We met the artist behind Studio Hecha on a sunny afternoon in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Haley Bradley, the brains and everything behind this ceramics operation invited us to peek into her colorful clay world at “Actual Studio Space” - a dreamy shared creative studio with sunlight and tropical plants, with studio-mates who support each other, bring their dogs to work and walk to the burrito cart on their lunch break together. It’s in this space that Haley makes it all happen- from inspiration, to creation, shipping, and beyond. We’ve been following Haley on Instagram for a while and have watched her business really take off in last few years thanks to her original designs, a unique approach to business and just…her.
Getting dressed is always an adventure
A typical day starts at home with her husband, Thomas - also a talented professional artist, and her good boy Pantone aka Tony the Dog - together they take a morning walk in the California sun with coffee in hand. Getting dressed is always an adventure, Haley dresses for the sheer pleasure of getting dressed. It’s a head-to-toe look even if she doesn't plan to see another person all day. As a visual artist, it starts with herself and how she wants to express herself that day. "I’m really hard on my day to day workwear due to the nature of studio work and being covered in clay all day, but I love dressing up and feeling good in my clothes. Tsuchiya is there for both the work day and the bop around town or grab-a-drink type of day and its utilitarian, yet stunning design provides a vessel for all activities.”
Haley can trace her artist’s roots back to her grandmother. "A visit to Nana’s always meant craft time, as well as being in touch with wild California nature, climbing trees and riding horses. Nana didn’t have a TV, which mean to There was no TV, which meant we had to entertain ourselves, it was an idyllic existence”. Growing up she was drawn to art and had a natural talent for using her hands. In high school she attended “Summer of Art in Los Angeles at Otis College of Art and Design”. That’s where she started to take herself more seriously as artist and even ended up going to college there, experimenting with different programs: graphic design, painting, illustration. After school she found herself in the fashion industry working at Quicksilver, and later Nike, using her illustration skills to create graphics and patterns for apparel and digital. "During this period I was spending a lot of time on the computer and was looking to find a way to connect back to making something with my hands. I took my first and only intro class to ceramic wheel throwing and it was here that a light came on. Something about blending the hand formed vessels with my pattern/design background came together.”
We’re all searching for joy in this short life
About launching Studio Hecha in 2017: “It’s kind of a dream job. It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked in my whole life, but I know this is the work that brings me the most freedom and the most joy. Being my own boss is liberating and to make art that brings so many people so much happiness feels really right. We’re all searching for joy in this short life, and I love being a part of happy moments in people’s everyday rituals. Cups have become my most popular item, they are kind of the gateway into people’s lives. We use them so often and I’ve found over the last few years people are really taking more pride in their personal cup collections, postingabout them on social and tagging me- I love that!”
Brings a sense of fun while still being functional for everyday use.
"I appreciate Tsuchiya’s passion for materials and the fact that their bags are made by hand. The attention to detail and playfulness in their silhouettes shows an incredible balance of sophistication but also brings a sense of fun while still being functional for everyday use. I like to bring that type of energy to my work as well. Ceramics can be seen as this hearty, useful and utilitarian medium, but I love bringing a little softness, some bold color, and a sleek silhouette in. I use my Randoseru for daily life, I pack some of my tools in here, my wallet goes in this smaller pocket, Tony’s treats are in here too, I can pack a lot in there. I recently started painting on the leather, to add a personal touch. It was an experiment that really worked. At first I couldn’t believe what I was doing with this really nice bag, but I just felt compelled to try and now I love how it turned out. It was exciting taking something traditional and making it a one-of-a-kind work of art, I was just inspired by this beautiful bag!”