what’s in your toolbox: adam silverman

Photo Credit: Wyatt Troll

Adam Silverman is a clay-throwin’ madcap potter with serious creative street cred. He transitioned from architecture to co-founding fashion labels X-Girl and X-Large and currently is thriving at Heath Ceramics. At Heath, Adam helped forge their LA store and currently operates out of a studio within the store where he develops a line of strikingly textured pottery under the label Atwater Pottery. His bold and fearless vessels marry his dedication to artistic research with his experiences living abroad in places like Spain and Japan.

1. Design*Sponge: What is in your toolbox?

Adam Silverman: The two tools that I can’t live without are, #1 clay. It can be any clay, but without clay, I’m out of business. #2 is a potter’s wheel. I have three wheels, but my preferred wheel to throw on is oldest, a Brent CXC, one that I traded for an Eames office chair in the mid 90s, so it was already a few years old, and since having it, I have thrown thousands of pots on it. I have grown up as a potter on this wheel. It has served me without judgment in garages, basements and nice studios alike. On it I have made a bunch of crappy pots and a few decent ones, but the wheel doesn’t care; it just spins quietly and smoothly and strongly. That was a very good trade I made.

2. Fill in the blank, “When I am in my studio, I feel _______.”

CLICK HERE for the full interview with Adam after the jump!

Photo via Cool Hunting

3. What are on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now?

Adam Silverman: I have been spending a lot of time studying Louis Kahn this year. His writings, drawings and buildings. Le Corbusier is a constant source of inspiration. His sculpture, paintings and buildings. I’m looking closer at Richard Serra than ever before and also revisiting Ando’s old houses and churches, which never stop inspiring.

4. How do you keep yourself organized? Do you have an agenda book and do you make “to-do lists?”

Adam Silverman: I use the nerd system . . . a note pad and pen are always in my shirt pocket, and I work a very regular schedule, Monday–Friday, 9–5, like a banker, unless there is something special that I need to push harder for. Then the hours can be longer. There is no shortcut to logging the hours and making work.

5. If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be and why?

Adam Silverman: I would have two of me: one to work, and the other to hang out with my family.

6. What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young artist/designer?

Adam Silverman: I’m still waiting for the best piece of advice.

My advice would be keep your overheard as low as possible and work as hard as possible.

7. How do you combat creative blocks?

Adam Silverman: I haven’t had a creative block yet; my problem is the opposite — I never have enough time to work on all of the projects that I want to because I have a wife I like to be with and four little kids who I also like (most of the time). I have a very full life outside of the studio, which provides me with plenty of time for inspiration, but less time for making work than I had when I was single with no kids.

8. Where do you like to shop for inspiration?

Adam Silverman: I spend a lot of time at LACMA. There is an endless source of inspiration in the galleries, and there is an amazing bookstore called Art Catalogs where I can spend hours.

9. If you could peek inside the studio/toolbox of any designer/artist/craftsperson, whose would it be, and why?

Adam Silverman: Le Corbusier. I would love to see how he worked, how he painted and sculpted in the morning then ran his architecture practice the rest of the time. I’d also love to watch Hans Coper work. Unfortunately, they are both dead.

10. If you could make a master mix-tape of music that is inspiring you at the moment, what would it include?

Adam Silverman: It would be a mix of Bach, Bowie and Beck!

  1. Always fun to sneak behind the curtains of a ceramic artist. For those that share our obsession for ceramics, see our pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/dolangeiman/ceramic-obsession/

  2. Ben Gebo says:

    I love that black and white photo of Adam. Great post!

  3. susan says:

    wonderful interview – great artist!

  4. I love the “whats in your toolbox”

    I remember taking pottery in like high school. really fun and enjoyable.

  5. Lizet says:

    Love it! Now I don’t feel so bad about my muddy studio that I never clean and we have the same toolbox. Love the texture on the pots!

  6. chantal says:

    Wow! Loving the textured pottery. He is one talented man!

  7. Naomi says:

    This is a wonderful interview – I love Adam Silverman’s pottery – like treasures from inside a volcano!

  8. Swilly says:

    Love the answer, “HONEST”. Couldn’t say it any better!

  9. Sheena says:

    great artist what skill, I love them

  10. Alicia says:

    Great post.

  11. Shannon says:

    These posts are so inspiring. I love seeing peoples’ work spaces, just to see where they get their hands dirty. Also, really nice photography on all of these!

  12. Karen E says:

    Lovely interview.

  13. What a great interview!! I love Heath Ceramics, and Adam’s personal line is even more fabulous! As the parent to 2 kids, I can only imagine how difficult it must be for him to balance work and home life. Thanks for this great series.

  14. Crissa says:

    I always loved ceramics in HS & in college…wish I would have been supported in my love for it. I still have hope one day when my kids are all in school that I can take it up again. Love to see the beauty of creating something out of a clump of clay :)

  15. Margaret says:

    This one was very insightful. Thank you, D*S!

  16. Another wonderful potter for my ever growing list. Thanks for a great post!

  17. Blake Eames says:

    I love it when you post about artists!

  18. caroline says:

    great post, great advice to young artists (low overhead is key) amazing work!

  19. I treasure my original Adam Silverman pot (sky blue and textured, low and round).

  20. Monica Fernandez says:

    adam sounds true, lovely interview


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.