Look. I have always appreciated fun ceramics. This probably traces back to art class in high school, where I was tasked with making my own mug. Not only was the lesson not sexy and Patrick Swayze-filled, but I got a terrible backache and my mug was ugly. I gained a new appreciation for people who can sit down at a potter’s wheel and make something cool and functional.
Beyond that, people who make ceramics exert a taste for minimalism and simplicity that I cannot personally replicate. I would never think, what about just a cool stripe of blue? A half circle? A simple color called “pollen” or “eggshell.” People who make ceramics understand restraint. They know when to stop and just let something be done, put it in the fire and get ready to put some tea in it.
I have been a ceramics lurker for a long time, following people who make mugs, bowls, ice cream dishes, even landing pads for rings and earrings. In the last year or so, I’ve invested in a few pieces. Yes, they’re pricier than Ikea’s average receptacle. But if you just buy one or two every now and then, suddenly you are eating salads out of bowls that make you extremely happy. I can’t recommend it enough.
Here are some small ceramics companies that I would highly recommend you treat yourself to a piece from, in these trying times. Plus, you’re supporting artists! (Note: some of their inventory is low right now because of coronavirus. Maybe this is a bad time to push ceramic buying. But I’m staring at these pieces all day now that I’m home, thus the timeliness of this piece within my life.)
Willowvane ceramics are strong. They are sturdy. They are sometimes dotted, or confetti-covered, or vaguely moody due to a blue gradient. I feel like my Willowvane mugs will last through eras in my life and trials in my sink. They provide the reliability and cheerfulness that I need when I’m on my 68th cup of tea during my 7th week straight of isolating myself in my house.
Wolf Ceramics pieces are a bit more delicate. You probably can’t drop one on the floor and expect it to bounce back. (Or maybe you can, and I’m just not willing to try.) But this delicate nature makes that cup of coffee feel very expensive and precious, like you are having breakfast somewhere far from your actual house, where the coffee is made by 23-year-old DJs by night who are hungover and have intricate wrist tattoos. The colors, the minimalism, the shapes. Ceramics baffle me!
East Fork Pottery
Wow. Look at those blue dishes. Imagine what you would do in life with dishes like those. Maybe put a delicate slice of feta on a triangle of watermelon, with a sprig of mint? Become Alison Roman’s BOYFRIEND? There are no limits, should you get your hands on these ceramics.
I now own two East Fork pieces, both bowls, one in bright yellow and the other in “night swim.” The thrill of East Fork fan-life is in learning about and then scrambling to get these limited edition colors like “Malibu” and “tequila sunrise.” These pieces are sturdy, microwavable, dishwasher-friendly and truly down to clown with whatever happens in your crazy wild homebound life.
While I cannot personally vouch for these other ceramics companies yet, I hunted down some more options that seem extremely covetable.
I am stunned into silence by this mug. Recreation Center‘s pieces have speckled interiors and colorful interiors, or sometimes the vice-versa! Plus they make intricate candleholders, for those who want to leave cool accessories behind for when they become ghosts.
Most of the pieces by Pawena Studio are sold out, and a part of me thinks that they are just too pretty to possibly exist in my world. Or maybe it’s the coronavirus. I don’t know. Someday I will drink from a mug like this. Or maybe I will buy simple white bowl with a red line through it. I would never think of such a thing, but when you see it, you can only think, yes, of course. Of course.