Craftsman's Journey

Charles de Lisle's wild ride as an award-winning designer is fueled by a deep love for making.

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De Lisle’s tradition begins on the east coast. He grew up in Massachusetts, the son of a colonial reproductions manufacturer and grandson of an “amazing machinist, wallpaper hanger, and jack-of-all-trades.” His father and grandfather ran a manufacturing shop that made small parts for bigger companies. “My grandfather would make these really intricate handmade jigs and tools,” de Lisle says. “They built the house I grew up in. It was just this Yankee mentality of, if it’s broken, you fix it.” At Hartford Art School, de Lisle wanted to be a graphic designer “like everybody else in the eighties.” Then an accident landed him a work-study position in the ceramics buildings, where he got to build all the kilns. “I started working with clay because I fell in love with it,” he says. A ceramics professor noticed the untrained potter’s enthusiasm, suggested he take a class, and within six months de Lisle had changed his major: “I loved this complicated nature of something that was cultural and craft-oriented and functional.”

Clockwise from the top: Linden chandelier (The Future Perfect), Scout chair, Sophie lamp (Phoenix Day Lighting), and Scout cocktail table.

Photos: Linden chandelier, Leslie Williamson/courtesy The Future Perfect; other products, Daniel Porter/courtesy Charles de Lisle

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