David Short, 24, and George Dubinsky, 30, of Edgewood Made, a two- year-old Kensington studio.
Furniture and house- wares in ceramic and wood that have been sold at Urban Outfitters and will soon be available on MarthaStewart.com. Their work's also currently on display as part of an exhibition at the Cosmopolitan Club of Philadelphia, through Nov. 30.
Short and Dubinsky met as students at the School for American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology. When Short spotted one of Dubinsky's designs, a porcelain cup with a wood-grain finish on its exterior, he saw in it potential for the foundation of a business. "It was simple and complex all at once," Short said.
Every product starts as a hand-drawn sketch. Then that's turned into a wooden object, either carved by hand or made from digital renderings on a computer-controlled milling machine. For ceramics, a mold is made from the wooden form for casting on a larger scale. "That's something that's important to us - going back and forth between handmaking and digital technology, and making sure we use all the tools that are available to us," Short said.
Short and Dubinsky make one-of-a-kind custom furniture but also have the capability to produce ceramics on a fairly large scale. They see themselves as part of a manufacturing revival in the Kensington neighborhood, but their success relies on making things that couldn't be made better and more cheaply in China. For example, they use high-quality porcelain that doesn't require glazing, allowing them to produce products with more textural detail.
The two are influenced by Danish design and modern furniture, and by forms and patterns found in nature - as in a credenza Dubinsky made that's modeled after the knots and grains in wood. But their biggest influence is craftsman Wharton Esherick, who lived in Paoli until his death in 1970. "His philosophy, the way nature inspired his form, everything was abstract with aggressive geometry but also had his personality in it," Dubinsky said. They were even more excited to learn that many Cosmopolitan Club members had been patrons of Esherick's. "It solidified that we were the next generation of what he's doing and that we had a place there."
In the near term, Dubinsky and Short want to see their products in places like West Elm and Anthropologie. But they're thinking even bigger than that. "Our real passion is making things and solving the problems involved with making things," Short said. "We want to build the whole environment people live in - the house, the furniture, the dishes and silverware. That's the real dream for Edgewood."