Kevin Seitz

American Made Since 2010
2014 Crafts Finalist

Kevin Seitz

Brooklyn, New York
My latest work is a functional handcrafted heirloom tea set that nuances heritage and traditions of Swiss folk ceramics and Chinese tea customs.
Crafts, Ceramics, Pottery & Glass

Tell us about your business.

Having my own business is something I have always been interested in. Whatever I did—whether it be an internship or project—I always found small companies to be the most rewarding and educational. I have spoken to those who work for themselves and those who work for others. From their answers, I have learned that there is never really a good time to make the plunge into being your own boss. My process starts by observing the gestures and interactions between people and objects. I then explore the background of these objects. It answers the most important question for me: why? What are the conditions and techniques that go into creating an object? With that understanding, I begin the traditional design process by sketching, model making and producing. I ultimately envision myself continuing to design while questioning notions and understanding of the everyday object and the way we use them. It should become an heirloom piece that becomes an integral part of someone’s daily life.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

My current studio is also my home. While it is comforting, limited space hinders my materials and abilities to create larger prototypes. Recently I have been enrolling in classes to learn new techniques while also taking advantage of open studio space and storage. I am, however, looking into possible spaces that would be suitable to further experiment, design and develop new concepts.

What inspires you?

My main source of inspiration derives from the many places I have traveled to. Whether it’s the process of making an object—a technique, practice or intention—the many perspectives I encounter inspire me to incorporate concepts from distinctive cultures into my own work. These different viewpoints can transform our understanding of everyday objects.

What makes your business stand out?

Developing a framework in other interests outside of industrial design has allowed me to expand my breadth of creativity. Due to my transdisciplinary approach to design, I enjoy finding new ways to incorporate ideas that are traditionally used in other fields. The objects I design reflect my background and interest in craftsmanship—seeking to renew interest and commitment in heirloom objects by playing on traditional techniques and forms.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

An idea is just an idea until you bring it to life. It’s easy to look at established designers and wonder how they have become so successful. These designers are just like anyone else—they start out with an idea and run with it. Sure, it may not be perfect and it probably won’t be easy, but until you follow your instincts and take risks you’ll never cross the finish line. Starting and working on your own idea is always the most difficult journey and yet also the most rewarding. Do not be afraid to ask for help from your peers—everyone has an interesting point of view. If anything, it can help spark a new idea to push your concept along. Remember, it’s all part of the process. And, without a process your end result means nothing.

What does American Made mean to you?

American made means celebrating and creating goods that can be designed, developed and produced locally. These hand made products honor generations of makers and nod to the way goods were made before mass production was introduced. They are not perfect but expose the skills and expertise of the craftsman. It makes the everyday object special—a bond between man and object—a story and significance to an item we would otherwise overlook.

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