Brutalist Ceramics Inspired By the Pacific Northwest’s Most Famous Volcanic Explosion

LGS Studio, a ceramics brand founded by Thomas Renaud and Noel Hennessy, is currently based out of Los Angeles. But the company actually got its start a few years back in a garage in Portland, Oregon, where the founders were living at the time. Which is what makes their latest collection all the more personal — called Tephra, it’s inspired by growing up in the Pacific Northwest in the aftermath of the 1980 Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption. Tephra, they explain, is “a vesicular volcanic rock that’s created during an eruption and blankets the landscape. Life on the West Coast is peppered with physical reminders of the dynamic world that is bubbling just under the surface. Ancient mountains carved by glaciers, lava flows frozen in time, earthquakes and living volcanoes are all part of day-to-day life.” The pieces in the collection, which includes everything from mirrors to small tumblers, boast forms inspired by the ceramics of the 1960s, and their Brutalist vibe has echoes of artists like Stan Bitters as well. To create the rough-hewn texture, each piece is wheel thrown and carved by hand then layered with multiple stains and glazes. “The result is a body of unique objects just as you would find in nature, no two exactly alike,” they say.