- I can’t explain how excited I was when I first realized that the lady behind “Romi Ceramics” is actually Romi Hefetz, a native Israeli, who now lives in Long Island City, New York.
Romi’s ceramics have a certain flow to them. It feels like a magic hand danced it’s way to create a smooth vase… And these bold colors… I just love them!
So… there is no other way than to have Romi as my next One On One Break.
BTW, her Etsy Shop is just a click away.
I’d love to hear about you, your journey, how it all began.
While studying Product Design at Parson School of Design, I took a ceramics class with Marek Cecula, who was one of the most inspirational teachers I’ve had. I ended up taking this class again and again. After working as a product designer for about a year and a half, I realized how much I miss working with my hands. I started by renting a space at a communal ceramic studio, and working in the evening and over the weekend. A couple of years later I decided to do it full time. What has always attracted me in the slip casting process is that it encompasses both the hands-on craftsmanship quality as well as the production line aspect, which requires thinking of how to reproduce each piece, and adds another challenging tier to the design process.
Can you describe your work process for me?
I usually start by deciding which kind of product I want to make, and continue with free sketching whatever comes to my mind. When I’m happy with one of the ideas, I usually elaborate on it a bit further, to make sure I arrive at a shape that is both visually pleasing and can be produced. Then comes the production stage, in which I figure out the best way to make the model and which materials would be used for it. And then, making the mold and start casting…
Which materials do you work with?
I work with porcelain slip, which I sometimes mix with different stains. I like the bone-like matte finish of the porcelain itself, so I usually don’t glaze the external surface of my pieces in order to preserve the quality of the bare porcelain. All of my pieces are glazed on the inside though. And I also use plaster to make the molds. Other than that I use various materials to create the original models from which I make the mold. These can include paper, plaster, clay, plastic etc.
What is the most unusual piece you have ever designed?
It was a project I called Puccino that I worked on at Parsons. It was a coffee set in which all the pieces had a double wall. The idea was to eliminate the handles, while still being able to hold the cups, when filled with hot liquid. The molds for this design were very complicated to make, as well as casting the actual pieces.
What’s next? What is your dream?
I would love to expend my business without loosing the “hand-made by me” aspect of it. I have more ideas that I would like to explore and produce, and it would be great to have a business that is big enough to allow keeping a steady production line, while introducing new products every season.
I’m curious to know where does your inspiration come from?
This is a very difficult question to answer, I think. It is impossible for me to separate between which is a source of inspiration and which is not. My inspiration can derive from seeing an exhibition, from watching a great film, from having a conversation with someone smart, from cooking a delightful dish, from just taking a walk or going camping, or from any other daily activity. It is really about being receptive at a certain moment, in my opinion.
Can you tell me which designers inspire you?
In no particular order: Gio Ponti, Joe Colombo, Isamu Noguchi, Ingo Maurer, Josef Hoffmann, Picasso, Alexander Calder, Castiglioni, etc etc…
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
I can’t think of one piece of advice that has changed my life. As long as I meet interesting smart people along the way, read good books and just absorb the world around me as much as I can, I’m bound to be given many many good advices.
If you had an extra hour each day what would you do with it?
I wish I could have an extra hour every day! I would probably use it differently every time. One day I would take advantage of it to accomplish some studio tasks that I never get the time to do, another day I would just read a good book and relax and on another I would probably go to see an art show…