Custom Ceramic Home and Building Planters
The home is everything. It’s the people in it, the memories that you make, the experiences that you have. Whether it’s your childhood home, a friend or family member’s home, your first home as a couple, or where you witnessed your child’s first steps, it’s where life is lived.
A custom ceramic sculpture will honor that home for a lifetime, bringing beauty and joy to your everyday life. Lovingly crafted, this portrait of your home will call attention to the details that make your home yours. It can be used as a planter, a vase, a container for utensils, or to hold your favorite items.
The sculptor, Katie Lauffenburger, is a founding partner of Wonder City Studio. For over eight years, Wonder City Studio has been serving happy customers across Chicago and elsewhere. Their work has been featured on the segment Weekend Break on WGN Morning News, on WTTW's Chicago Tonight, in Chicago Magazine, the Tribune, Apartment Therapy, and is on display at the Chicago Architecture Center.
(make sure to send the address)
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost?
Your custom sculpture is an heirloom that will be completely handmade, one-of-a-kind, and can be kept for a lifetime. The price starts at $5,000 and will vary depending on the complexity of the home and the details agreed to, such as the size and surface decoration. A deposit of 50% will be required to get started, and the remaining balance will be invoiced upon delivery of the finished piece.
What reference materials do you need to get started?
The address is typically all that's need to receive a cost estimate. Google Street View is a surprisingly helpful reference, unless of course there's a tree blocking the home. Clear photos, especially of the front façade, are very helpful. If you’re local to Chicago, Katie may visit the address to see the details in person, but it’s not required.
Will you sculpt any home?
Due to the nature of the medium and the wide range of home styles, not all homes will be a great fit for this process. Katie is selective about the homes that she chooses to work on, and she tends to favor classic home styles. Send her an email to see what’s possible.
How long does it take?
About 6-10 weeks. The ceramics process has many steps with their own unique challenges. Katie will begin by planning your piece on paper, working out the details that will be included. Next she'll make a prototype out of cardboard in order to determine the dimensions, proportions, and shapes that will eventually be made in clay. She then moves into the sculpting phase, building the overall form, then adding the special details and textures that make your home come to life. Color is added, then the piece is dried slowly (for up to a week or two!) to avoid warping and cracking. Once the piece is bone dry, it is fired in her electric kiln, a process that takes 48 hours. Now the piece is in the home stretch. Glaze is applied based on the look that you want, then the piece goes into the kiln again for its glaze firing. After that, the piece is finished and ready to go to its new home!
Why is there a waiting list?
These pieces take some time! To be sure that each project gets the care and attention it deserves, she'll only take on a couple at a time.