maker stories: clam lab

Hi everyone! Stacy from LEIF here. I was so excited when Grace invited me to be a part of Design*Sponge. After some brainstorming, we decided I would work on a new column called ‘Maker Stories’, focusing on some of the best and brightest handmade products and the great minds behind them. I’m always on the hunt for unique new items for the shop, so I hope you’ll be just as excited about this as I am! First up is fellow Brooklynite Clair Catillaz and her stunning ceramics, better known as CLAM LAB.

I discovered CLAM LAB a few years back, and owner Clair Catillaz’s balloon-like shapes and simple palette have stuck with me ever since. Every piece she creates would feel equally at home in both a rustic cabin and a modern, minimal loft. I purchased two of her tea bowls over the summer, and I’ve used them nearly every day for iced jasmine tea — I could swear it makes the tea taste better. Click here to shop her beautiful collection (I think I need that stoneware coffee mug) and read on for a glimpse into her everyday life. — Stacy

The full interview continues after the jump!…

How did the name CLAM LAB come about?

I was hesitant to use my own name when I launched my first collection. I wanted something I could abandon if I decided to change direction.

Where in Brooklyn do you live, and what’s your favorite spot there?

I live and work in a loft space in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I take most of my breaks on the roof; there’s a spectacular view, and it’s a great spot for parties.

The interview continues after the jump . . .

What’s your favorite type of clay to work with?

Clay offers an incredible range of color and texture, and I haven’t explored a fraction of what’s available. Right now I’m working with four different clay bodies, which is impractical but really fun. I’m also just beginning to play with casting slips. The best is yet to come.

The colors you work with are rather minimal. Any insight into that?

I’m definitely more interested in form and finish than surface decoration, especially due to the type of firing I’m doing.

As I learn more about glaze chemistry, I’ll continue to expand my spectrum of neutrals and whites, and add some subtle tints as I go. White always looks good on the table.

What’s your go-to drink or snack while working?

An abandoned cup of coffee.

What long-term goal do you daydream about?

The California Years. I keep telling myself that I won’t stay in Brooklyn forever, but I can’t seem to get away . . .

If you could speak any language, what would it be?

If it’s a free pass, I guess Japanese. They make the best food and ceramics.

What recipe/dish do you find yourself making again and again?

Lately it seems like I just eat a continuous salad. I’m trying to enjoy the last days of tomatoes.

Do you collect anything?

Right now I’m in a purging stage, trying to simplify to just tools and plants. But I have a lot of tools.

What’s your go-to plant of choice?

Lately, anything with purple foliage. I have a good herb selection on the roof, but otherwise I’m limited to what can stay alive indoors.

What’s the last book you read and liked?

Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver


This column will be wonderful! I hope we can see more Q&A about the actual creative and fabrication processes though… get-to-know you questions are fun, but the column IS titled “Maker Stories.” Just a thought!


i love this idea for a series! Clair’s work is beautiful, I drink out of my clam lab mugs all the time. I look forward to adding to my collection.


I’ll read this serious without fail. I love this story! She dreams of CA while I dream of Brooklyn, from Memphis, TN.


i think i agree with abby! my husband is just getting into ceramics, and i think a little more info about her process would be cool!