“It can be exhausting. My problem is too many ideas, not too few,” admits Adler. The potter turned homewares designer has a span of skills that would turn any millennial polymath green.” Aged 13 I went to summer camp and tried pottery,” says Adler who grew up in New Jersey and later studied semiotics at Brown University. “I’m not a spiritual person but when I first touched clay I felt a connection. I was fortunate to have creative parents. My dad was a lawyer who spent every spare minute painting and my mom’s ebullient sense of colour still impacts me,” says Adler who before turning his passion into a career was sacked from most every other ‘proper’ job.
Back in the early ‘90s, potters were ‘weirdie beardies’ but Adler’s enervating, graphic ceramics spoke of modernism and glamour. Handcrafted textiles, furniture, objects and Lucite pieces – what he calls ‘jewellery for the table,’ followed.
Every day at the company’s Fantasy Factory HQ, Adler starts at the potter’s wheel. “It’s where I work out all my ideas. Design is about solving problems. A teapot has to pour tea, a sofa has to be comfortable and pottery has to be balanced and symmetric. It can take over a year for something to move from my head to the shop floor - we do endless rounds of sampling.”
Adler, who has been married to set designer and author, Simon Doonan for 20 years, re-boot on Shelter Island. “We eat, watch TV, read, and paddle board (not all at the same time),” he says. This is a man with off the scale job satisfaction.
“It’s about getting to make the stuff I want to make and having people love it as much as I do.”