“I equate mugs with comfort. I love the ritual of a mug.”
Lalese Stamps × Ceramic Artist × Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.
Lalese Stamps is a ceramic artist with the eye of a graphic designer and the sensitivity of a historian. The internet went wild for her “100 Day Project,” in which she made a centuplicate of experimental mugs, from rigorously architectural and elegantly typographic to fantastical and absurd. Her studio, Lolly Lolly Ceramics, is in Columbus, Ohio.
RE: THE MUG AS CULTURAL ARTIFACT
I equate mugs with comfort. I love the ritual of a mug. We reach for them nearly every day whether we’re drinking tea, coffee, hot water, soup... It’s such a foundational item.
And the handle! Exploring the function of a handle with my 100 Day Mugs allowed me to uncover even more nuances of the mug-as-object. I love that I’ve been able to have such an intimate relationship with an object that has been used for centuries.
RE: PIXELS TO CLAY
I started ceramics when I was studying graphic design in undergrad. I needed a break from looking at a computer screen so I began to dabble in clay. I ended up loving the functionality of ceramics – still do. Even though it’s my full-time focus now, I am happy to be grounded in graphic design.
“Something always goes wrong. It’s the precious nature of clay.”
RE: THE SERENDIPITY OF MAKING
I love spending time in the sketching phase because it allows me to test out ideas that have been floating around in my head. I tend to focus on shapes and play around with different combinations, keeping them as simple and straightforward as possible.
RE: THE FRAGILITY OF CLAY
Something always goes wrong. It’s the precious nature of clay. For someone who is as Type A as I am, it can be hard because I have to really trust the process. It’s been good for developing discipline.
RE: DESIGN HEROES
Dieter Rams left such an incredible mark on product design. I really aim to create simple, useful, sleek work and he succeeded beautifully in this realm.
RE: COLUMBUS, OHIO
I moved to Columbus in 2011. It’s a small big city. There are so many cool and interesting people to connect with here. I think that’s the reason I’ve stayed. It’s also an underrated nature hub, with a lot of hiking right outside of town.
I live in German Village. It’s a very cute place known for cobblestone streets and tightly packed homes. It’s also pretty central in the city: it’s within a few minutes of downtown, as well as the Short North Arts District, which makes everything feel easily accessible.
RE: OHIO CUISINE
I’ve never been to Swensons and I’ve only recently tried Skyline. I don’t quite understand the hype, but it seems really nostalgic for people who grew up here. I’m honestly more into the beer and coffee culture — I’ve met so many amazing people through it. I do love to cook at home mostly. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of Thai to stay warm in the winter. Night+Market’s cookbook is always open on my kitchen counter.
Lalese in her studio in Columbus, Ohio.
“Ceramics is a wonderful world of centuries-old craft that I still have a lot to learn about.”
RE: THE LONG MIDWESTERN TRADITION OF MAKING THINGS
It’s interesting to think of my work in this context, because I’ve always considered myself first and foremost an artist. I’ve worked across mediums, and even the mugs from the 100 Day Project were intended to function as art pieces, rather than functional wares. That’s the funny thing about the internet: people interpret what you do in unpredictable ways.
In any case, ceramics is a wonderful world of centuries-old craft that I still have a lot to learn about. I am inherently part of it now and I take that seriously. I’m honored to have my work known by many, and I intend on continuing to grow and expand into other materials when the time feels right.
RE: INDISPENSABLE TOOLS
I love my Chemex. It is such a beautiful design and it makes a wonderful cup of coffee. I love my Apple AirPods. It might sound silly, but I rely on them like no other – for instance, I’m always working with my hands, and so they come in super handy when I’m on the wheel and need to take a call. I even use them when I’m falling asleep. And my trusty drill always seems to get constant use in the studio and at home.
RE: BUSY BEES
I’m an introvert through-and-through and tend to like to work solo. These days, though, I have people who are always working with me. I’ve found that I have to be honest and communicate with my team about needing space to really focus. Still, my studio is a great co-working space and it makes me happy when it’s alive with busy bees.