'MMclay' opens ceramics production studio, showroom on Gough St.

'MMclay' opens ceramics production studio, showroom on Gough St.

Nov 05, 2019Mary Mar Keenan

by Teresa Hammer l @colazionearoma | website

MMclay, which specializes in handmade ceramic tableware, has moved into a new home in Hayes Valley. 

After years of working from a small space at 315 Linden St., just behind Blue Bottle Coffee, founder MaryMar Keenan has now moved her production studio and showroom to an airy space at 69 Gough St. (and Haight), the former Go Getters Pizza location.

In the works since last September, the new space boasts a showcase of platters, bowls and cups in the front, and a production studio in the back.

With some help from a $75,000 Kickstarter campaign, the studio has been fully renovated with tons of ventilation, new equipment like a Bailey 40-cubic-foot gas kiln, a glaze kitchen and kitchen appliances for hosting chef and community events...

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A view from the office, constructed above the kitchen and the bathroom, to the glaze kitchen on the left.

"Construction was a disaster," Keenan told Hoodline when we visited her at the new space. The space was originally set to open by summer, but everything took longer than expected, she said; she's still waiting on deliveries of a table for the showroom at the front of the store and a sign for the exterior wall. 

Keenan plans to keep her Airstream trailer near Patricia's Green as a retail store, for customers just looking to buy a piece or two of "affordable art," as she put it. 

The new showroom is intended for showcasing examples of her work to existing and potential clients considering larger orders, from restaurants to couples registering for wedding gifts. She's also considering renting out tableware for events. 

"I love working with people on customized things," Keenan noted. 

MMclay will also take part in January's Untitled Art Fair at Pier 35, where Keenan will be building out a booth in front, in order to be able to reach out to clients "who want artful pieces in their life."

Shelves in the front showroom are movable, to make room for workshops and other events. 

Keenan expressed particular gratitude to her Kickstarter supporters, who raised more than double the amount she initially asked for. "It created a nice buzz about my business," she said.

Her pottery is now mostly stored on huge shelves from an auto parts store in Redwood City, which she found on Craigslist.

She's currently firing pieces six times a month, and her team is working hard to keep track of each one. "I rely on them to figure out inventory," she explained.

A patio in the back, shared with a barbershop, is used by employees for breaks.

Keenan's ceramics are built into the new space as well. She made custom ceramic tiles for the stairs, the kitchen backsplash, pendant lights and a sink, and says she's open to doing the same for clients' homes. 

Because so many of Keenan's clients are chefs, she also hopes to host pop-up dinners, lectures and food photography workshops at the space — "something that's going to educate people," she said.

Neighborhood collaborations will be part of her plan as well: "Hayes Valley's got more makers than people realize."

A grand opening party will take place at MMclay's studio and showroom on Sunday, November 17 from 12 to 4 p.m. Expect art, raffle items, small bites and pottery for sale.

69 Gough Street


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