The Coolest Makers Behind The Planters We Love

Learn about the roots of your favorite vessels.

Photographed by Ashley Randall for Lucy Michel.
The Coolest Makers Behind The Planters We Love
Illustrated by Briana Gagnier; Photographed by Michael D. Wilson for Spadone Home.

We have been chatting about our love for plants all month long, but one thing we just might like even more are the beautiful vessels we put them in. Ceramics and handmade crafts have seen a huge resurgence in the past few years and we are constantly falling in love with new designs that are emerging from this renaissance. So many amazing makers have taken simple forms that we use to hold our greens and elevated them into beautiful art pieces that we would definitely put on display even without anything inside.

To highlight the incredible women and men behind some of our favorite planters, we asked a few to share how they came to their craft, what inspires their aesthetic, and where they see themselves moving forward. Whether they are using unique structural molds or creatively using paint to give personalities to pots, each maker has an original style that adds vibrancy to whatever spot their work is displayed.

Miles and Molly Spadone of Spadone Home

Lonny: How did you first start getting into design?

Miles and Molly Spadone: We are siblings and just one year apart in school. We went to a high school nestled in the White Mountains of rural Maine where we fell both fell in love with pottery. We spent all of our study periods on the pottery wheel perfecting our forms. Once we had built enough work, we sacrificed our weekends stoking and firing the wood kiln well into the early Sunday morning.

It makes sense that we both had such a deep connection with craft as our mother was a potter and our father is a furniture designer and maker. From high school, we both went to study ceramics in college where we honed our skills and furthered our understanding of craft and design. Higher education provided us several more years to experiment and purvey the confluence of materials and process that we now use to realize ideas.

What was the inspiration behind starting your company?

Molly Spadone: After many years of studying with other professionals in a variety of capacities, both of us independently moved back to Maine and decided to share a studio. There, we worked in the same space and aided one another on different projects and unique custom work. Eventually, Miles had a show in New York and I went along to help. Upon our return to the studio, we decided to combine our efforts and skills and begin Spadone Home. The vision was to create a line of work that would marry Miles’ artistic, and materialistic sculpture with my minimalistic functional work. The work is heavily inspired by past periods and movements like Art Deco, Brutalist, Bauhaus, and Memphis.

How did you curate your works' unique style?

MS and MS: When we started Spadone Home in 2016, we cast a large net with the work. Naturally we narrowed the scope of the work and began to focus on the objects we did best: vessels and functional objects. Making vessels allows us to design and build sculptural objects that still serve a functional purpose. They echo architectural landscapes of past, present, and ominously future.

What is the most rewarding part of your business?

MS and MS: I don’t think there is anything more rewarding than seeing our finished pieces being used in the world. The vessels take on a new light for us when we see them in a beautifully curated space that isn’t our own vision. Whether it is a private home, a shop that carries our work, or in a magazine shoot, seeing the objects through another’s lens brings us a sense of being a part of something bigger than just our designs alone.

Do you have a favorite plant you like putting in your pots?

MS and MS: We’re kind of obsessed with any small flowering cactus. The colorful and goofy Moon Cactus is moving. They do really well in our planters because they grow slowly and don’t need a lot of root space or water. Plus the surfaces on our latest vessels look like star studded night skies — every moon should be surrounded by stars!

The Coolest Makers Behind The Planters We Love
Illustrated by Briana Gagnier; Courtesy of Uno + Ichi.

Hana Ward of Uno + Ichi

Lonny: How did you first start getting into ceramics?

Hana Ward: I first got into ceramics at a sort of uncertain time in my life. I was three years out of college. I had studied Education at Brown University and moved to Oakland afterwards to teach, but quickly found that I had little time for art. It was then that I began realizing how important my art practice was to my well-being. Here I was asking my middle school students to think about their passions and career dreams, yet I hadn't really examined my own. After two years in Oakland, I moved back to Los Angeles and in with my mom and started taking ceramics at Santa Monica Community College. I had never had the opportunity to take ceramics, and now that I was freshly unemployed, I had time to stick my toe in it and see what it was about. I have a background in illustration and painting and have always drawn little characters since I was young, so I knew immediately that I wanted to bring this energy and aesthetic to my ceramic work. 

