Artist and photographer Bradley Trammel, of Bradley Trammel Photography, returned to an old hobby — pottery — during the COVID-19 shutdown and a new business was born.
“Within hours of picking it back up and making the decision to pivot,” Trammel said, “kilns, clay, wheels and the making for glazes fell into our lap. Literally hours.”
“We didn’t ignore the signs,” he said. “We grabbed it and ran.”
Now, Curly Tail Studio is his sole focus.
Trammel’s entrepreneurial energy has led him to pursue many careers and start several businesses, from catering to trucking. He went from the trucking business to photography in a similar fashion, then leapt into pottery during the pandemic.
Taught by his father, Trammel began taking photos when he was just 11 years old and was photographing weddings professionally by the time he was 19. After high school, however, Trammel set his camera aside to attend culinary school in Portland, where he worked in kitchens until his late 20s.
Ironically, it was Trammel’s trucking career that got him photographing again. “I would be sitting in parking lots in rural farm towns in North Dakota with nothing to do but take pictures,” said Trammel, who began photographing landscapes with his film camera to occupy himself on long trips.
Trammel had stopped making pottery, an art he started to learn years ago, until his daughter got a kid’s wheel, inspiring the whole family to take it back up. But it wasn’t until the quarantine, when photography opportunities ceased, that they got a new wheel and haven’t stopped since.
It’s “teamwork and collaboration” that he says makes the studio run. His wife, Nicole Trammel, who adamantly declared she would only buy glazes, now makes them “as easily as cooking a Sunday sauce.”
Curly Tail Studio was named for the Trammel family’s Siberian huskies with the “curly tails,” as they’re called by Northern dog breed lovers. They are beautiful, creative, smart dogs that are also headstrong, independent and silly, according to Trammel. “We wanted a name that allowed for our entire family to be creative and independent in our endeavors — which mostly includes ceramics, but not entirely,” he said.
The family still does landscape photography and any other creative endeavor they may stumble across ... ”like when our husky re-landscapes our backyard.”
“Sometimes it’s art we keep for ourselves and sometimes we want to share the pretty ‘Curly Tail’ with our community,” Trammel said.
Prior to Bradley Trammel Photography, and now Curly Tail Studio at The Monarch, the Trammels owned a barbecue restaurant, several catering businesses, a KCBS competition BBQ team and a trucking company. His wife and partner, a former logistical engineer retired from the U.S. Army, now works in business finance.
The Trammels have long been attracted to the corner of 25th and Ogden, since back in 2011 when they were scouting a spot for a restaurant. When they heard whisperings of artist studios coming to the area, they knew they wanted to have something to do with the beautiful space.
“When the idea of The Monarch and the studios happened to be in the building we loved, we signed on,” Trammel said. “We have had a wonderful time at The Monarch so far.”
Curly Tail Studio is in Studio 7 at The Monarch, where Trammel can often be found working on ceramic art, pottery, dinnerware, planters, coffee pour overs, landscapes and other print work.