The Loaded Trunk was founded by Jonna Robison, an interior designer with a deep curiosity and passion for traveling the world, connecting with artisans in different cultures and sourcing unique and beautiful objets d’art. Published seasonally, the magazine features a curated collection of travel, lifestyle, nature, art and design inspiration for a life well lived.
inspired by nature
bring it home
The Beautiful Beaches of Laguna
A Luxurious Escape to the Sahara Desert
Swedish Strawberry Cake
Portland is chock full of artisanal, locally made products. Shops featuring work by Portland-based artists abound in many of the city’s charming, quirky neighborhoods. I love criss-crossing the city in search of unique, locally made works of art. Notary Ceramics is one such place. Both a shop and a studio, potter Sarah Van Raden creates these useful and artful works of clay on site, in an old, established neighborhood on Portland’s east side, not far from the Willamette River that slices the city in half. On display for purchase you’ll find a gorgeous array of lovely neutral-hued pottery items, made from clay sourced in the Pacific Northwest. Whether you’re looking for tableware, flower and ikebana vessels, or decorative items, there is something for everyone. I love the handmade pieces, each unique and imperfect with an organic, wabi-sabi, yet modern vibe. They are glazed mostly in shades of linen white and soft gray, with drips and imperfections visible. The mother of two young daughters worked as a photo stylist for a decade, then rekindled her love for pottery making. She opened her shop approximately 10 years ago, and her creations have found their way into beautiful spaces around the world. I buy them for clients and can’t resist selecting these for my own home.
Q&A with Sarah Van Raden…
When did you open your shop? About 4 years ago. Before that, I was working out of my basement studio.
When did you learn pottery? After a pretty major health scare, I was forced to reevaluate my life and my work, I began taking an evening wheel throwing class as a way to calm my mind and focus my attention on something more positive. I quickly fell in love with the craft and became obsessed with getting better.
What is it about the art/craft of pottery that you love? I love that I can create functional pieces that can be used in people’s day-to-day lives. It feels like a meaningful way to add a bit of beauty to daily routines.
Where do you find inspiration? I have two little girls below the age of 10. I find so much inspiration in how they see the world. They are constantly searching for beauty and magic and are real spots of light in my life.
What do you wish people knew about the benefit of handmade pottery? Each piece is completely unique. I think there is something so special about that. Also, knowing that another person has shaped the piece with their own hands is a beautiful craft that I am proud to carry on.
Where do you hope to see yourself/your company in 5 years? Our beautiful building is destined to be torn down and replaced with apartments. With the tear down imminent, we have considered so many possibilities for where to go next. This neighborhood has been such a wonderful spot and I feel so much gratitude to have spent my early years as a shopkeeper here. Wherever I find myself next, I hope to hold onto that sense of community I get to enjoy everyday now.
Notary Ceramics also sells other items for the home that fit the aesthetic, such as natural brushes from Sweden, linen aprons, locally made candles and more. It’s a sweet little oasis one should not miss while on a visit to Portland!
Address: 8035 SE 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97202
Follow Notary Ceramics on Instagram @notary_home
Portland was the focus of the Spring 2020 issue of The Loaded Trunk. For the full issue and access to the full library, click here to subscribe.
June 6, 2021
The Loaded Trunk is a travel and lifestyle magazine founded by Jonna Robison, an interior designer with a deep curiosity and passion for traveling the world, connecting with artisans in different cultures and sourcing unique and beautiful objets d’art. Published seasonally, the magazine features a curated collection of travel, lifestyle, nature, art and design inspiration for a life well lived.