Join us for an intimate look inside the ceramic studio of Workaday Handmade’s Forrest Lewinger as he contemplates and creates pieces from his latest collection.

Photography & Interview by David Kimelman

 

Forrest’s growing assemblage of ceramics continues the visual dialogue of classical forms and modern motifs of his earlier work. His charming and functional serveware and home accessories fuse his commitment to handmade craft with his sophisticated design aesthetic. In his new stoneware collection, Forrest uses an ancient Korean technique called Mishama, in which the clay is incised and white glaze is placed inside of the carvings resulting in textural pieces with rich raw surfaces.

We love how versatile the Workaday Handmade collection is. The Large Maurice or Shields bowls make for a dynamic table presentation when serving salad or as a fruit filled centerpiece. The lunch pots are great as a vase for fresh cut flowers or as a holder for your kitchen utensils. Party snacks get the royal treatment in any of the smaller bowls and dishes.

Click To Shop The Full Collection

A pot is born. Forrest applies light pressure to a clay shaping tool to smooth the inside of the bowl evenly.

David: What attracted you to pottery and ceramics, why do you make pots?

Forrest: I have always been interested in repetition and the presence of the human hand in the mechanical. While repetition can seem mechanical it is often what reveals the quality of my hand in my pots. When I'm making a series or a set or editions, I try to make them look the same, but no matter how good I get, they are always all so different. In a way the pot becomes a record of when it was made.

I was drawn to the immediacy of working with clay. Its really satisfying at the end of the day to look back and physically see what you have done in that day.

Carefully marking the center of a spinning Maurice Bowl is the first step in the shaping process.
The clay used in Workaday's stoneware peices contain iron. When the pots are fired at 2200°, the metal oxidizes and turns the clay dark brown.

Trimming the excess creates the final shape. Once the clay has dried and hardened a bit, Forrest makes his signature carvings in the material.

David: What's your favorite part of the pot throwing process?

Forrest:Trimming, because that's when the form in its final shape is revealed. I love to carve away at the pot, the clay has such a great texture and there's sound to it too.

“I have always been interested in repetition and the presence of the human hand in the mechanical.”
Forrest produces every single Workaday Handmade peice himself in his Bed Stuy, Brooklyn studio.
The lunch pots are slip cast in a plaster mold. A mixture of glaze is added first to create the marbled exteriors. Forrest rotates the mold manually to get even coverage.

David: What's a lunch pot?

Forrest:Workaday Handmade started as a daily ritual at my old day job where I would take my lunch break to create one of my own objects at the potters wheel. The pots that I threw then were called lunch pots. Now only one item on my line sheet is called a Lunch Pot but they all started out that way.

David: What inspires your work?

Forrest: The inspiration from my work comes from all over the place. I am pretty scattered in that regard. My background is in Fine Art so I will look to artists and writers for examples of creative people at work. Sometimes, I look at paintings for color or architecture for pattern and form. The Tortoise Shell idea came from clothing. Now that I am in the studio all the time, everything outside of it feels connected to it somehow.

Forrest hand paints the modern, sometimes whimsical, patterns on each piece.

David: What are you working on next?

Forrest:I have a lot of ideas that I am trying to get to. I'm working on some custom lighting projects which I enjoy and would love to expand. I am talking to a restaurant about doing some custom dinnerware. And I have lot of ideas for other objects to add to my line. Stay tuned!

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