Meet The Maker
KATI VON LEHMAN
From carafes and pour-over funnels to vases and planters, the decidedly practical nature of artisan Kati von Lehman‘s work has garnered her a dedicated following. From her start on the stock list at Portland’s Spartan Shop, her pieces have spread to boutiques throughout the country and overseas. Here, the artisan gives us a peek into what makes clay special and why efficiency and function are major drivers of her growing ceramic collection.
How did you get your start?
It all began about 5 years ago when I moved to Portland from Seattle, where I was studying interior design. The program I was in was not taking me in the direction I wanted, so I left after a year. I realized that it’s more interesting to me to design and make functional art objects than it is to decorate.
What makes clay a special medium?
I want to be able to see the raw clay and imperfection in the surface. I like to see how the piece is made. The immediacy and accessibility of ceramics are such that I could continue making objects while at home with my young daughter.
Personal design ethos:
All my designs come out of a need. I believe in the principle that form follows function. I very rarely make something that is purely decorative or conceptual.
Inspiration of the moment.
Right now, the More Clay Less Plastic movement energizes me. I have been designing and making items that can replace traditional plastic tools in a kitchen, such as storage containers that nest and stack, colanders, butter dishes and compost bins. The pieces take simple forms in subtle colors so they complement any kitchen.