meet the makers | Apr 4, 2024 |
This ceramicist makes playful objects that you can actually use

Ethan Streicher
Ethan StreicherHarlie Brindak

Ethan Streicher takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to design. The Brooklyn-based maker infuses character and levity into his ceramic creations in an effort to elevate everyday life. “My mission is to enhance the human experience through artful design,” he tells Business of Home. “I want to blur the lines between art and functionality.”

Born in Berkeley, California, and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Streicher was heavily influenced by his parents’ love for fine art and midcentury aesthetics. In college, he studied graphic design at Appalachian State University before embarking on a decadelong career in New York as a graphic designer working for various startup companies, creative agencies and boutique branding studios. “I wanted to go to school for illustration and painting, but I was a bit scared of what the world would look like after graduation,” says Streicher. “Graphic design allowed me to use the skills I'd been honing since I was a kid—including drawing on tablecloths at restaurants with crayons—and have a bit more job security.”

Whoop-Ass Can lamp by Streicher Goods
Whoop-Ass Can lamp by Streicher GoodsCourtesy of Streicher Goods

However, everything changed when friend and fellow artist Nicole Brunner of Wild Bower introduced Streicher to ceramics. “She invited me to come play with some clay, and from that day on I was in the studio three to four times a week,” he says. “I got so into it right off the bat—I was pulling long days, working a full-time job and then going straight to the studio until midnight.”

Eventually, Streicher’s passion for pottery surpassed his desire for a stable gig, and in 2020, he launched Streicher Goods with a selection of idiosyncratic handmade objects, including a wavy vase and a checkered lamp. Three years later, he released Seeing Red, his first cohesive lighting collection, which features nine geometric table lamps crafted from terra-cotta clay. “I hand-sculpted the bases for each lamp, then used renders to create 3D-printed shades for some, and found objects—such as cut-up ping-pong balls that act as diffusers—for others.”

The Gradient table lamp in Horizon from Steicher Goods
The Gradient table lamp in Horizon Courtesy of Streicher Goods

Streicher Goods now offers an array of delightful lighting and decor pieces—all hand-forged from clay and informed by Streicher’s graphic design experience—ranging from the pendulum-powered, human-shaped Grandfather Clock to the hand-painted, sardine can–inspired Whoop-Ass Can lamp. “Form is the driving force for me, and function comes later,” he explains. “Every idea I have starts off as a silhouette, then I figure out what components need to be added to make it practical—sort of like backward engineering.”

His latest launch, the Spectrum series, spans three mushroomlike table lamps spray gun–glazed in gradient hues that draw from the sky. “Tucked inside the shade of each lamp is an LED rope that goes around the circumference to create a beam of light when you look up underneath,” he says.

Currently hard at work on a new line of bronze-finished light fixtures slated to be released later this spring, Streicher hopes to expand into ceramic furniture someday. “If you’d told me 10 years ago I’d be a ceramicist with a homewares company, I probably wouldn’t have believed you,” he says. “I first started making things for myself, and through that process felt a connection to everyday objects that I want to continue to share with others.”

If you want to learn more about Ethan Streicher, visit his website or Instagram.

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