perfection or bearded beau ideal, care to relax with our barber, need a gift for the hairy one in your life, or want to see how our products are made here in Portland, we are happy to accommodate your visit however we can. We’re a pretty relaxed crowd and we love making new friends. Please don’t be shy, we’d love to see you in here! If you are planning a visit, know that our building is undergoing a facelift at the time of this post. Our owners assure us that the work is progressing well and that we will soon have a whole crew of other makers and artists to keep us company! In the meantime, know that we will be here (hardhat zone or not!) on the second floor.

As always, thank you so much for reading and for your continued support of Portland Razor Co. (and affiliates!).

View of Portland Razor Co. & Portland Shave Shop building from the street entrance on SW 1st Ave.

Portland Shave Shop is open regular hours Wednesday-Sunday

3207 SW 1st Ave #204
Portland, OR 92739

Portland Shave Shop Website

Source: https://portlandshaveshop.com/