January 29, 2017

A Guide to Buying Handmade Pottery

You’ve probably seen some of the latest trends in small-batch pottery, from rustic white glazes to gorgeous handmade pottery vessels of all colors. If you’re looking to add a few of these unique kitchen pieces to your daily routine, check out some of our favorite pieces from Forged & Found, Guten Co., and Whiskey & Clay. In the meantime, here’s a little more about what’s involved in the process of making a handmade ceramic piece.

How is Pottery Made?

Every cherished ceramic piece starts as a mass of clay—typically earthenware, stoneware, or porcelain—and is then shaped into its form using one of many techniques. Wheel-thrown pottery is, as the name indicates, shaped by using an electric or kick wheel, which has a spinning surface to help form symmetrical pieces. Items made using this technique can often be identified by their elegantly swirling finger lines, which represent the marks of the artist’s hands as they shaped the clay beneath their fingertips. Other pieces are slab-built, which means the artist does not use a wheel at all, but rather rolls out and forms pieces by hand, then attaches them together using scoring, slip-paste, and blending. Slip casting is another technique—commonly used with porcelain—in which a liquid version of the clay (“slip”) is poured and pressed into a mold. In every technique, the product is then fired inside a kiln at high temperatures so that the item solidifies into a gorgeous finished product.

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 Top Trends in Handmade Pottery

Handmade pottery is making a splash in the design world, pushing makers into new facets of creativity and technical execution. Producing dishware has the added challenge of uniting form and function to create a piece that transcends the home space and opens new possibilities for beautifying your everyday life. Here are a few of the latest handmade pottery trends to watch out for:

Partial Glaze

One of the most popular trends in handmade is the use of irregular or partial glaze finish, which allows you to appreciate the raw texture of the clay as well as the smooth contrast of the glaze. This Saucer Cup from Whiskey & Clay is a prime example of the partial glaze trend, which quickly adds depth and texture to your table settings or morning coffee.

Whiskey and Clay Saucer Cup

Hand-Etched Patterns

We love the rugged, primal effect of a hand-etched ceramic surface. To create this look, artists use various tools to scratch and mark their un-fired object, producing a rich, textured effect. The Corked Bottle by Forged & Found shows off the textural beauty of a hand-etched pattern, which is reminisce of old-world pottery making techniques.

Forged and Found Corked Bottle

Matte Black Glaze

As one of our personal favorites, the matte black dishware trend makes for striking, dramatic plating and timeless tabletop arrangements. The Banded Beaker from Guten Co. uses a matte black finish and two-toned contrast to pull off a look that’s both timeless and modern.

Guten co. banded beaker

Are there any makers or ceramic trend we missed? Let us know on our social media channels!

Follow these makers on Instagram:

@forgedandfound

@whiskeyandclay

@gutenco

ceramic bottles