The Live/Work Studio of Robert Siegel Handmade Ceramics

Workspace Tour

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Name: Robert Siegel Handmade Ceramics
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, California
Size: 2,000 square feet
Years in business: almost 3 years

Ceramic artist Robert Siegel's name kept coming up on blogs, with everyone raving about his handmade designs. I was curious to take a peek inside his studio and see his work process, and then I found out that he actually lives in the studio as well! 

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Robert gave a quick demonstration about what makes a truly handmade ceramic. He still sits at the wheel throwing clay to make his collection and experiment with new designs. He also personally sprays the glaze on each piece. There aren't any assembly lines or machines to do his handmade work. His process is such a lost art because of the time it takes to make each ceramic, but his passion for the art keeps him working long hours every day to fulfill orders. 

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I would say my style is minimal Mid-Century modern, and I love color!   I don't need too much stuff, and try to keep my space as uncluttered as possible.

Inspiration: I am inspired by people who do what they are passionate about, so I wanted to create a space that enabled me to do exactly that, make handmade porcelain.

Favorite Element: The kiln elements (clay joke). Until recently it was the roof, but sadly we are no longer able to get onto it. So I have to say that my favorite elements are the high ceilings and exposed brick, steel and wood.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge for creating this space was laying it out so I had a studio that was easy to clean and maintain, but could also produce enough volume to fill all of our orders, and have a place to keep completely separate and clean enough to live in. As a ceramic artist, it has been incredibly difficult to find a place where I can truly work and live. When I came to Los Angeles from Philadelphia, I knew that this would give me my first opportunity to really build my own studio pretty much from scratch. It has been difficult, but I think we are getting close to the best use of the space.

What Friends Say: My friends call this place "hipster Disneyland." I think it's kind of funny. I guess there aren't that many people making truly handmade porcelain these days. All of my assistants are young and energetic, and we do have bicycles hanging from the ceiling and host an outdoor movie night and bbq every few weeks, but so far no mustaches to speak of, although I have certainly tried. 

I think my friends like that this is a place of creativity, using antiquated technology making a real product, one that is totally unique and handmade. We are so passionate about what we do and put so much time into crafting everything that we make — people feel that passion and want to be a part of this energy and the creative environment that we have built.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our signed Menudo Record, saved from the dumpster

Proudest DIY: Pretty much everything we do is DIY. The space has been changing roughly once a month since I moved. We are always putting up and taking down walls; now everything is on wheels.

Biggest Indulgence: The biggest indulgence is simply having found the right space to build my first live/work studio. Having a true live/work space has enabled me a  certain freedom to create and explore new ideas and projects constantly.

Best Advice: "Do what you love, work really hard and success will come." Best advice I have received and can give. My father told me that.

Dream Sources: There is a store down the street from me called Olde Good Things. They have so much cool stuff that you just can't find anywhere else.‎ Also ABC Carpet & Home in NYC. 

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Resources of Note:

HARDWARE

FURNITURE

ACCESSORIES

  • Tana Hamilton - sculpture
  • Flea Markets
  • Travels
  • Picking through the family storage unit
  • Craigslist
  • Trade with friends and artists

LIGHTING

  • Ikea
  • In-house made lighting
  • Tanner Trowbridge

RUGS & CARPETS

  • Ikea
  • It's really hard for us to have carpeting because it gets so dusty so fast

ARTWORK

  • Adam Youngbluth - tea pot
  • Daniel Bellows - whiskey jug
  • Travis Heck - painter
  • Esther Siegel (grandmother) - sculpture
  • Robert Siegel - experimental pieces and seconds

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Thanks, Robert!

(Images: Marcia Prentice)

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