What was the inspiration behind starting your company?

HW: I was really ambitious when we first started. Like I said, I had just starting taking ceramics (I could barely make a cup), yet I was like, "Joanna, let's start a business! We can do this!" Joanna was already a skilled ceramicist — she had been talking ceramics since middle or high school and I think was interested in getting back in it. We started initially out of a desire to make things, and to build something from scratch.

The inspiration behind the company is embedded in the name, Uno+Ichi. Uno+Ichi means “one plus one” —  uno as in the Spanish word for “one,” and ichi as in the Japanese word for “one.” We found this fitting for its more literal meaning of two people working together on something: me+you, Joanna+Hana, and 1+1. We also wanted it to speak to our feelings of taking this one step at a time. It represented our belief that we could build something by taking those little steps, one at a time, each day. Now that Joanna has moved on to other things, Uno+Ichi is still about collaboration and working with others. I'm working on some exciting collaborations right now that I'm hoping to share in the next few months. 

How did you curate your works' unique style?

HW: What a great question! I don't know. I think the style is ever evolving. It seems like the goal for what Uno+Ichi is and looks like is this indescribable thing, and with each piece I make I am trying to better articulate that indescribable thing. It's hard to put our style into words. I think it draws upon childhood, language, mashed up and mixed cultural backgrounds, folk art, the alphabet, vegetables, etc. 

What is the most rewarding part of your business?

HW: I feel fortunate to have this creative outlet for myself — I think I really need it. Also, I am good at pushing myself through a deadline (I can stay up late and get things finished), but I'm not very good at going to work every morning on time. It's extremely rewarding for me to know that I can shape my mornings however I'd like and I don't have to answer to someone, even if I have to trade long cold work nights for it. To me, it's worth it. 

Do you have a favorite plant you like putting in your pots?

HW: Yes, I have a little cracked pot in my painting studio that I really like. She keeps me company. But really I would like to build some very large planters. I'm hoping to work on some of those this summer.

The Coolest Makers Behind The Planters We Love
Illustrated by Briana Gagnier for Lonny; Photograped by Ashley Randall for Lucy Michel.

Lucy Michel

Lonny: How did you first start getting into ceramics?

Lucy Michel: I started ceramics as a hobby six years ago with a desire to make art that was more handmade. At the time, I was designing celebrity jewelry lines and wanted to have an outlet that was more sustainable, ethical, and hands-on. I wanted to get away from all the screens and unplug. I think there's something so cool about an art form that needs no new technology to create it. 

What was the inspiration behind starting your company?

LM: After a few years of making ceramics as a hobby, I realized it was literally the only think I wanted to do. I knew I had to figure out a way to make that dream a reality, so I started to develop and hone my collection. The business started very humbly and slowly, and grew naturally with the support of some amazing retailers and craft shows like Echo Park Craft Fair and West Coast Craft. 

How did you curate your works' unique style?

LM: My works' style and aesthetic is heavily influenced by my home state of California. I describe it as "Modern Californian.” The clay I use is earthy, but the shapes are modern. 

What is the most rewarding part of your business?

LM: The most rewarding part of my business is becoming a part of the incredible maker community and seeing people use and enjoy my pieces. 

Do you have a favorite plant you like putting in your pots?

LM: I really love to put dried plants in my pieces. You can totally put live ones in them with either just water or plant something inside with rocks and soil, but I really love the fragility of dried plants.

I am Lonny's Senior Associate Editor. You can find me writing about interior tips, scouting out the coolest new spots, and rallying behind amazing female entrepreneurs. You can reach me at shelby.wax@livingly.com or on Instagram @shelbywax.
Comments
ABOUT US     ADVERTISE     TERMS & POLICIES     Copyright © 2018 - Livingly Media, Inc., part of the auFeminin Group