Earlier this month we had the pleasure of stopping by the New York Stoneware studio to talk to ceramicist William Reardon. Born and raised in New York City, William studied architecture and ceramics at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago and while attending, studied wheel throwing under Charlie Jahn and worked for Chicago ceramicist Bryan Kerrigan. Now working in his own NYC studio, William designs, throws, trims, glazes and fires simple, elegant pieces for the home that he hopes are as precious as they are utilitarian.
Your pieces are classic and elegant in their aesthetic, but also very utilitarian – what qualities are most important to you as you define your collection?
I am just trying to create something that is timeless and I think that lies somewhere between utility and elegance.
Where do you draw your inspiration and influence?
My influences come from all over the globe and throughout history. That’s one of the great things about being a potter – you’ve got thousands of years of history to draw on for inspiration. Almost all settled civilizations have a ceramic tradition of some kind. I feel right at home picking and choosing from all of it.
Your color palette is so beautiful – how do you develop the colors you work with?
Like the forms I design I simply take inspiration from tradition and bring them into my own corner
What is the most gratifying part of working with your hands?
Being able to show what you have done. It’s basic but it’s true. There is something very satisfying about personally producing something with your own effort – like any other achievement. There’s probably something narcissistic about it too.
We love how straight forward your studio name is, how did you decide on it?
Pottery, for good reason, is associated with the country but I’m a New Yorker by birth so I was always trying to reconcile these two ideas. This is basically my “problem” that I am always trying to “solve” when I design pieces on the wheel. The name is a simple expression of this concept.
A guitarist, playing in a Chicago indie band, working in recording studios and in sound – how does your background in music affect your work?
I’m not sure but I feel like every potter I know is either a musician or an extremely passionate music fan. My first pottery teacher was also my first guitar teacher. There is something rhythmic about the process I suppose.
What are you looking forward to this summer?
I’ve got a ton of new ideas for forms and new glazes that I think I’ll finally have a little bit of time to explore. This should yield some exciting new pieces that I’ll be able to offer to my customers.