The Art of the Sink: the Allure of Kitchen & Bath
Story By Jay Fields - Post Date: 03.01.2012
Given great food and lively conversation, most gatherings seem to wind up in the kitchen (with occasional forays to the bath). Now, thanks to the collaboration of an inventive Asheville ceramicist and an imaginative interior design firm, there are new reasons to appreciate these oft-visited, essential spaces for living and hosting.
Ed Racicot hand-builds and brilliantly glazes stoneware sinks that are both beautiful, in the best of American art and craft tradition, and genuinely enduring as a part of the living environment.
“I majored in education and tried teaching,” he says, "but something about working with clay—throwing and glazing and firing—captured me from the first day I got into it in Vermont in the early '80s.
Ed began making ceramic sinks in 2003, put seven of his designs on a web site, and soon developed a following. In 2010, he moved to Asheville (“the long cold winters had gotten to us”). He moved into an urban loft on Broadway where he could have his studio/ showroom tucked beneath it with an entry on Tingle Alley.
“I’ve come up with my own glazes,” he says, “and I use a syringe and brush to feather on the color in the green clay stage. ... Once the sink is dry, I fire it for 18 hours, locking in the glaze and giving the sink excellent hot and cold properties. Each is made to last more than a lifetime.”
The kitchen and baths in Ed’s loft home were designed and crafted into place by Keystone Kitchen & Bath which, in turn, happily partners with Ed in offering his sinks as part of their broader proposals.
“We’re always looking to incorporate local artists and local contractors,” says Paul Bradham, who operates Keystone with his wife Christy. About fifty percent of Keystone’s custom cabinetry, countertops and hardware for kitchens and baths go into remodeled spaces with the other half installed in new homes.
“We love Ed’s work,” says Paul. “The quality is amazing and his finishing technique makes his sinks super durable. He’s also got a range of colors and finishes that help us fit his art to whatever design scheme we’re working on for one of our customers.”
Paul and Christy, both graduates of Western Carolina University’s acclaimed interior design program, opened their first showroom in Lake Toxaway then, two years ago, a second showroom in Asheville.
“There’s been a lot of interest,” Paul says, “in both rustic and traditional kitchen and baths as well as more sleek and simple contemporary designs. Either way, we just totally enjoy the relationships we have with local custom cabinetmakers and local fabricators who use wood and stone countertops. People yearn to have beautiful and practical kitchens and baths and they also love the idea of a conversation piece.”
E.C. Racicot – Stoneware Pottery, formerly known as Vermont Art Sinks (vtartsinks.com), is located at 10 Tingle Alley in downtown Asheville. Keystone Kitchen and Bath (keystonekb.com) has a showroom at 479 Hendersonville Road in Asheville and also one in Cashiers.
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