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Behind The Scenes

Walk to Work with the Man Behind Workaday Handmade

When Workaday Handmade’s Forrest Lewinger needs inspiration, he forgoes traditional transportation and hoofs it across Brooklyn, from his Williamsburg home and his Bed-Stuy studio—a 30-minute stroll that always sparks something for the ceramicist. Here’s what he passes on his path from Leonard to Powers to Lorimer to Flushing. —jackie varriano “Gimme is the first place I stop in the morning—for a cappuccino. Great coffee!” “You will see a lot of these little vitrines and alters with saints or the Virgin Mary inside of them. I really love how outwardly decorative they can be around here. It’s not about taste or style but more about tradition and family.” “When I am walking around the city, I’m looking for unexpected color combinations and patterns that may find their way into my work. There are a few patterns on my pots that have come directly from something I saw while walking around.” “Going under the tracks at Lorimer and Broadway represents a big shift in not only cultural and religious communities but architecture as well. My studio is right in the middle of the largest Hasidic Jewish community in the world. It is a very autonomous community, with shops and places of gathering and worship. I love watching how the people connect to the city that surrounds them. ” “Sometimes you really feel transported to another place and time in this area. I imagine that I could have seen the same scene 100 years ago.” “When you walk through the ‘hood, you can really get lost in the details and juxtapositions of everyday objects and words and activity. It’s a mess—and that’s what I love about it and where I find inspiration. I look for the handmade wherever I can. Having something handmade, whether it’s a pot, some food, or a sign, gives the thing character even if it’s almost perfect.” Forrest made the prettiest darn tumblers for your home—get the set now.
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Throw a Bowl with Workaday Handmade

You know what’s magical about hand-thrown clay wares? It’s impossible to make pieces that are exactly the same. Just ask Forrest Lewinger of Workaday Handmade: He looks at each one of the 200 tumblers he created for Of a Kind as an individual, saying, “It’s interesting to look back and see how different they all are. They each have their own personality.” Get a peek into his process as he turns a blob into a bowl. —jackie varriano “First you need to wedge your clay to get all the air bubbles out. Wedging is a lot like kneading dough.” “Then you want to shape it into a ball, like so!” “Next, when the wheel is still, you want to slam your clay down on to the wheel so it’s stuck and won’t slide off the wheel head. This is where throwing gets its name.” “Now the trickiest part: centering. In order to have control over your ball of clay, you need to compress it so that it is spinning smoothly on the wheel’s axis. This is the one that takes the most practice. Once you get centering, everything else gets a lot easier.” “Throwing is a combination of applying firmness and strength and being guided by the movement of the clay. Once it’s centered, with your elbows anchored on your hips, push your thumbs into the middle of the centered clay, and try to keep it from wobbling.” “For bowls, you want to widen the hole in the clay you just made with you thumbs by slowly pulling it outward.” “Now for the fun! By compressing the clay between your left and right hands, slowly guide the clay upward. You want to keep one arm anchored into your body to keep everything steady.” “Once you’ve gotten a shape you like, you need to let it dry for the trimming process.” “Once the bowl is dry enough to hold its own shape, you put it back on the wheel to trim. Trimming is about finessing the shape. I’ve been liking clean, simple shapes lately.” “Trimming is also about making a foot. And making your mark.” “Bam!” See what else Forrest can make out of clay—like this rad tumbler set. 
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