Along with boldly-patterned bedding and decor, modern-eclectic furniture and bright, eye-catching rugs from our new Palm Springs collection, you’re sure to have noticed our standout ceramic pieces: bowls, trays, canisters and lamps. This unique pottery line from Boston-based ceramicists Jill Rosenwald and Lawrence McRae includes some of our favorite new collaborations this season. We recently spoke to the duo about their stellar works of art.
Your designs are so distinctive. From where do you draw most of your inspiration?
Jill: I tend to look at all of the colors around me and draw inspiration that way. I’m also constantly noticing pattern. I might look at how the sidewalk turns or the pattern made by a grate in the city street. I also draw inspiration from paintings I might see in museums or galleries. As far as trends, I’m may be influenced by them, but then I take the aspects about the trend that I love the most and then filter it through my design brain and create a collection around that. I never know what will inspire me but I am always being inspired by new things every day.
Lawrence: When I first began working as a ceramicist, I used to look through home magazines, but nowadays I enjoy trial and error. I’m an experimenter, definitely. I’m interested in proportions and how everything looks. I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
All of your pieces are so colorful! How do you go about choosing your glazes?
Jill: We have a library of glazes that includes literally hundreds of colors. We can buy commercial colors that catch our eye and then we can custom mix them to fit our ideas and the visions we have for our different collections. We love experimenting!
Lawrence: Since my pieces are modern, I love using bright colors on my work. I tend to take a primary color and then water it down or add white to make it more muted and modern. Since we display our things together, I also like to try to make sure the colors match or work well together.
From the original idea to the final product, how long does it take you to create your pieces?
Lawrence: In some cases, it happens all in one day, almost instantly, but in other cases, it can take a few weeks or even a month. Sometimes I’ll come up with an idea but then when I have it physically in front of me, it just doesn’t work. If I’m having difficulty with a piece, I’ll put it aside and come back to it later on. Some designs just never work and that’s fine, too!
What is it like working with your spouse?
Jill: It’s really wonderful! We’re very lucky. I don’t know if we’re yin and yang but we truly rely on one another for our work. Like two puzzle pieces that make it whole. I couldn’t do it without him!
Lawrence: We actually don’t see each other very often! Although we work in the same building, I have a separate space where I work on production and design, so we like to meet for lunch frequently. We’ve worked together for 20 years so it’s still working—or I guess you could say it’s a work in progress!
Do you do collaborations often?
Jill: This collaboration with Annie is actually very unique. She’s the first person that we’ve worked with that wanted to incorporate our work into her own existing collection. This collaboration was just awesome. I love how Annie is so clear and definitive with her vision. That just made working with her a dream.
What is your favorite piece from the new line?
Jill: I love the green Teardrop Lacey Lamp that Lawrence made!
What is your favorite aspect of the creative career you’ve chosen?
Jill: Lawrence and I are pursuing the American dream here at the studio; we’re making this very sincere, beautiful thing for individuals in a time when that’s very hard to come by. Another piece of what I love is connecting other creative people in Boston with other like-minded individuals in the hopes that that will help them along in their careers.
Lawrence: I never get tired of coming up with a new design. It’s almost like a puzzle of sorts, making new things. I always enjoy that.
What do you love most about being based in Boston?
Jill: I love that Boston is small and that it’s a walkable city! I just know that if the work was made somewhere else, it wouldn’t feel the same.
Lawrence: It’s great being in a city! These days, for an artist to have a studio in a city is almost a luxury, so we feel very fortunate to be where we are. When we moved down here 20 years ago, we had squatters as neighbors and now we have these large corporations. It’s weird to see everything change.
What makes your work stand out from that of other ceramicists?
Lawrence: I definitely feel that all of my pieces are a labor of love. A lot of people say that my pieces look machine made, but there is so much effort that goes into making these pieces look effortless.
Jill: If you were to order a piece from us at our studio, there are going to be at least six people that will create, touch, make that piece before it arrives in your home. When you own one of our pieces, you definitely feel that you’re a part of our little family and that you’ve made a bold choice.
About Jill & Lawrence
Jill first sold her pottery on the streets of New York City before gaining popularity with the creation of her first ceramics line for the internationally-recognized retailer Neiman Marcus. Now her pottery can be found in stores from coast to coast.
With a background in landscape architecture, Lawrence applies a similar design approach to his handmade ceramics. The result is a clean, modern collection of carved lamps and tableware that push the boundaries of materials and showcases his impeccable craftsmanship and attention to detail.
For nearly 20 years, the husband and wife duo has created modern, polished and show-stopping works of art. Jill and Lawrence’s pottery pieces: giftware, tableware, serveware and lamps are all handmade in their downtown Boston studio.
Each piece is made to order, handcrafted on the pottery wheel then sculpted, drawn and painted by their skilled team of artisans. A signature finishing touch to all of Jill’s pieces includes a luxurious 14k gold rim.
See Jill and Lawrence’s beautiful work throughout our Palm Springs catalog and on our website. Learn more about their work and their Boston-based studio here!