This Sculptural Seat Started Out as a Clay Mug

It’s not every day that Lalese Stamps works with wood, foam, and fabric. After all, the ceramist, founder of her own studio Lolly Lolly Ceramics, usually works with water and clay, but as it turned out, her neighbor down the hall had an interesting proposal for her.

woman sitting on gray chair holding a mug

While working out of The Fort, a late 1800s, 240,000-square-foot manufacturing plant that belongs to Fortner Custom Furniture & Upholstery, Stamps would often visit the Fortner workshop. When the Fortner team was looking for an artist from outside the furniture industry to collaborate with, the decision was a no-brainer. Stamps, just as excited, said yes. “Once I started to be able to see…what I can make by hand, like a small piece, I started to imagine bigger pieces and…the way that people interact with furniture has always been really fascinating to me,” the ceramist shares.

man and two women looking at sketches

woman looking at sketches

woman holding black ceramic mug

Like many determined creatives before her, Stamps had previously completed a 100 Day Project, where she committed to creating a mug every day for 100 days. When it came time to pick one of those mugs and bring it to a larger scale, Mark Cryer, Commercial Sales Manager at Fortner, and Stamps agreed that mug 53/100 was the winning design.

man creating digital rendering of chair

man sitting next to notebook with sketches

woman and man standing next to table with upholstery samples

machine cutting wood arches

man assembling wood furniture

man assembling wood furniture

Stamps, Cryer, and the production team at Fortner were able to bring a pair of chairs to life based on a ceramic mug with three arches forming the handle. In the translation from clay to foam, the arches become the backrest and arms of the chair. From a bird’s eye view, the three arches are clearly represented.

man assembling wood furniture

man cutting foam on wood furniture

foam on wood chair

man stapling upholstery to wood furniture

man and woman examining upholstery

man stapling upholstery to wood furniture

chair label

arch arch next to side table

gray mug on gray chair

gray mug on gray chair

woman holding gray mug

woman holding mug sitting in chair

woman standing next to gray chair

To learn more about the Fortner x Lolly Lolly collaboration, head to

As the Senior Contributing Editor, Vy Yang is obsessed with discovering ways to live well + with intention through design. She's probably sharing what she finds over on Instagram stories. You can also find her at