About us and OUR PROCESS
Lustered Walnut wares are slip cast using molds and positives we design and fabricate. All wares are pattered and/or painted by hand. No decals or stencils are used.
We slip cast in small batches and do not use ram-pressing (a standard industrial process) for our plates. This means that our plates are left with delicate undulating surfaces, the edges are not perfectly straight, and standard ware thickness is a range, not an absolute.
Plates and platters are fully glazed while tumblers and mugs are glazed in the interior, exterior rim, and handle (when applicable).
Instead of using porcelain, we use stoneware.
Strong and durable, stoneware's history reminds us of rustic country homes, comfort, and family dinners. The particular type of stoneware we use has an ivory colored clay body with small flecks of brown reminiscent of rich french vanilla ice-cream. This warm base contrasts with the stark geometric forms and complements the hand-drawn, subtly undulating graphite-like lines which decorate the wares
Our work strikes a delicate balance between modern, inviting, and playful form and color, while remaining functional, sophisticated and timeless.
This spring, we will be able to offer full table settings. As our line evolves we look forward to creating tile, lamps, and ultimately adding wooden furniture.
With this line we hope to have created a comfortable and sophisticated line of ware for your next friends and family gathering.
Our core line of wares are dishwasher and microwave safe. The only exception is if you have purchased wares with metallic luster, these are hand-wash only.
The stoneware is very dense and strong. Though we have not had any problems with staining; we suggest rinsing after use and ensure wares are not soaked in dirty water, red wine, or coffee over night.
Interview with Bulletin
Where are you from? How did you both meet?
I was born in Montreal and went to UArts in Philly for undergrad. Robert studied architecture in Texas and we met at Cranbrook Academy of Art near Detroit. He was in the industrial design program there while I was in ceramics.
Why do you make what you make? How did you get started in ceramics?
I like the mix of science and art that ceramics demands. I thought I would major in painting, switched to the fibers department and ultimately ended up wanting to take more and more ceramics classes which turned into a major...!
Robert's undergraduate degree is in living environments/architecture, so when I started making cups for a cup sale one winter, he got interested in helping me design a line and that's how we started Lustered Walnut. He is attracted to ceramics for the design/engineering challenge as well as an outlet for a love of hand drawing (he does the patterns).
What is your design process like?
We are both image junkies and are constantly looking at a variety of sources - movies, design blogs, food blogs, fashion magazines, advertising, social media, and architecture, both current and historical; so we share thoughts on form/design innovation and trends almost incessantly. We also listen to pod casts about robots, genetic engineering, economy and politics so we talk a lot about how craft fits into contemporary culture.
Recently we have been focused on filling out our dinnerware line but have plans for other home goods. We work on all the designs together and depend on each other for editing and brutal honesty.
Do you have a favorite piece?
My favorite piece we make right now is our "cocoa" mug in variable stripe. I use it all the time and still love looking at the pattern and texture.
As a maker where every piece is your brainchild, how do you feel when people love your collection?
It's thrilling! We spend so much time considering proportion & function that when someone else can truly appreciate what it has taken to produce a mug or platter it is very rewarding. It's even better when they recognize the effort to give cohesion to the whole line, which has taken several years to develop.
You live and work in California. What do you love about it?
I love LA! I was surprised that even though LA is so huge there is a great design/art/craft community that is extremely supportive. Of course, after being in Michigan for a number of years I love the weather.
What is the significance of furnishing someone’s home? How does it feel to know people eat, sleep and live in their personal sanctuaries with your products?
I know how much it means to us to surround ourselves with meaningful pieces. Some objects inspire or calm us and some are a pleasure to use. The best objects do all three. The objects in our home have a story, we know who most of the makers are and at least a little about how they were made. We cherish and maintain those pieces and they make our house feel like home.
We love that the objects we craft can hold all those meanings to someone else.
Do you have any anecdotes about a certain design you’re most proud of?
We are extremely pleased with our simple Pint tumbler. It was originally developed for a mug. However, as a handleless cylinder its dimensions are perfectly proportioned for a surprising variety of uses and its circumference is very comfortable to hold. We don't normally set out to design multi-functional objects since we find that their utility is often diluted. However, in this case we find ourselves using them all over the house. We drink water, beer, coffee and tea from them, store pencils or toothbrushes, and pair them with a cork top for storing ground coffee, seeds, nuts, ect.
What inspires you in general?
Simplicity of form and design, natural materials with honest texture and color. Both Robert and I really aspire to make objects that look modern but can feel ancient as well. This probably draws on a long-standing love of Shaker and Japanese design, as well as utilitarian tools (mostly antique).