Forget crypto. Ceramics are the currency of the future. Several months from now, you’ll be able to trade a Lolly Lolly mug for a Tesla, and a Mud Witch planter will get you several acres of farmable land an hour north of Sacramento. And the list goes on.
Unfortunately, a lot of the coolest ceramics right now are made in small batches and snatched up as soon as they appear on the internet. Just like in streetwear, there’s even a term for it: dirt drops. But if you’re currently craving exceptional stoneware, there are still plenty of great options out there. Here’s all the stuff we’re currently excited about (that you can actually buy right now), from some classic Japanese stoneware and charming Danish mugs to the photogenic plates you’ve probably seen on your Instagram feed.
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An Expert Recommendation
One day, we were scrolling through the Instagram feed of Laura Kim — Co-Founder of Monse and Co-Creative Director at Oscar de la Renta — when we noticed a few plates that we wanted (as well as some great-looking food). So we asked her about them, and it turns out the plates were from Astier De Villatte. Handmade in Paris from black terracotta clay, this shallow bowl from Astier De Villatte’s (increasingly hard-to-find) Adelaide line has a stark white glaze with raised dots around the edge for some added flair and character. We’re obviously fans, although if you prefer a little more color, check out the collaboration between Astier De Villatte and NYC-based John Derian.
The Fashion Goth's Choice
If we had to name a fashion goth’s holy trinity, it would probably be Rick Owens, Comme des Garçons, and Ann Demeulemeester. And, while Demeulemeester no longer makes clothes for her namesake brand, she does produce ceramics now. Inspired by the concept of chiaroscuro, these shadowy plates will make any color-hating, minimalist folks extremely happy.
The Ever-Appealing Standby
Made in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture, Hasami’s products are mixed with local clay, giving them a slightly more rustic feel than most porcelain. Their wares have clean, stackable designs, and they come in a small range of classic shades that tend to hover in the earth-tone category. Due to the timelessness of these pieces, you probably know someone who’s casually obsessed with Hasami. (Just ask around.) Follow their lead, and get yourself a new serving bowl.
For The Minimalist
Made in Valencia, Spain, a place known for its pottery since medieval times, these black-and-white marbled platters are by a designer who’s a newcomer to the ceramics scene. Tina Vaia, a creative consultant who designed spaces and installations for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Loewe, and Prada uses a neutral palette so everything is guaranteed to match.
A Very Sculptural Bowl
Light + Ladder is a small design studio in Brooklyn that makes everything from planters to incense holders to sculptural bowls, like this one. While it might look like it weighs a ton, the folks at Coming Soon say it’s surprisingly light due to its hollow interior. You can use it as a fruit bowl but it’s also what designers like to call a l’objet, which is a fancy way to say you don’t have to do anything but leave it on a coffee table.
A Surrealist Platter
Yottam Ottloenghi is better known for his cookbooks and London restaurants but he’s also dabbling into ceramics. Made with Serax, the Belgian company that also made the Ann Demeulemeester plates from above, these brightly colored faces look like a piece art straight out of the MoMA.
A Luxury Tea Pot
Once your Hasami bowl situation is squared away, consider investing in a teapot that can function as a centerpiece for your breakfast table. The striking profile and off-white glaze will maybe even make you a morning person.
A Fun Danish Option
If you ever find yourself in Copenhagen with some time to spare, check out Studio Arhoj. They specialize in unique, colorful glazes and make a huge variety of cups, plates, and sculptures such as this canary-yellow ghost. We aren’t entirely sure what this ghost’s purpose is, but it makes us feel good when we look at it, and you could probably use it to store some rings.
A Mood-Lifting Mug
Prefer something a little more functional? Pick up a Studio Arhoj mug. The mugs come in a variety of fun glazes, and we find their bluish shades particularly soothing.
The Plates You See Everywhere
Whenever we open Instagram, it feels like we see another East Fork plate. Hand-made in North Carolina, East Fork’s pottery has an enduring aesthetic, and their pieces might be exactly what you picture when you close your eyes and whisper “ceramics.” Polished yet rustic, there’s a reason why this company’s wares (in a rotating range of glazes) are constantly in demand. Start will a plate set, and go from there. (Just be aware that some orders will take 6-8 weeks to ship.)
A Lovely Mug To Hold You Over
If you spend your mornings sitting by a window, stirring lukewarm oatmeal with your index finger as you wonder when you’ll get a chance to own a Not Work Related mug, console yourself with an equally nice vessel from East Fork. This taro shade really does something for us.
A Necessary Set Of Bowls
According to company lore, Haand started out in “a decrepit farm house with no potable water and mercurial electricity.” Now, this North Carolina-based company supplies ceramics to some of the best restaurants in the country. They also have a hefty retail business, selling sleek yet often charmingly misshapen dinnerware, and their cloud-inspired nesting bowls are some personal favorites of ours. Made of blue and white clay (in a nod to the pallette of Wedgwood Jasperware), these bowls are stunning and also weirdly calming. Use them as serving dishes at your next dinner party.
