After finishing graduate school at Rhode Island School of Design, a 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 started a new business, Altamira Lighting - and introduced 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 newer designs.
Throughout these 30 years of designing tableware and lighting, I continue to teach
at RISD a class 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