October 3, 2016

Design Trend: Wabi-Sabi Pottery

It’s a term new to us, ”wabi-sabi”—and if it’s a term that’s new to you as well, here’s a quick overview of this ancient ceramic design trend. Inspired by the combined principles of simplicity and history, this timeless craft bridges the old and the new: minimalist shapes are offset by rugged finishes, weathered patinas and imperfect lines.

It’s a style of ceramics that we’ve grown to love at Propped; it’s the embodiment of handmade. From kitchen pottery to elegant tableware collections, no two pieces of wabi-sabi pottery are alike.

Of the many such designers, ceramicist Janaki Larson of Atelier St. George and owner of Le Marché St. George stands out in her use of texture and a passion for creating pieces that come to life with their own sense of natural, earthy character. As the perfect embodiment of the wabi-sabi aesthetic, Larson’s work is so in demand, that many of her pieces sell out immediately from her Vancouver, BC storefront.

wabi-sabi wabi-sabi-1

In direct opposition to mass-produced counterparts, Janaki’s pieces are natural in shape, drawing inspiration from the ocean, the forest, and the mountains of her surrounding landscape. These influences are brought to life in her Speckled Seafoam Soup Bowl and Ridged Cereal Bowl.

Janaki’s love for Japanese minimalism are also apparent in her kintsugi experiments. Kintsugi is the practice of repairing broken pottery with accented filling (traditionally gold or silver). With a modern approach, Janaki repairs her ceramic kintsugi pieces with wild pops of color like hot pink.

Further south in Los Angeles, Humble Ceramics create sleek pieces that “embrace the beauty of opposites,” experimenting with opposites: rustic and refined, old and new. As a principle of their design process, Humble ceramicists embrace the imperfections of wabi-sabi pottery. Their mantra “We don’t do perfect” reflects their frank authenticity, which celebrates organic patinas, beautiful speckled glazes, and simple shaping techniques.

wabi-sabi-2 Two toned Cruets humble ceramics

Last, we would be remiss not to mention Baba Ceramics, whose pottery collection has a clear home in the world of modern wabi-sabi designs. Artist Barbara Arcieri’s focus on soft patinas and delicate textures gives her pieces a timeworn element: gritty, speckled stoneware contrast with smooth, delicate porcelain.

Whether you’re looking to impress your guests with artsy presentation, or simply looking for beautiful, natural table settings, wabi-sabi pottery are the perfect dose of imperfect. It’s a handmade connection between maker, item, and recipient; a deeply personal approach to kitchenware that stands out in a mass made world. We’re all in with this design trend. Thoroughly.

Collection of baba ceramics with single textured pieces Collection of plates and bowls from baba ceramics

To see more of Janaki Larson’s latest work, check out her Instagram account at: @atelierstgeorge

And for for more wabi-sabi inspired pottery, check out @humbleceramics and @baba_ceramics.

Have we missed any must-see wabi-sabi ceramicists? If so, shout it out on our social media channels above this post. We’d love to hear from you.