Her now-iconic handblown glass and metal bubble chandeliers are playful, and as comfortable in a gent’s book-filled, walnut-paneled lair as they are in a girly-girl nest. Perfectly modernist? Check. And sixties/seventies retro, too. That luxe-rough vibe so popular now? Sure. But they’d also be fabulous, statementy counterpoints to styles from French provincial to Shaker to Deco.
But it’s her objects that are stoking the fires of my imagination these days. They carry Adelman’s signature organic shaping but when small and intimate – vessels, ornaments, candlesticks, jewelry – they seem edgier, wilder, a little more insistent and intense.
Isn’t it interesting what scale and context can do. Isn’t it interesting what the ability to touch and feel something (as opposed to just looking at it) can do: there’s an intimacy there that creates a more emotional connection.
Case in point: Lindsey’s Curiosity Vessels. There are four, at this point: acorn, water chestnut, seahorse, and vertebrae. What might be construed as whimsically-shaped cast brass stoppers sit atop an irregularly shaped glass bubble, with a long, fine, drop hanging from the stopper, like a fine earring.
They’re dark, romantic, and slightly sinister. And they absolutely belong in any modern-day cabinet of curiosities.
I particularly like this version with the metal mesh over it: it adds a sensuality that deepens the mystery of these vessels.
Seemingly more austere but still lyrical are her brass candlestick bases that come in varying heights. They pierce the base of the candle, but the candle itself doesn’t sit fully on the base. There’s apparent fragility, but also heft (they’re inspired by traditional weights and measures).
Finally, there are her Coral Spike wall ornaments, mysterious brass spikes that mounted to a wall, seem to bring it to life, making you wonder what lies beyond. It creates intrigue, and – possibly – no small amount of terror in small children. But then that may be just their allure: to draw on the power of dreams and of the subconscious.
Lindsey started out with a degree in English, and began working for the Smithsonian. But one day, as she visited the department that fabricated the exhibitions, she realized that she could have a job where she spent her day making things without necessarily having to be an artist.
And a spark was lit.
She went to RISD to study Industrial Design, focusing on lighting. In Seattle she worked near a hot shop and came to understand the world of glass blowing and learned how to design for glass blowers. That experience became the foundation for all she’s done since. She eventually started a company called Butter with David Weeks, and then struck out on her own in 2006.
She and her team work out of their studio in NYC, where they work closely with local artisans to design and create products and commissions. The iconic glass globes are made in NYC by a glass artist name Michiko Sakano (and her team.)
Lindsey Adelman is endlessly curious brave and a big believer in getting out of ones comfort zone. “The only way something interesting happens is if you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
One of her biggest inspirations is mediation, and it helps drive her creative process. “It’s the foundation of everything I do. Not having a headful of thoughts. Not over analyzing. Separating the thinking mind from consciousness. Letting the work come out without ruining it.”
That spirit is what great careers, great work – and life – are made of.
Lindsey Adelman’s work can be found in trend-making stores like BDDW, The Future Perfect, Garde, Totokaelo, and Project No. 8.