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.
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.
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.
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].
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.
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