Effortlessly cool ceramics brand, T O O O L S was born and raised in LA by Caroline Hwang and Joel Speasmaker, two veterans of the contemporary art and design community (as if that wasn’t obvious by looks alone). More than just another pretty place to put your Greek yogurt and grain-free granola, a bowl by TOOOLS is art, yet made to be enjoyed in daily use. They call it “holistic utilitarianism.” We call it ideal.
We jumped from crush-status to full-on affair when TOOOLS partnered with another fave, NYC’s natural beauty hub, CAP Beauty, to create a set of gorgoues stoneware bowls that can be stacked up as a sculptural object or deconstructed to serve with.
Before you get lost dreaming about all the fermented sides you plan on filling your bowls with, get to know the creative minds behind the brand with out ‘In The Studio’ feature…
My favorite current project is:
Caroline: Our new line of dog beds (although cats love them too!) in what we call the “Pinky Series” — named after our dog of 17 years who passed in 2015.
Joel: Excited about the dog beds also! And a personal project relating to punk music that I can’t quite reveal yet.
Favorite object in the studio:
Caroline: I don’t think I have one.
Joel: Too many to list, but right now I’ll choose a 2018 Yearlong Lunar Wall Calendar by Benjamin Critton.
Caroline: Calder and Memphis Design Group, always and forever.
Soundtrack in the studio:
Caroline: Currently, Khalid or a daily list of podcasts.
Joel: Citizen, Turnstile, Big Thief, Japanese Breakfast, Open City, The Casket Lottery.
Most common visitors to the studio:
Caroline: Our dog, Zelda! She likes to sleep near me while I throw, or sometimes she’ll chase squirrels and dig holes nearby. She’s your stereotypical dog.
Joel: Brian Guido, friend and photographer!
Favorite spots in the neighborhood:
Collage Coffee, a cute little coffee shop with the best coffee and staff. They make a killer chia pudding and turmeric latte.
Other artists inspiring me right now:
We recently went on a trip to Portland and found a beautifully curated store called Lowell. There we discovered two amazing artists, Morgan Speck and Robbie Frankel.
When I’m not in the studio I am here:
Caroline: Usually working my full time job. Joel works as a graphic designer and I work as a food stylist. My free time is usually taken up by TOOOLS — throwing ceramics is my zen.
My art supply obsession:
Pencil and paper!
Favorite galleries / museums in the city:
LACMA, Hauser & Wirth.
Organizational item I can’t live without:
Caroline: My notepad with my daily list of “to-dos.”
Joel: Google Calendar.
My aesthetic in 3 words:
Caroline: Organic, clean, minimal.
Joel: Doubt, thoughtful, systems.
Caroline: I recently read an interview with the Buddhist nun cook Jeong Kwan in the New York Times and in it she said, “If you want to be inspired and create, you need to empty yourself out and accept and let desire go.”
Joel: The father’s conversation with his son Elio near the end of the movie “Call Me By Your Name.” I can’t stop thinking about it.
Obsessed with ceramics? Check out another local LA maker we love, EMK Ceramics.