For four decades, designers and decorators have sought out Roy Hamilton’s studios in search of one-of-a-kind yet timeless ceramics. Having originally moved to New York City from London to run the American offices of Liberty of London, he signed up for pottery classes at the midtown YMCA. Soon he had set up a weekend potting studio in the garage of his house in East Hampton.
”At first, it was a hobby,” he recalls. “I could just play and experiment.” Soon, however, visiting designer friends were snapping up his creations for their clients. After a sold-out show at the Elaine Benson Gallery in Bridgehampton, Hamilton’s hobby became a career and his unique pieces began showing up in chic interiors across the country.
Hamilton works with colored slips, a watered-down form of clay tinted with mineral oxides, to create his signature pale-hued palette. To apply his soft-edged geometric patterns, Hamilton uses slip-trailing, a technique in which the slip is piped on to the vessel from a small rubber syringe.
Hamilton has been honored by the Rhode Island School of Design and has also spent ten years as home furnishings Design Consultant to Marks and Spencer in the U.K.
Aided by Brad Parsons, Hamilton works out of his studio in Brooklyn to painstakingly hand-craft his vases and lamp bases, large scale bowls, display chargers and cachepots.
“We are very much limited in what we can produce each week”, says Hamilton “Sometimes six pieces, sometimes ten”.
But no matter the number, each is a unique piece of craftsmanship.
In a NEW YORK TIMES article from 1988 Albert Hadley commented: “In ceramics, the work of Roy Hamilton is certainly expressive of our time, with clean, imaginative shapes and interesting finishes. These objects reflect an appreciation and understanding of quality crafted objects. The classic, quiet things will endure.”