dbO Home’s Pop-up Shop Opens in Great Barrington
Since giving up her high-powered marketing job at Elektra Records in New York City in 2006, Dana Brandwein (left with her husband, Daniel Oates) has been making pottery in her barn in Sharon, CT. Her porcelain and stoneware is found on the tables at the highly regarded restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns and the Harney Tea Salon in Millerton. In the past four years, she has sold her hand glazed one-of-a-kind hand-thrown, hand-built or hand-caste bowls, plates, platters and vases to some of the best home furnishings stores in the country, including ABC Carpet & Home in Manhattan and Urban Mercantile in San Francisco. You could find a few of her pieces locally at Privet House in Warren and Liliandloo in Hudson; but until last week when she opened a pop-up shop at Germain in Great Barrington you could not see the entire collection anywhere.
“I loved Germain the minute I read about it last fall in Rural Intelligence,” says Brandwein, who has the sweet-and-smart aura of a one-time hippie-chick, rock-‘n’-roll executive “I thought, I could not only live in this store. I could sell my pottery in this store, too.” This spring, after Julia Baier moved out of her part of Germain and before a new tenant was ready to move in, Germain owner Elena Letteron offered Brandwein the opportunity to have her own shop-within-a-shop through June 6. “It’s the perfect place and opportunity for me.”
Her boutique is a chance for shoppers to discover locally made tableware that has a rustic elegance such as platters that look like burled wood or white birch bark. One of Brandwein’s signatures is pressing leaves, twigs or honeycomb (from Meili Farm near her studio) into the clay to create a pattern or decoration. “It makes each piece one of a kind,” she explains. Though the pieces, especially the porcelain, feel very delicate, Brandwein says they are tough enough to be used every day. “You don’t need to have a full set of anything. It mixes very well with pieces from Ikea.”
It also looks good on the stunning $6,000 Live Edge English elm table with triple bent legs that was made by her husband, Daniel Oates, a sculptor and former puppet maker. “I use elm that has been felled responsibly,” he says. “A lot of it gets cut down because of Dutch elm disease.” Besides collaborating with Oates on a group of lamps, Brandwein is expanding beyond ceramics. She recently took a trip to Peru where she was introduced to artisans who work in fair-trade workshops and make textiles and pillows out of super-soft alpaca and cotton. Brandwein loves her new career where she’s star of the show. She says she got out of the music business just in the nick of time. “I don’t understand why people want to buy music on their phones!” she says, laughing. “I wouldn’t fit in anymore.” But she certainly fits in beautifully at Germain.