P&Co Art Dept. Features

Daniel Dooreck

Potter and friendly face of Danny D’s Mudshop, Daniel Dooreck, first caught our eye in 2022 when we came across a photo of a custom vase debossed with a traditional panther design on Instagram. We were instantly taken by his raw approach to clay throwing and hand-painted design. We watched his business grow - from working out of his California-based garage and conversing with strangers to stocking his first range in multi-brand retailer Goodhood. One thing has remained the same, and that is his ‘small business approach’. During a recent visit to London, we dropped into the Goodhood flagship in Shoreditch to check out his collection. Each piece had the same handmade custom feel as his earlier one-of-a-kind designs that first inspired us.

About 8 months ago, he moved out of his small garage in Echo Park, California, and into a larger commercial space in East LA, which he believes has brought his small business to the next stage of its life. We caught up with Danny to talk about the next exciting stage of Danny D’s Mudshop, and what’s next, and get to know him a bit better!

Pottery hasn’t always been a full-time job for Dooreck, and before opening the mud shop about 2 years ago, he had a long career in the hospitality industry. As a partner of a Toronto-based restaurant, he ‘hyper-focused’ on the wine side of things before exploring new creative outlets. “I suppose there is creativity in running a restaurant, but in terms of pure art expression and work, pottery was my first real introduction to it.”

He’s been throwing for about 6 years in total. “I think I’m a serial ‘hobbyist’, and this one has stuck particularly well. Perhaps it’s the hands-on approach and the tactile action of creating vessels that got me hooked,” but the thing that sets his work apart from the rest is the use of his carved illustrations which he translates to the clay. He tells us how it is his favourite part of the process as it creates texture and depth and adds a real tangible aspect to his work - not just visual.

“The carving is finicky though. It’s a lot of stress on a piece and takes a huge amount of time due to the volume I create. It also causes a lot of bottlenecks within my production line because there is such a small window to carve into clay effectively.” Half of Danny’s job is wrapping and unwrapping cups to check if the dryness is correct. “If it’s too wet, the clay drags and can look messy, but if it’s too dry and brittle, it can easily break”.

A Day in the Life:

From the beginning, Danny was located in a tiny two-door garage in Echo Park - northwest of Downtown LA. It flooded with every rainfall, and amenities were minimal; the drywall was crumbling, and the ceiling eventually started to cave in. While it wasn’t much, what he achieved from that space was incredible.

“I’m really proud of that part of my journey. It was situated right on the street; I would engage with so many people in the community.” We’re reminded of a series of videos that can be found on Danny’s Instagram account (@dannydsmudshop) where he films conversations with random locals who drop by and chat about, well, whatever they please. Our favourite is a visit from ‘Howard’ - the sweetest old guy who just wants to show off the lemons he’s grown in his impressive garden.

His larger new studio, based in East LA, has been an amazing upgrade. “It’s been an amazing upgrade; it’s allowed me to be more efficient and freed up time to be more creative in other ways.” Day to day, Danny likes to get into the studio first thing in the morning, ready to battle drying clay, trimming cups, carving, and painting. He will often dedicate a day to larger-scale projects - getting as much done as possible before the drying gets messed up and he risks losing it. “My goal this year is to make it home before sunset each day”.

Outside of the studio, his main passion is old SUVs, particularly Toyotas. “I have a lot of friends down in Long Beach that teach me a lot, but I really only do the basics”. He is also playing around with the idea of dirt bikes, but it’s not realistic with the size of his garage. According to Danny, the sense of the community in the area is really strong; he loves cooking, playing host, and investing in his living space: “[the living room] looks like an old quilt as we are testing so many different colours.” A lot of us can relate!

Western Influences:

While Danny may not hail from the Midwest, he surrounds himself with a range of eclectic people who opened his eyes to its beauty. His love for Western design runs deep - inspired by the rugged landscapes and iconic imagery. He incorporates elements of Western art into his pottery; combining tradition and innovation: “I realised quickly that Western art translated well to clay, but understood that the small details and lots of shading didn’t, so I had to find an in-between that worked for me”.

Whenever he travels he stops at thrift and vintage stores, picking up or snapping photos of anything that catches his eye - from old western cartoons to belt buckles. He respects tattoo culture and connects with lots of artists he finds on social media. “My medium is tricky, and the initial inspiration changes so much. But I’m grateful to be enriched by so many different aspects and artists.”

Future Plans:

As he looks to the future, Danny remains committed to authenticity and community. Whether through expanding his newsletter or dreaming of a brick-and-mortar coffee shop/pottery concept, his vision is clear: to grow organically while remaining creative, sustainable, and maintaining genuine human connections.

“I work to be present, to focus on the art and to be good and true to the people who show up for it. I’ll also say screw you to anyone who doesn’t believe in my work. I’d love to run away to Santa Fe and do what I love out of a barn or open a space attached to a coffee shop. If the right partner comes along, maybe it’ll happen, but for now, I know nothing about coffee. I really only know about pottery and I’m okay with that.”