American potter Frances Palmer is known for her irreverently shaped ceramics, which nod to classic styles and then throw them a curve. Her handcrafted wares — dinner services, footed urns, pitchers, vases and platters — are elegantly designed with details that express the hand of the artist.
Frances has had a lifelong passion for the arts. She earned her BA at Barnard and MA at Columbia University, both in Art History, and as a self taught potter, the long history of ceramics is continually referenced in her work. For the new Cirrus Collection, she looks to the turn-of-the-20th century Bloomsbury-based Omega Workshop, the artists’ collective making useful objects in defiance of the Industrial Revolution. Other influences on her design approach include the timeless proportions of ancient Greek and Roman vessels, the simplicity of the 19th century English cream ware, Song dynasty ceramics and the dramatic sculptures of Alberto Giacometti.
Frances loves how the hand-thrown process leaves a certain aspect of the outcome to fate. She revels in this serendipity, and is fond of saying that the clay “has as much to say about itself as I do”. She embraces the randomness of the transformation in the firing process. “As it dries, it moves. And when it is fired two or three times, it also changes. The best part is seeing what emerges after the kiln is opened.” Frances threw the forms for the Cirrus Collection in her CT studio and then 1882 LTD. made moulds of the originals to preserve their hand made quality.
Her designs have been featured in numerous magazines, such as House & Garden, World of Interiors, Vogue, Elle Décor and Martha Stewart Living. She has been asked to create special collections for the new Fotografiska Museum, Neue Galerie Museum, the Philip Johnson Glass House, the Aldrich Museum, the Garden Conservancy and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She is currently a member of the Friends of Horticulture at Wave Hill and a gardening teacher at the New York Botanical Garden.