Christopher Spitzmiller’s classic lamps, with their colorful hand-turned bases and gilded details, have landed everywhere from beach estates to the Oval Office. Here, we’re sharing five things you may not know about the notable ceramicist!
1. His summer as an artist-in-residence at Southampton’s Mecox Gardens was almost a failure.
During Spitzmiller’s time as an artist-in-residence in the Hamptons, every dish he made broke right out of the kiln. “Suddenly, nothing worked, and at the end of the summer I remember thinking, ‘Maybe I’d have been better off going to the beach every day,’” he says with a laugh. But failure, Spitzmiller notes, especially early in your career, shores you up. He left the Hamptons with $200 (borrowed for the trip home to Washington, D.C.) and an order for a pair of lamps from interior designer Richard Keith Langham. Success.
2. He worked in the White House during the Clinton administration.
Straight out of college, Spitzmiller was an intern in the White House Social Office, assisting the Social Secretary in planning everything from state dinners to the Easter Egg Roll and parties for NPR.
3. Three U.S. presidents own his lamps.
While Spitzmiller left his post at the White House behind years ago, his lamps have had lasting bipartisan appeal: Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all own lamps made by the ceramicist. President Obama even had a pair of Spitzmiller’s Prussian blue lamps in the Oval Office!
4. His collection with Visual Comfort & Co. is available this summer.
Lamp lovers, rejoice! At High Point Market last October, the designer debuted his first ever collection with Visual Comfort & Co., which will be available to the trade this summer. The collection features Spitzmiller’s iconic lamps in bold glazes, from Aqua Crackle to Aged Celadon, at a more accessible price point.
5. He owns chickens!
Talk about a Renaissance man. When he’s not glazing lamps in his New York City studio, you can find Spitzmiller at his farm in Millbrook, New York, where he breeds and keeps a variety of heritage breed chickens!