Probably This Collection: Designing Our Wiener Doodle Catchall
We got a LOT of questions about the Wiener Doodle Catchall from our first collection in Probably This Collection. First, the details: it’s a handmade glazed stoneware catchall designed in collaboration with Philadelphia based ceramicist, Drew Schenck. I kind of got in to the story behind each piece in our collection intro blog post, but here’s a deeper dive into the process of how this piece came about, drafting ideas, working with Drew, and then finally having something physical we can ship out to people all around the world.
So, first, the concept: the first time we’d seen a wiener on a ceramic was when Drew gifted us one of his plates several years back. It was a small white ceramic with a big gold and blue wiener painted on it. We loved it and everyone who came into our home and saw it loved it. When we started thinking about this collection, it was one of the first things to come to mind. We loved the concept, because for starters, everyone needs somewhere to keep their keys or wallet or random desk stuff, and this serves that purpose well. We also loved how it kind of represents our attitude on design—it’s a quality piece with real utility, but doesn’t take itself too seriously.
So, we had the idea: we wanted a catchall that could hold our keys, with a wiener on it. Pretty barebones and up to interpretation, yeah. Of course we knew Drew would have to be the person to do it, as he was the one who originally inspired it anyhow. We jumped on a call to see if he was interested, and he was! We talked sizes, and colors, and options for materials and glazes. We decided that they should be about 1.5” - 2” deep because it’s just enough to differentiate the piece from being a plate or a bowl. We figured we should have two sizes for folks to choose from, and that 5” and 7” options were ideal because that’s about all the space you need for a wallet, keys, and maybe sunglasses.
As for materials, Drew recommended stoneware with a clear glaze, as it’s on the more affordable side and also has a really gorgeous warm glow and tiny speckles and variations that we love. Porcelain seemed a bit too serious for the piece, and we’re v glad he steered us away from that. And so now we knew it would be available in 5” and 7” widths, each about 2” deep. The material would be a glazed stoneware. And… what about the wiener?
This is where the drama starts. We had a few thoughts on the wiener: it shouldn’t represent a specific human flesh color because we could only really make one version and humans come in so many wonderful tones that picking one was something we obviously wouldn’t do; we chose to have it be circumcised only because it’s a more definite “penis” in doodle form than an uncircumcised one was. And again, we’d love to have the option for both but it wasn’t realistic time and money wise.
So, finally, we started reviewing penis sketches. The photo above is what that looked like. It was a weird thing to do, and we just kind of stared at them for a very long time. We thought that the ones with just a hint of the wiener wouldn’t really make it clear what it was, but also worried the ones with the full on wiener was more graphic and not quite as jovial as we wanted. But, eventually decided that if we went with the full wiener but didn’t give it too much … detail (maybe just an outline with a grayish paint inside?) it would be fine and not too “that’s a dick!!!!” So to the right is the first iteration of that idea.
We thought the shape was great, but the “filling” (not the right word) was off, and looked a little melancholy and maybe also like a lava lamp. OK, so next idea. What about just a carving? Like, a carving that creates a black outline and no “filling” (again, definitely the wrong word). Drew had an idea for this, and it seemed like it could be a good way to make the wiener less serious. And it was!
After the first few rounds of samples and going back and forth on the shape, we were in. We received the first few samples and were in love. They were distinctively wieners, but they were almost like a … doodle? Like they looked like someone had taken a ceramic catchall and just doodled a wiener on them. Ah! The name! Wiener Doodle. If we had known then that so many people would have been like “this is a penis, not a dog” we never would have named it that. But that was part of the joke, so, there.
Anyway, we settled on calling them Wiener Doodle Catchalls, and they’ve proven to be the most loved and confusion-driving item in our collection. They work perfectly for their purpose: to store those little things you always need a place for. And they’ve got a great look and quality feel to them. You can find the links to shop the 5”, 7”, or catchall set right here. We hope you love it!
We’ll be going in detail over the other items in our first collection over the next month or so. We had so much fun working with all of our makers for this collection, and we’re so grateful for everyone who has bought an item so far and will get to experience a bit of Probably This in their home!
xoxo Beau & Matt