Adam Silverman’s first love was always ceramics — but it took him a while to perpetrate. While ceramics was his first major at the Rhode Island School of Design, he immediately shifted to design after a brief session because of nagging fears that he wouldn’t have the ability to support himself . But Silverman still took ceramics classes for pleasure, and also the voice in his mind telling him to chase pottery never really closed up.
After some significant life changes — including a transfer to Los Angeles — Silverman reevaluated his career in design and did a summer program in ceramics to find out once and for all if he is a fulltime potter. “At the end of the summerI made the choice to go for it,” says Silverman. “It has been the best 10 decades of my life.”
Currently the Los Angeles studio manager of Heath Ceramics, Silverman took time away from preparing the studio’s most current exhibit to discuss his love of pottery and Heath’s new show, and also to discuss some of his stunning personal work.
In 2002, soon after moving to Los Angeles, Silverman shifted to becoming a full-time expert potter. In 2008, he became a studio manager at the Los Angeles studio of Heath Ceramics — a 64-year-old ceramics company based in Sausalito, California.
Now, Silverman curates exhibits and collections to the showroom, and continues to make his own pieces for his lineup, Atwater Pottery.
Some of his personal work is emphasized here.
1. What was the first piece you ever made?
I don’t remember the very first piece I ever made — it was once I was in junior high school at camp. But I do still have the very first piece I made in glassblowing at camp. It looks — sadly? — very similar to some of those pots I make today, 35 decades later.
2. Which professionals in your business do you admire most?
Living folks: Hussein Chalayan, Piet Oudolf, Glenn Murcutt and Far More. The listing of the deceased is even longer: Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, Merce Cunningham, Peter Voulkos, Louise Bourgeoiis, Louise Nevelson, Rudolf Schindler, Frances Bacon, Alice Neel… the list goes on and on.
3. The main thing on your workplace is…
Pencil and paper.
4. Where do you go for inspiration?
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The beach in Rhode Island. To bed.
5. What’s your favorite article of furniture or accessory in your house?
My desk, which is the best desk ever designed. It is a mid-’50s George Nelson.
After becoming the Los Angeles manager for Heath, Silverman put together collaborative artwork shows there. The studio now puts on four shows annually, highlighting artists that are found in an assortment of ways. Sometimes the job has a look that’s similar to Heath — however frequently it does not. “It is similar to the job shares the exact same DNA,” says Silverman. “If you like it, you’ll probably like Heath.”
Among the Los Angeles studio’s first shows was with Western potter Akio Nukaga, who will also be showcased at the new San Francisco showroom in July 2012. Silverman first struck Nukaga’s job on a 2006 trip to Japan and was instantly struck by the rare combination of raw material and refined technique — as seen in this teapot.
Watch more details on”New work” by Akio Nukaga at Heath Ceramics
Portrait: Katrina Dickson; pottery photos: Roger Lee; teapot photo: Akio Nukaga