ginny branch stellinginterviewswhat's in your toolbox

what’s in your toolbox: adam silverman

by Ginny


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!

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