The Making of the Pie Birds.

Our ceramic pie birds are classic, minimal and functional works of art created for us in small batches by the wonderful team at Honeycomb Studio

Our pie bird project was born after working with Honeycomb on the creation of our ceramic biscuit cutter. We fell in love with the aesthetic and integrity of a classic piece of specialty bakeware.

I walked into the studio one day to pick up a new batch of ceramics that were ready and noticed a newly formed pie bird sitting there on the table. I couldn't believe how large it was in comparison to the "finished" bird I was used to seeing, and loved the beautiful grey color of the original clay. Although the object is simple, the process is a labor of time and love, needing so many steps from start to completion.

There are four main stages for each pie bird, and it all starts with a mold and "liquid porcelain" or what potters call "slip."  The slip is then allowed to sit in the mold for about half an hour. During that time, the mold removes a great deal of the moisture from the pie bird, leaving a shell of hardened clay. Courtney, founder and potter at Honeycomb Studio, shared with us that the pie bird itself loses about a third of its volume during creation. This is something that her and her team take into consideration when creating a mold for our pie birds, or any piece of pottery for that matter. 

Although no two pie birds are alike, the mold helps keep the look uniform and assures that the quality is consistent. 

the beauty of ceramics at Honeycomb Studio / heirloomed

Once removed from the mold, Courtney goes in and carves them by hand, removing any irregularities and flattening the base. She lightly scrubs the pie bird with a damp sponge, smoothing its visage and rounding out the shape. During this step, she also adds a small vent at the top of the bird -- this is essential for the functionality of the pie bird, which is used to direct steam out of the pie. Not to mention, it gives the bird a "mouth" and adds to the character of the piece.  

One of my personal favorite parts of the process is the makers mark. The same custom-made mark was placed prominently on our biscuit cutters. I love the look of a stamp on pottery, and Courtney and I both agree that it gives the piece a storied look and a history to be shared and passed along. This particular makers mark is special because it acknowledges the collaboration between heirloomed and Honeycomb Studio. When passed on, the legacy of the piece will be preserved in the mark of the artists. 

After being stamped with the collaborative makers mark, the pie bird has to air dry for about a week. Although the waiting time is long, the wait is well worth it. When a week has passed, the pie bird is strong, smooth, dry and ready to be fired. 

Throughout this process the piece will go through two separate firings in the kiln, starting with a slow 24-hour firing at a lower temperature -- still a high 1900 degrees. The bird comes out of this lengthy firing stronger, more resilient, and smaller. After being smoothed with sandpaper, the bird is coated with a layer of hand-mixed glaze. Courtney dips her hands into the glaze, mixing it until it reaches a consistency she knows by touch and experience -- the perfect texture for a smooth pie bird. It dries within minutes and is ready for the next firing: the glaze fire. The glaze fire is faster and hotter, at 2300 degrees. The glaze fuses to the piece, making it food-safe and permanently coated.

After all steps are completed, the result is a gorgeous pie bird, minimal, old-fashioned and ready to be used in the kitchen for generations. 

Be sure to click here to pick up a Pie Bird, or one of the other beautiful pieces that Honeycomb has created for us, if you haven't already!

The ceramics team at Honeycomb Studio

The ceramics team at Honeycomb Studio

courtney hamil of honeycomb studio and Ashley Schoenith of heirloomed

Courtney Hamill of Honeycomb Studio + Ashley Schoenith of heirloomed


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heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

MEET THE ARTIST : Maggie Mathews.

Maggie Mathews fell in love with art at a young age -- so young she can't even remember when it all started. She can however remember painting all of the furniture in her room at age 11, to which she says, "sorry mom."

There was no question that art would always be a part of her life. She says, "It was magic to me then and still is to this day!"

Coming from a family full of creatives, she had quite a few sources from which to learn and draw inspiration. Her dad, who is inspired by architecture, her grandmother and aunt, both painters, and her mom, with a passion for interiors and florals.. "Needless to say, I have always felt very supported in my love for art and am so grateful for that," Maggie says.

Maggie spent much of her life by the coast, and it's those seaside landscapes that she first painted before discovering her love of abstraction in art school. Her works are inspired by an endless list of things, from places she's visited to textiles, organic lines, nature and "even the paint splatter on the wood floors" in her studio. This year, though, her biggest inspiration is collage. "You have to take things apart and trust that they can be put back together in a totally new way, it is thrilling!" 

The media she uses range from acrylic to oil, gauche, ink, charcoal, gold and silver leaf and watercolor. Currently, she's working on an Airstream trailer, morphing it into a space for collaboration and a mobile gallery. "The possibilities and destinations are endless," she says. Also in the works is a children's book, which Maggie is writing and illustrating. The project is a lifelong dream for her, and recently her collage work opened her mind to illustration possibilities that she hadn't previously considered. 

The studio where all this magic happens is marked by its large, old windows and the light they provide. Washed brick walls and antique floors cover the space and serve as another source of inspiration for Maggie, who has always been drawn to old things. She spreads out her materials without worrying about the cleanup. It's all about the "method in the madness" and "organized chaos." 

Sitting in her studio is a small dish of seashells, again speaking to her childhood by the shore. The shells belonged to her grandmother Martha Lee Mathews, who collected them from the family's most loved spots on Dog Island and St. Georgia Island, Florida. As a painter, her grandmother capture many of those coastal scenes, especially in the last years of her life. The Mathews family treasures each and every painting, and Maggie finds that keeping the dish of shells close by helps her keep her grandmother's legacy alive in her own work. To make the connection even more special, Maggie and her grandmother share the same initials: MLM, with which both of their paintings are signed. Maggie says that as a child, her grandmother's work was the first that she "truly connected with." 

The shells will stay with her wherever she paints, until she can pass them on. 

a collection of shells in the studio of artist Maggie Mathews / heirloomed
Her grandmother's dish of collected shells. 

When it comes to heirlooms and the preservation of stories, there's nothing more important than hearing the narratives and inspirations of the makers and collaborators in your communities. We believe firmly in those people who work with their hands and master their craft, keeping it alive for another generation.

So, we reached out to artists in our community who we look to for inspiration ourselves. We asked them for insight into their creative processes, the legacy of their artwork, the importance of learning fundamental skills of a craft, and the role that their most special heirloom plays in their day-to-day. We also talked to them about our newest Studio Apron and received their design feedback. We wanted to ensure that the Studio Apron would be for artists and by artists. 

heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com