Rookwood Pottery

The following is a selection of the design work I did for Rookwood Pottery Company over the course of a four month internship in the Fall of 2016.

The Rookwood Pottery Company was founded in 1880 in Cincinnati, Ohio by Maria Longworth Nichols and continues to design and manufacture functional and decorative pottery in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati today.

The Wareham Mug + Bowls

In 2008, Rookwood introduced its first purely functional product in recent history, the Wareham plate. The Wareham plate was taken from an archival design created for Rookwood in the 1920s by John D. Wareham. Initially designed as a large platter, the original design was scaled down to create three sizes of plates - the beginning of the Wareham dinnerware collection. Acknowledging that consumers were looking for more functional wares, Rookwood desired to complete the dinnerware collection with a Mug and bowls. 

I was tasked with defining the design criteria for the mug and bowls, designing the objects themselves, and creating the final prototypes for manufacture. 

The mug design was defined by identifying aesthetic cues from the Wareham plates like the strong horizontal and vertical lines and the emphasized foot.


Functional and aesthetic concerns were realized through several rounds of sketching, 3D modeling and prototyping using a CNC machine. 


Once the final aesthetic and proportions were achieved the design was scaled up to account for shrinkage and milled out of a high density foam on the CNC. This was then translated into a plaster mold, from which a plaster model was created in order to make the rubber master mold. The plaster mold can then be used for slip casting the mugs. 

Moldmaking by Zach Sabatelli and the Rookwood production team. 


Through market research it was determined that the Wareham Collection should have two sizes of bowls - a dessert bowl and a pasta bowl. 

Photography by Wally German, and styling by Christina Duccilli

Find out more about Rookwood Pottery here.