Behind the Scenes: 5 Questions with Heather Rosenman Ceramics

 Heather Rosenman’s Leto Series displayed in her dining room   (image source  )

Heather Rosenman’s Leto Series displayed in her dining room (image source)

Heather Rosenman first appeared on our radar with her Leto series of ceramic works that stopped us in our tracks with their strong geometric forms, at once evoking both the ancient and modern. So when it came to planning our trip to Los Angeles in October, we immediately scheduled a visit to her studio in east LA. Heather was warm, gracious, and open, and we can’t wait to incorporate her stunning pieces into our interior design projects. Read on to learn more about Heather’s work and inspiration and view scenes from her studio.

 Rosenman’s office where you can see evidence of her former life as a graphic designer

Rosenman’s office where you can see evidence of her former life as a graphic designer

 Works in progress in the studio

Works in progress in the studio

Q: What is your background?

A: I'm originally from New York. I received a BFA from The Cooper Union, working in design firms along the way. I then attended the Basel School of Design in Switzerland for graduate work. Then to Amsterdam working for Total Design, a Dutch design firm. I returned to New York and worked in branding and identity when in 1992, was transferred to Los Angeles to open a Branding satellite office. After years as creative director I escaped the corporate world to throw some mud.

Q: How did you get started in ceramics after a career in graphic design?

A: My husband gave me a wheel as a gift. I had no experience but he confidently said, “I think you're going to like this.” It changed my life. With a deep appreciation of art history, form, space, engineering, architecture, even typography and logo design, the transition to ceramics was rapturous.

 Cannabis-friendly, graphic experiments inspired by  Isamu Noguchi’s playgrounds

Cannabis-friendly, graphic experiments inspired by Isamu Noguchi’s playgrounds

 More experiments

More experiments

Q: What is the common thread, if any, that can be seen throughout your designs?

A: A deep appreciation of ancient forms/relics, ceramics, modern art and the history of design.  I’m driven to combine a primitive aesthetic with modern sensibilities.

I've had a long running theme that continues to develop my Leto series. I look to Cycladic figures of carved marble, which were brilliantly painted - the Cyclades Grecian islands were rich in minerals. They were weathered and bleached by the sun to a magnificent white. They originated from 3200 to 2700 BC and yet they are stunningly modern and simplified.

Cuneiform is my inspiration for the Scribe series. Cuneiform is one of the earliest systems of writing- it is a strikingly graphic glyph-like communication. My linear designs are like a language, mathematical equations or calendars of my life.

I'm also fascinated with machines and engineering. My wonder portals and contraptions are made to feel like artifacts of machines that have not yet been invented. Just as archaeologists unearth dilapidated tools and used deductive and inductive reasoning to understand their functions, these forms invite us to explore the future from a similar point of view.

 Inspiration on display in the studio

Inspiration on display in the studio

 Glaze color samples

Glaze color samples

Q: What are your aspirations for the next 3-5 years?

A: Continue developing designs and reach to other mediums. In February 2019, I am launching a textile collection for Kerry Joyce Textiles based on my ceramic surface designs (that Kerry and I created in collaboration). Available at Kneedler Fauchere [a local to-the-trade showroom].

 Completed works

Completed works

 The studio kiln in its own shed

The studio kiln in its own shed

Q: What motto do you try to live by?

A: The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

 Ceramic outdoor mobiles

Ceramic outdoor mobiles

Form + Field 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

For our second annual gift guide, we’re taking a slightly different tack to the usual gift guide. As we’ve gotten older, gift-giving has mostly given way to spending meaningful time with our loved ones, whether that be through food, travel, or new experiences. This year we’re sharing some of our favorite ideas for creating memories with your friends and family - experiences that we’ve either done ourselves, given as gifts, or have on our bucket list!

FOR THE FOODIE

 Outstanding in the Field     image source

Outstanding in the Field image source

Outstanding in the Field

Forget farm to table, Outstanding in the Field takes the table to the farm! Set in stunning landscapes, this dinner party at a single long table is an unforgettable experience.

 Kaori’s Kitchen     image source

Kaori’s Kitchen image source

Kaori’s Kitchen

Mochi class, anyone? If you don’t share our love of mochi, you can learn how to make ramen, sushi, or any of the other Asian dishes offered by daughter and mother team Kaori and Yuki.

FOR THE MAKER

 Meryl Pataky  Neon Art: Joseph Kosuth

Meryl Pataky Neon Art: Joseph Kosuth

Meryl Pataky - Neon Workshops

Make your own neon masterpiece! Meryl is a local Bay Area artist focusing on neon and mixed media, and she happens to also hold neon workshops where you can create your own abstract designs or a pair of neon boobs from a selection of pre-designed patterns.

 sfclayworks     image source

sfclayworks image source

sfclayworks

Ceramic art has made a huge comeback in recent years, so why not make your own? sfclayworks is located in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco and offers all-levels ceramics classes for wheel throwing and handbuilding in the evening. The best part? There’s plenty of parking.

FOR THE TRAVELER

 Esalen     image source

Esalen

Even for the non-hippies, Esalen is a must-do at least once in your life! Built on the side of a cliff in Big Sur, Esalen offers hot springs, intimate workshops, and the most delicious vegetarian meals that will win over even the most ardent of carnivores. One of our most memorable experiences period.

