The value of handcrafted ceramic objects lies in their functionality as well as their beauty. Despite the skill that goes into their creation, these pieces were never intended to sit untouched in a gallery – their creators designed these objects to be part of everyday life.
Two Spanish creative tour de forces in the world of ceramics have come together to create one of the most striking features of the Broadsheet Kitchen. A beautiful handmade ceramic font, designed by Spanish designer Martí Guixé and made by Toni Cumella for Estrella Damm, will take centre-stage at the bar.
Guixé is esteemed in the industry for his work in industrial design, but appreciated more widely for his gallery shows. Like much of the artist’s work, the Estrella font sits at the borderland of art and design. “A good font should transmit a feeling for good quality and singularity through material and shape, as well as have an aura,” says Guixé. "Ceramics belong to Mediterranean culture, used for many years by craftsmen to manufacture everyday utensils. But it is also a material that has position in the art world - very well known are the ceramic works of Pablo Picasso.”
For the Berlin- and Barcelona-based Guixé, ceramics are a uniquely appealing material –commonly used but requiring the skill of a true artisan. "The technique is complex and needs a kind of feeling to “feel” the needed time and temperature of the different phases of the process,” he says. “It needs to be shaped in a mould, and afterwards has to dry. Then it’s controlled and polished. Graphics are added. The process needs time, and changes according weather, temperature and season.”
To highlight Guixé and Cumella’s creation, we rounded up five more beautiful handmade ceramics created by talented artists and artisans from all over the world.
Daisy Cooper’s Landscape tableware
Scottish artist Daisy Cooper makes ceramic tableware. The earthy hues of her glazes recall her rural home in Scotland: forest, field and moss greens; cloud white; and sky, loch and river blues. “I have always been inspired by the landscapes around me, looking at the colours, textures and shapes and translating these through my work,” she says.
Cooper uses a process of pinching and coiling clay to create organic, one-off pieces. It’s a slow process, she says. “Each coil is added one by one, building the piece up gradually, allowing time for the clay to move and shape naturally in my hands,” she says. “Once the shapes are formed and initially fired, then I can play with colour through my signature glazes, layering and allowing them to blend together in unique patterns and colours.”
Takeawei’s coast-inspired platters
“It’s important to have objects of beauty as part of our everyday experience,” says Chela Edmunds, the ceramicist behind Takeawei. Edmunds swapped a successful career in textile design in New York for life in the Victorian seaside town of Torquay.
The rugged and dramatic Surf Coast scenery clearly provides Edmunds with plenty of inspiration. Sand, sunsets and the sea appear as overlapping swathes of colour in her spectacular serving platters, which have names such as Bay, Deep Sea, Ocean Shelf and Tidal. “I find inspiration in my daily life,” she says. “Surfing, going on hikes and just taking in my surroundings.”
Group Partner’s boob pots
Group Partner’s “boob pots” – planters in the shape of torsos with small, perky and imperfect breasts – are a joyous celebration of the human form. New York-based sculptor Isaac Nichols, founder of the Group Partner studio, made the first boob pot in 2013. He posted a photo on Instagram and soon the pots were flying out the door.
Today, a small team of artisans produces an array of boob pots in Group Partner’s Brooklyn studio. There are pots with patterned swimsuits (polka dots and palm leaves); pots with tan lines; and pots that are light, dark, nude and tattooed. Now there are also crotch pots.
Leah Jackson’s festive mugs
Leah Jackson’s winsome designs are instantly appealing. The Melbourne-based ceramicist works with slip-cast and hand-built porcelain in her studio in Albert Park.
Dots, dashes and squiggles adorn her bowls, mugs and vases like confetti and streamers, and the vibrant palette of her handcrafted ceramics lightens any space. The effect is fun and festive.
Shino Takeda’s hand-pinched vases
New York-based Shino Takeda grew up in Japan where she absorbed the culture’s rich tradition of decorative arts, including ceramics. Today the self-taught artist makes hand-pinched bowls, cups, mugs and vases that double as three-dimensional abstract works of art.
Each piece is a study of shape, colour, and pattern. “I see the world through colours,” she says. “I don't really decide what to make, I just know when it is finished.”
The objects she makes are not just beautifully crafted – they have a practical application too. “I like to make one-of-a kind, functional things that people can hold and use in their regular life,” she says. “But, at the same time, I want my pieces to be fun and decorative when people don't use them.”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Estrella Damm. Broadsheet and Estrella Damm are soon partnering to search for our next favourite chef, at The Broadsheet Kitchen. Subscribe to receive updates on the Broadsheet Kitchen.