We discovered Lindsey La Valle Art + Clay purely by happenstance and going down a rabbit hole of contemporary graphic design on our social media. My Trove Box always keeps an eye out for women-owned businesses - especially those who tick the boxes of classic and functional design. Lindsey's ceramics are all made-to-order and lovingly handcrafted in Oklahoma. Below is a snippet from Lindsey's Q&A interview with us.
Hi Lindsey! Can you take us through your design process at Lindsey La Valle Art + Clay - what triggers your inspiration?
Most of my work starts as a necessity - I needed a little container for my rings by the kitchen sink, or I wanted a coffee mug that fit my hand better. Because my pottery work is highly functional, the form is everything at the start. I’ve gone through hundreds of iterations of everything in my line, and I have so many new forms that haven’t launched yet because they’re just not “there” yet. It’s really very important to me that every aspect be thoughtfully considered.
Once we get through that, the decorating starts. It’s funny to me that with both 2D fine art and graphic design, I can’t begin anything without filling a sketchbook to the brim full of ideas, yet when it comes to my pottery, I do my best designing on the fly. There’s something about having a real, 3-dimensional piece in my hands that causes me to throw my sketches out the window and experiment right there on the piece. There are lots more mistakes this way, but I feel as though it has opened up a new window to what I can do with glaze. I’ve recently been working on marrying my painting style (large scale florals) to my pottery, in hopes of creating a separate collection of more artistic pieces.
You've curated a striking and beautiful stoneware collection that straddles contemporary, classic and functional design. Speaking to the technical process, are there hard and fast rules that you follow as a designer to strike the right balance in graphic design and curating what pieces go/stay in the collections you launch?
For me, the only hard and fast rules I follow are that it must be functional, and it must visually work in most environments. My glaze work is mostly minimalist at the moment, and black, white or gray. I truly believe everyone loves a touch of black and white, and my work would fit in well in just about anyone’s cupboard, no matter their personal style. As for the form, my line currently only offers 11 forms, but I have so many that I’m working on behind the scenes. I’ve really learned to love the process of slowly designing what works for me with each piece, and knowing when it’s ready to meet the world.
You can read more about Lindsey La Valle Art + Clay in our online magazine, available exclusively to Quarterly and Annual subscription members.