Subtle, Elegant Dishware
Made in Orange, County California and inspired by traditional Japanese ceramics, these plates from Nobuhito Nishigawara’s WRF Lab provide just the right amount of statement for your table. Minimalist in nature, but with charismatic, glossy glazes, this is the sort of dishware you can use daily without feeling as if you’re being too overbearing with your ceramics obsession.
Some Home Staples
Unlike a lot of other brands on this list, Hawkins New York doesn’t specialize exclusively in ceramics. This company’s more of a one-stop-shop — with everything from napkins to placemats — and it’s a great choice for when you’re hunting for home staples with price tags that don’t make your eyes hurt. These subtly rippled plates, for example, are unique and upscale-looking without feeling ostentatious, and a set clocks in at under $100.
Perfectly Imperfect Plates
Another quality option from Hawkins, this hand-painted dishware has more of an off-kilter feel to it. The plates aren’t quite round, but they’re more squarish than most, and, with their intentionally imperfect aesthetic, they’re a fun departure from your average tableware. (Not quite banana-bowl fun, but definitely not typical.) Get them in white or black (or favorite of the two), and pick up some matching ice cream bowls as well.
The Ideal Pitcher
All of Raawii’s ceramics are immediately appealing, and that goes double when you actually see them in person. This pitcher from the Copenhagen-based company, for example, has a straightforward geometric design, and the simple-yet-standout aesthetic works in any context from a high-end restaurant to your bedside table on laundry day.
A Statement Mirror
Do us a favor, and get yourself a colorful thick-rimmed mirror — such as this one from Raawii that perfectly compliments the pitcher above. Designed by Nicholai Wiig-Hansen, this chunky circular mirror will make your home seem two to three times more fun than it currently does. And before you say anything, yes it’s made from ceramic (the frame part, that is). Alternatively, grab yourself a fuzzy tufted mirror from Made For Monday. We approve of either route.
A Very Soothing Jug
Faye Toogood is a British artist who works in sculpture as well as fashion and home design. Her pottery features calming washes of ocean blue against a white background, the ceramic equivalent of a seaside home in Cornwall. They tend to sell out and then get marked up on other sites, so this is a rarity.
How To Drink Your Coffee Every Morning
On the most fundamental level, ceramics are attractive because they’re well-made objects that exude care. Care goes into making them, and you feel that care when you hold them. Apologies for getting sentimental just now, but that was the easiest way for us to explain why like these undersized mugs from Pigeon Toe ceramics. Rough on the outside and glossy on the inside with a comforting heft, these are the weighted blankets of drinking vessels. Mix and match a few different shades.
Some Lively Tableware
What we like about Sylvia K Ceramics is the contrast between this Brighton-based studio’s earthy terracotta and their vivid glazes that occasionally look as if they were haphazardly smeared on top. It’s a charming aesthetic, and if you’re looking for something a little larger than these bowls, check out this serving tray with leather handles.
A Little Etsy Find
Today on Etsy Watch, we have a ceramicist who has an extremely limited offering. Keira Thompson of Oakland-based OTY Ceramics has several tumblers, dishes, and planters available, and we’re fans of all of these things. The speckled planters, in particular, are worthy of a spot on one of your shelves or side tables.
Bright, Pleasant Everyday Bowls
Another West Coast Etsy find, Sunnys Shop LA produces ceramics with just enough flair to rise above the ordinary, which is to say the right amount of flair. Understated, yet eye-catching, your kitchen could use a set of their stackable bowls on a little wooden stand.
A California Classic
In terms of aesthetics, Heath falls somewhere between Hasami and East Fork. The lines are clean and simple, but there are a variety of glazes to choose from, and all of the pieces have a slightly homespun feel to them. And, much like Hasami and East Fork, Heath has its own die-hard adherents. This company has been in business since 1948, and it’s a West Coast institution. They still make all of their goods in California, and they remain an impeccable choice for anyone looking for sturdy, classic ceramics.
Where To Look When Every Maker Is Sold Out
MANTEL doesn’t produce ceramics, but they do carry goods from various makers, and they’re worth checking out if you aren’t emotionally equipped to deal with another online shop that’s completely sold out. This Portland, Oregon-based store has some Cecilia East/West mugs, for example - and, once again, you’ll notice the importance of a quality handle.
An Under-The-Radar Pick
In terms of design, departo isn’t all that flashy. But here, it’s all about the details. This company sets itself apart with high-gloss glazes, sharp lines, and a muted palette. If it weren’t made of ceramic, their dishware would look like the sort of stuff you’d take camping, and we appreciate that. (Just look at this mug, which could also double as a soup bowl.)