 Sea Ranch     image source

Sea Ranch image source

Sea Ranch

For the architecture enthusiast, Sea Ranch is the perfect weekend getaway just 2-1/2 hours north of San Francisco. The upcoming SFMOMA exhibition sums it up perfectly, “Designed by a small group of Bay Area architects and designers in the early 1960s, the development was envisioned as a progressive, inclusive community, guided by the idealistic principles of good design, economy of space, and harmony with the natural environment.” Rent an iconic house designed by Charles Moore, William Turnbull, or perhaps, Joseph Esherick.

What are some of your favorite experiences to give or receive? Share with us in the comments!

Pro Tip: Our Favorite L.A. Design Shops

Last month, we took a trip to Los Angeles for a glorious week of art and design inspiration. In addition to checking off the Broad, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House (perhaps his most stunning living room) from our bucket list, we made the rounds at Los Angeles’ design shops. Here’s a handful of our favorites for your next trip to L.A.:

 The dining room at Casa Perfect

The dining room at Casa Perfect

Casa Perfect is the Los Angeles outpost of The Future Perfect, one of the nation’s foremost contemporary design galleries with locations in San Francisco and New York City. It’s housed in a former residence of Elvis Presley, and has stunning views inside and out.

 Galerie Half’s Belgian-esque aesthetic

Galerie Half’s Belgian-esque aesthetic

Galerie Half is a beautifully curated showroom of 20th century design, primitive furniture, and European antiques, and features stand-out pieces such as a complete George Nakashima dining set. The spare, minimalist set-up puts all the emphasis on the furnishings.

 Unique wood pieces at Reform Gallery

Unique wood pieces at Reform Gallery

Reform Gallery is full of unique wood furniture and sculpture, and beautiful ceramics with an emphasis on California Modernism. Go here for pieces that showcase the handiwork of lesser known designer craftsmen such as J.B. Blunk and Sam Maloof.

 Vintage lighting at Gallery L7

Vintage lighting at Gallery L7

While Gallery L7 carries furniture and objects, what we loved most was their stunning selection of vintage 20th century European lighting from diverse French, Italian, Scandinavian, etc. designers.

 Object’s beautiful display of cutting board

Object’s beautiful display of cutting board

Object is retail at its finest, showcasing a beautiful collection of mid-century European and American objects for the home. Wood pieces, ceramics, and glassware are all on display.

Any shops we missed that are at the top of your list? Share with us in the comments below!

Site Visit: Oliver Ranch

 The starting point for the Oliver Ranch tour

The starting point for the Oliver Ranch tour

It’s no secret we love art, but what you may not know is that we especially love installation art. Earlier this year we had the privilege of visiting Oliver Ranch in Sonoma County, located about a 1.5 hour drive north of San Francisco (sans traffic).

Steve Oliver of the Oliver and Company construction firm and former president of the board at SFMOMA commissioned the first piece for his ranch in 1985. Since then, the stunning 100-acre property has seen 17 more installations built. Fun fact: Oliver Ranch was the first site-specific sculpture park of its kind preceding the more well-known Storm King Art Center in New York.

Now for a few of our favorite installations from the tour:

 Roger Berry’s  Darwin  made of corten steel, and a feat of engineering

Roger Berry’s Darwin made of corten steel, and a feat of engineering

 Terry Allen’s  humannature , a pair of delightful bronze sculptures

Terry Allen’s humannature, a pair of delightful bronze sculptures

 Robert Stackhouse’s  Russion River Bones  replicates the land below

Robert Stackhouse’s Russion River Bones replicates the land below

 Ann Hamilton’s cast concrete performance tower, our personal favorite

Ann Hamilton’s cast concrete performance tower, our personal favorite

We were lucky to have Mr. Oliver as our tour guide who shared the crazy stories and feats of engineering behind the art, including being investigated by the CIA! You can sign up for your own tour whose proceeds go directly to the non-profit organizations sponsoring the tour.

What are some of your favorite site-specific art installations? Share with us in the comments below!

All photography by Christine Lin.

Before + After: Sunset Kitchen

Not gonna lie, this was one major transformation in one very small, windowless space. Our clients were avid cooks and frustrated with their cramped kitchen and its dysfunctional layout. We opened up a wall to create room for friends and family to gather, and even though we removed a few upper cabinets, the kitchen ended up being more space efficient in the end. Check it out:

 BEFORE: What you’re seeing is the length of the kitchen.

BEFORE: What you’re seeing is the length of the kitchen.

 AFTER: There used to be a wall and a fridge where the peninsula is.

AFTER: There used to be a wall and a fridge where the peninsula is.

 BEFORE: Fluorescent lighting, need I say more?

BEFORE: Fluorescent lighting, need I say more?

 AFTER: Recessed lighting keeps the small space clutter free, while the pendant adds some interest.

AFTER: Recessed lighting keeps the small space clutter free, while the pendant adds some interest.

 BEFORE: Induced claustrophobia

BEFORE: Induced claustrophobia

 AFTER: Room to breathe

AFTER: Room to breathe

What’s your favorite part of the new kitchen? Tell us in the comments below!