September 29, 2022 4 min read


Mary Carroll

Portland, Oregon

Owner of Mary Carroll Ceramics

We're honored to partner with Mary Carroll for our latest RAD collaboration to bring Vintage Tee to life on our CozyHemp™ blanket.


Where are you from and how would you describe your work?

I was born in Portland, Oregon and I have lived in the area my whole life! Except for a few years that I studied in Eastern Europe, where I lived in a tiny village called Vajta in Hungary. I would describe my work as thoughtfully colourful, timeless pieces made with a whole lot of time and care.


What made you choose ceramics as a medium?

It kind of happened by accident! I have always had an interest in exploring creative outlets and my dream was finding an artistic career. I have spent countless dollars on new creative endeavors that I’m REALLY excited about and buy all the materials for but lose steam almost immediately or just found it wasn’t actually something that clicked for me, until I was studying graphic design and decided to take an extra ceramics class on the side. It felt right, even though I honestly wasn’t great at first. Three college classes later and a few local Markets, I dropped out of graphic design and bought a pottery wheel! It was the first time I had found an outlet that I really felt could be something and I was very intrigued with the idea that the finished product from mud to cup was all made by me. Something about me “making the canvas” was very exciting.


When did you realize this could be your career?

After the local markets went really well I had the idea in the back of my mind, but I was too scared to fully go for it. When I was about 7 months pregnant with my daughter, I was laid off from an agency I was working at as a project coordinator and I decided it was time to just go for it full time. That plunge really was the push I needed to get really intentional about the business end of it, rather than a hobby.

"I would describe my work as thoughtfully colourful, timeless pieces made with a whole lot of time and care.

Are there any themes you incorporate into your illustrations?

Seventies colours, old vinyl albums, graphics found on my dads old tank tops growing up. Very nostalgic.


What was your inspiration behind the colour palette and shapes for your Rumpl piece?

We were looking for a way to freshen up the Rainbow Sunset Mug I make and give it a new twist, so we went with a similar colour palette and mixed in some vintage Pendleton blanket vibes and some "vintage tee" inspo, which is actually what we ended up naming it.


Tell us about your passions outside of ceramics and how they transfer to your pieces.

I love learning about nutrition and cooking. I spend a lot of time in books and podcasts geeking out about nutrient-dense foods, minerals and supporting your body. I really value quality whole foods and how to prepare them in interesting ways. This interest has given me even more of a desire to create beautiful dinnerware to present yummy foods on and to appreciate the whole process from purchasing the food, to cooking to plating. Having an aesthetically pleasing dinner table is just so much fun and elevates the whole experience.


Do you remember your first piece? If so, what was it?

Yes! My first class was actually a handbuilding class and our first assignment was to recreate something from nature. Trying to get all the textures and shades and colours matched, I chose this shelf mushroom that my dad had given me as a child. If you draw on the off white, soft part of the mushroom while it is still fresh, the image will stay and it will harden and keep. It turned out really special and I learned so much about clay in that first project.

Mary Carroll working with clay

If you couldn’t throw clay, what would you throw?

If I am hearing this question correctly, then this is actually pretty funny! My brother-in-law and I were recently joking about a series I should start called "Will it throw?". In this series I would take random food and try to throw with it. Things like butter, whipped cream, raw meat... Maybe not so much on the raw meat but I do like the idea of throwing with a material like butter that would grease up my hands while working compared to the usual dryness of clay hands. We'll see if I ever do that, but don't steal my idea!


Is it safe to say you like the sun? What does your ideal sunny day look like?

I wouldn't say I am necessarily all about the sunny days, as I really do love the Portland fall weather. However, I think all the possibilities of what sunny days can bring is what I really enjoy. Maybe it's even just the non-pouring rain days that I really look forward to, for the social events like friends over for backyard cookouts, blanket picnics in the park, camping adventures, river days, you name it.


Follow Mary Carroll at @marycarrollceramics>