Jonathan Adler, a potter whose cheerful pieces have built a design empire since he began selling his work at Barney’s New York in 1993, has reached the point where he can design anything he wants. His massive product catalog now spans ceramics, rugs, textiles, and Cottonelle toilet paper-roll covers. Bright colors and geometric patterns are the most obvious signature of his work, but Adler’s stuff has a sly, subversive side, too, exemplified by the colorful, striped stoneware canisters painted with the words “quaaludes” and “ganja,” or a porcelain lamp base that looks like a floral ladycrotch. Tonight, Adler speaks at the Corcoran to promote the opening of his Georgetown store, one of 18 worldwide. If anything, the growth of his “Happy Chic” dynasty might be seen as a positive economic indicator; if we’re not climbing out of a recession, how can you explain the growth in the $150 dachshund bookends sector?

Jonathan Adler speaks at 7 p.m. at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th Street NW. $15 for nonmembers. (202) 639-1700.