I’ve always had an interest in objects of use. Whether they leaned towards modernism and design (Eames chairs), or craft material and process (Natzler ceramics) I see how they enrich the lives of both the maker and user. After finishing graduate school at Rhode Island School of Design, fellow classmate Gibb Brownlie and I started Butter+Toast Ceramics in 1986. Our artisan based company produced expressive slip-cast tableware and home accessories that was once described as cross between the work of Antonio Gaudi and Dr. Seuss.
In 1992, we interpreted those designs into lighting and introducing other materials such as wood, metal and resin. The lamp shades were hand-painted in great detail or laminated in silk. Altamira Lighting was a large operation and closed a few years ago. I am now producing variations of those pieces as well as developing new designs.
Another aspect of design and making is that after thirty years I continue to teach at RISD in Production Ceramics through the Industrial Design department, as well as Spatial Dynamics in Experimental and Foundation Studies. It’s a great joy to be working with these students.
Michael R. Lamar