Atelier Dion has been an important part of the Umami Mart family since we first opened our doors in Oakland in 2012. This husband and wife team, Rie and Jay Dion, are talented ceramicists who run a dynamic studio in West Oakland. They collaborate with restaurants, bars, cafes, coffee roasters, tea shops, art collectives and independent makers to create original products unique to each client.
Jay + Rie!
Cups, mugs, saucers, bowls and seed starters
Truth be told, Jay and I used to work together at Ippuku restaurant in Berkeley back in 2010. Between nagging customers and crazy busy rushes, we would discuss our "side projects" together -- his, Atelier Dion, and mine Umami Mart -- and we spoke longingly about someday making it a legitimate business. And we did it! Who knew that four years later we would both be growing our businesses, once simply a hobby, and we would be collaborating with one another.
Last year, we debuted our Yunomi cups made by Atelier Dion. Yoko and I worked together with Rie and Jay to design these Japan-inspired tea cups, and they have been popular at Umami Mart ever since. Here are some photos I took on my recent visit to their studio, when they were just finishing up a batch of our Yunomi! It is always such a treat to visit their headquarters.
The marriage of Atelier Dion and Umami Mart logos
Molds for our Yunomi
I asked Jay a couple food questions for this article, here's his response:
What is your drink of choice lately?
Nothing hits the spot like a cold beer after work. We've been getting used to Fusebox's KFC and happy hour beer special. Outdoor tables are great for playing dice with our employees. Can't hurt that it's literally on the same lot as our shop.
If you could bite into anything, anywhere in the world right now, what would it be?
Fresh caught trout, cleaned and stuffed with garlic and butter and cooked over a campfire. Man, we really need to go camping!
Tools and glazes
Polishing and allocating cups
Benny! The very best studio buddy
Atelier Dion Studio
One of the AD kilns, where all the magic happens
Want to see Atelier Dion HQ in person? Please join Atelier Dion's Kickstarter Launch Party and Open Studio THIS SATURDAY!!!
It is going to be a FEAST (my brother Casa de Kei will be cooking up a piglet I hear) and all around fun in general, with homebrew and all sorts of other treats. They hope to raise $40,000 for studio equipment, and the Kickstarter campaign will run through October. Stop by Umami Mart starting Monday 9/22 to check out all the "thank you gifts" in person!
The party on Saturday will start at 2pm and is located at 2311 Magnolia Street in West Oakland. Come party with us!
Support Atelier Dion here!