Get to know the artists and creators who design, construct, and produce your favorite Ayr Barns pieces in our Meet the Maker series.
Amy and Katie Carson are sisters, designers, and have a fine appreciation for connecting artisans and sustaining cultural heritage through pieces like our Bobble Bottom Glass and Ettie Champagne Flute. From their 1920's barn in the Skagit Valley of northwest Washington, the Carson sisters took a few moments to share with us their story and inspirations.
We love that you are sisters sharing a common taste for beautiful wares. Tell us about how your partnership began?
As children we traveled a fair amount of international travel as a family (our mother, Barbara Bitter, was a school teacher giving us the freedom to travel during those months). During these travels we explored, looking into stores of all kinds, markets, festivals, museums … We found ourselves making purchases of two unique items we both agreed upon, to take home. This is where and how we honed our mutual taste and love for the search. We formalized this partnership into Bitters Co. in 1993, with the opening of our retail store in Seattle.
Tell us about your company, Bitters Co.
We were taught a phrase that sums up our style of business, “Transparent Direct”. We are 100% of all that we do, we wear all hats possible without middle people. This way we are in touch with producers, customers, logistics, clients - the story is clear and our hearts and minds fully involved in the entire process, from procurement to sales.
What do each of you bring to Bitters Co.?
Amy: energy, creativity …
Katie: clarity, vision …
When sourcing and working with artisans, what key features are you drawn to?
We are drawn to family owned and operated - the smaller scale brings us closer to the product.
We look for an aesthetic quality in the operation, that the artisans themselves love what they do. Often they are following tradition passed down generationally, the younger members adding current tastes to augment the historic quality of their production. We ultimately blend our designs with their skills and materials. We have become family friends with all of the producers we work with, many of which since the late 90’s, now working with the 4th generation.
Where do you draw your inspirations from the most?
Amy: love of nature and history; art and architecture background.
Katie: love of people and physical surroundings; cultural anthropology background.
What are your hopes for the future of Bitters Co.?
Our plan for the future is to continue what we do; to design products with skilled craftsmen here and abroad to offer classic, enduring housewares for our wholesale and retail clients.
In the works here on our 5 acre farm with its historic red barn we are developing an environment offering cultural events of many varieties, this is exciting and our next evolution to exist alongside our current endeavors.