Everyday Beauty

Things are shaping up for ‘handufacturing’ couple


The Michigan plate and other wares feature intriguing forms and attractive colors. Lap Trays, top,  are available in mint, freckle, dusty black, pewter, and mushroom. 


In 2013, Ryan and Kaitlyn Lawless launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a collection of handcrafted porcelain State Plates. The campaign struck sartorial gold, reaching its goal four times over.

Today, the husband-and-wife team — and owners of Detroit-based Corbé — are breaking ground again with their new space in the New Center district. (Paying homage to heritage, Corbé was Kaitlyn’s maternal great-grandmother’s maiden name.)

Specializing in functional, handmade porcelain wares, the shop boasts pieces with a modern distinction and heirloom quality. With Kaitlyn’s interest in graphics and interiors and Ryan’s art background, the design duo formed Corbé in 2012.

It takes more than 12 steps to make each State Plate. Above, the state of Oregon comes to life with a bed of succulents. 

“The dream since starting the company has been to find a location where we can … create a space to explore creatively,” Kaitlyn says. In hopes of growing the company, the couple moved from Washington State in 2015 and set their sights on Detroit. Kaitlyn, a native of Northville, and Ryan loved the strong community support Detroit offers.

Each design the couple conceives and produces is hand-thrown or cast using a process the duo has coined “handufacturing.” Think storied vessels with an urban farmhouse character: simple, classic, and hardworking.

“We take our time to handcraft automated steps within our process,” Kaitlyn says. “In this way it’s like manufacturing, and yet each piece is slightly different because they’re done by hand.”

From canteen tumblers in the salt hue to the sleek lines of the Charlevoix wine set, each piece reflects a mission to create beautiful objects that “people live with and use.”

Information: corbecompany.com, (313) 638-2616 (by appointment only), 611 W. Philadelphia St., Detroit.