Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Studio Visit: Ceramic Statement Lighting by Dumais Made

Search

Studio Visit: Ceramic Statement Lighting by Dumais Made

November 12, 2019

As the holidays approach, consider the power of a present: five years ago, interior designer Kevin Dumais surprised his then-boyfriend, Charlie, with a pottery class for Christmas. An architectural lighting designer who had once dabbled in wheel-thrown ceramics, Charlie loved stepping away from his computer and learning hand-building techniques. “I fell in love with slab construction,” he says, “you have to plan carefully ahead but improvise during execution.” Months into Charlie’s new hobby the two were browsing in an antiques shop when Kevin picked up a Japanese ceramic lamp and a lightbulb went off in his head. “You know you could make something like this,” he told Charlie. Charlie agree, and then got to work.

Kevin and Charlie have since married and bought a house in Litchfield, Connecticut, where they spend Fridays to Mondays. The rest of the week they’re in Manhattan, where Kevin runs his residential design firm, Dumais, and Charlie (who took Kevin’s last name) oversees the 24-person NYC office of Bold lighting design. In Connecticut, they have a new tandem venture, Dumais Made, a line of handmade stoneware table lamps that they describe as “the product of two perfectionists having fun.” Join us for a tour of their combination studio and showroom.

Photography by Joshu McHugh, courtesy of Dumais Made.

There new setup is  in a converted industrial building in Bantam, Connecticut, that was formerly a carriage shop and then a light switch factory.
Above: There new setup is  in a converted industrial building in Bantam, Connecticut, that was formerly a carriage shop and then a light switch factory.

After working for a few years out of a New York teaching studio, Charlie set up his first kiln in the couple’s Connecticut garage. Moving to the new studio enabled him to spread out and showcase his work. The bright L-shaped space is also big enough Kevin has his Connecticut office here. The two collaborate on lamp forms and custom glazes: “mostly very matte but we also do a shiny green so dark it’s almost black and another glaze that looks like wrought iron—all are food safe,” says Charlie.

Charlie begins by sketching designs and then cutting out templates.
Above: Charlie begins by sketching designs and then cutting out templates.
 Unglazed bases for the Bantam Lamp, $940. Charlie creates the textured surface using an antique rolling pin made for creating wafer cookies.
Above: Unglazed bases for the Bantam Lamp, $940. Charlie creates the textured surface using an antique rolling pin made for creating wafer cookies.

He sources his clay locally from Sheffield Clay in the Berkshires, and the lamp fittings come from a company in Hartford.

Th couple&#8
Above: Th couple’s first purchase for the studio was a slab roller. “Before, I rolled the clay by hand with a rolling pin and dowels,” explains Charlie, “this table was a game changer; it makes the work much easier and more consistent.” That’s his electric kiln in the corner.
A sampling of the Dumais Made lamp collection. Charlie says their inspiration comes from a range of design sources, especially Scandinavian midcentury ceramics: &#8
Above: A sampling of the Dumais Made lamp collection. Charlie says their inspiration comes from a range of design sources, especially Scandinavian midcentury ceramics: “I like simple forms that are volumetric.” They keep a small inventory on hand but most pieces are made to order and custom dimensions and glazes are an option.

Note the wall-mounted shelving: they used Rakks system standards and brackets; the shelves are wooden boards that they wrapped in canvas.

Charlie uses his templates to cut the clay into lamp sides, bases, and tops. The slabs are left to stiffen before they get scored and pieced together. After drying for a week, the corners and edges get trimmed and the holes for necks and cords are drilled. When fully dried, they&#8
Above: Charlie uses his templates to cut the clay into lamp sides, bases, and tops. The slabs are left to stiffen before they get scored and pieced together. After drying for a week, the corners and edges get trimmed and the holes for necks and cords are drilled. When fully dried, they’re put in the kiln for a bisque fire, then glazed and fired again.
The Truro Lamp,  $loading=
Above: The Truro Lamp,  $1,950, is a wabi-sabi interpretation of a Jean Michel Frank design. Its small companion is the Deetz Lamp, $775, and next to it is a limited-edition variation of the Deetz Lamp with a matte navy glaze, $775.
The studio opens into Kevin&#8
Above: The studio opens into Kevin’s showroom and office. The furniture is a mix of mostly vintage pieces he’s collected over the years, but he designed the credenzas for the space “to create a lamp display surface and give us some storage.” Based on a Charlotte Perriand design, the cabinets are white oak with doors of anodized aluminum, beige-green matte lacquer, and black milk paint.
Kevin works from a 60s French desk/dining table designed by Pierro Chapo. The pendant light with a paper shade and bronze frame is Kevin&#8
Above: Kevin works from a 1960s French desk/dining table designed by Pierro Chapo. The pendant light with a paper shade and bronze frame is Kevin’s own design—”I created the first for a client’s home office.” Dumais Made Candlesticks come in a range of shapes and glazes that are lined up on the back table. The linen curtain hides supplies, such as their lamp shade inventory.
The chrome and glass coffee table is a seventies design. It displays Dumais Made&#8
Above: The chrome and glass coffee table is a seventies design. It displays Dumais Made’s Slip Edge Bowls. The cylindrical lamp next to the sofa is the Studio Lamp, $2,800.
Charlie, Kevin, and their dog, Friday. The studio is open to the public and to the trade Fridays to Monday by appointment. Go to Dumais Made to see more.
Above: Charlie, Kevin, and their dog, Friday. The studio is open to the public and to the trade Fridays to Monday by appointment. Go to Dumais Made to see more.

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0