Thursday, October 29, 2009

Back to the Earth

Growing up my parents' kitchen was filled with pieces of ceramic tableware of various provenances. There were heavy earth colored pitchers and platters from pre-children adventures in southern Mexico, colorful bowls and canisters that were gifts from artist friends and a massive set of hefty earthenware bowls which I believe most recently served as a vessel for my aunt's fabulous yeasted waffles and I can only imagine belonged to a grandmother or great grandmother somewhere along the way.

And then there is the collection of bowls and mugs and platters that my mother has found over the years trawling the pottery studios of Berkeley and Emeryville, my favorite of which is a tall, almost conical off-white bowl which my mom used to use for making bread dough, as well as coleslaw, her version of which was one of my favorite things to eat in the summers growing up.

So I suppose I've come by my love of ceramic tableware honestly. Formed from natural materials by human hands, it feels so basic and honest. And yet, well done, it is lovely and graceful.

I always have an eye out for pottery, and as such honed in on Heath Ceramics years ago. Based in Sausalito, for quite some time I admired the locally made, handmade pieces from afar. I've always had a soft spot for their perfect bud vases

and their simple, earthy and elegant dishes.

And don't even get me started on their tiles

I suppose access to such gorgeous products might explain why the owners have a most envy-worthy home.

Anyway, on a trip back to the homeland a while back, I insisted on visiting the factory store. I was on the hunt for a wedding gift for a dear friend who I thought would appreciate the perfection that is Heath. The store is quite literally next to the factory (locally made, handmade claims confirmed!), and in addition to first quality items, they also have second and third quality pieces. I often found it hard to tell the difference between the various tiers of items, but the difference in price was quite clear. I picked up this beautiful dish

for about 25% of retail. I'm still excited about the find two years later.

Recently loads of wonderful small ceramics lines have been featured in various media outlets...blogs, magazines and newspapers all seem to be jumping on the bandwagon.

Gleena Ceramics has been popping up all over the place, and for good reason. I love the idea of sipping a delicate tea in the evening out of these cups,

warming my hands after coming in from the cold.

And these votives look as though they could turn even the most depressing space into a sort of fairyland.

Rae Dunn, who sells through an etsy store, puts a whimsical spin on the most basic of pieces.

I could certainly see these dishes by my stove or on my dining room table (if I had one that is).

And this plate would be ideal to eat a breakfast pastry off of first thing on a Sunday morning.

Arendal Keramik puts a bit of an edgy spin on the more traditional, perhaps twee if traditional is not your cup of tea, china patterns.

Drinking dark rich coffee out of these cups on a cold morning would be one of those great little luxuries in life.



My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Oh Laura. I LOVE all of them !
Those votive brighten even the most dismal it!

And those little cups for tea....

what can I say?

Millie said...

Just beautiful pieces Laura, all of them. My friend Brian Tunks in Canberra makes stunning functional ware which he's now selling through Bloomingdales. I think his website is
Millie ^_^

Laura [What I Like] said...

My Farmhouse Kitchen - I know, I know...I covet those little cups intensely!

Millie - What a talent your friend is! I'm loving those sculptural milk jugs/vases.

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

I am a thanks for giving me the shakes!

(I don't trust people who have their shoes all lined up..neatly..and none of em are muddy either).

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