Our Story



Corbé is a ceramic design studio in the comeback city of Detroit, Michigan, handcrafting porcelain wares that are simple and useful, built for the modern home and table.  Balancing the precision of technology with warmth of hand, our ceramic wares are inspired by mid-century design, traditional craft, and small-scale, American manufacture. Our porcelain tabletop foundations honor the ingredients, people, and places at the heart of our gratitude, to share their stories. Ceramic wares and storied objects, from our hands to yours.

Formed in 2012 on Orcas Island, Washington, the rural, watery dwelling has forever left its mark on our lives and body of work. In the winter of 2015 our little island-grown ceramics studio set it sights on the possibilities and inspiration of Detroit. For us, Detroit means family, a community spirit of creativity, design, and hard work. It’s shown us the kind of bootstrapping that’s so admirable and transformative, we had to be a part of it. We’re so excited that our story continues in Detroit.

We are Kaitlyn and Ryan Lawless, partners in life and work. Corbé started on a collaboration of differing backgrounds to challenge, complement, and round out the ceramics design studio we wanted to build. Years in different fields — ceramic sculpture, production pottery, graphic design, marketing, and retail — make our partnership a strong foundation for Corbé. The broad visions of one are nuanced by the detailed thinking of the other. Our time is spent solving, musing, and evolving the things we’ve created, and we can’t imagine doing anything else.

Our name, Corbé, comes from the resurrection of a lost family name. In Old French, ‘Corbé’ translates to ‘raven’ and it’s from here that we’ve adopted the feather. We couldn’t think of a better way to honor our past and pay homage to this profession steeped in tradition. As one of the oldest art forms, ceramics shines a light on traditional methods while inspiring new processes and modern forms. Our namesake represents that journey — where we come from, where we will go, and the ways in which Corbé will grow.

We seek to take what’s old and good and make it better with what we’ve learned along the way. And we’re excited about that. Very excited. We’re combining new technologies with age-old processes for a body of work that is indicative of the times yet without expiration. We farm while listening to podcasts, bake with digital scales, draw with on-screen pens, learn fermenting from YouTube, and send our glaze recipes to a cloud. We are a ceramics and design studio that believes in modern handufacturing; one that's learned from the past and is looking to the future.