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The Ceramicist’s Playground: Storytelling and Celebration

The Ceramicist’s Playground: Storytelling and Celebration

Like many art lovers, I’ve recently been enamored with The Great Pottery Throw Down on HBO and just as intrigued to discover various ceramicists around the globe. My own personal experience working with clay is minor, so I’ve been uncovering more context surrounding certain techniques and applications of the medium. From minimal textured stoneware to glazy pastel abstractions, there’s much diversity in the ceramics space — an upcoming art exhibit called 1000 Vases and the curated Instagram account This Thing With Ceramics are just a few examples of this. Here, I’ve compiled a selection of artists whose work honors the traditions of ceramics while elevating its merits with individual flair.

Viv Lee

Handcrafted in Scotland, Viv Lee’s ceramic work explores the concept of the body as a vessel and offers a meditative, sacred sensibility in final form. Lee’s sculptures are unglazed, exposing their visceral texture and leaving it all starkly on display.

Tactile Matter

Multidisciplinary artist Kenesha Sneed makes colorful objects, illustrations, and textiles under the name Tactile Matter. A Los Angeles native, Sneed recently authored a children’s book called Many Shapes of Clay: A Story of Healing.

Anissa Kermiche

Jeweler and designer Anissa Kermiche is well-renowned for crafting playful, yet elegant objects. Her “Love Handles” vase picks up on a long-standing tradition of women sculpting work that honors the softness and curvature of body forms, one that can be traced back thousands of years to the Venus of Willendorf

Female Alchemy

Variety abounds within Female Alchemy, the small-batch online shop of Tatiana Cardona. From pipes to mugs to planters, Cardona provides a wide selection of ceramics that frequently feature an expressive and pouty lip motif.

Funky Chunkies

90s-inspired chunky statement rings aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. With the help of UK-based designer Funky Chunkies, you can perfect the art of the clay ring stack to accessorize all of your summer fits. 

Rose Grown

Atlanta-based ceramicist Sonia McCall, founder of Rose Grown, is known for her inclusive pottery that meaningfully celebrates body diversity. Think boob and torso planters in various shapes (some with piercings), smoking pipes in a spectrum of skin tones, and other collectable trinkets that remind us to appreciate the bodies we live in. 

Sophie Southgate

The work of UK-based artist Sophie Southgate runs the gamut in terms of shapes but mainly consists of highly conceptual, confectionery creations — from large porcelain pills to swirly pastel popsicles. 

Nur Ceramics

Dina Nur Satti makes beautiful earthenware and consciously crafted vessels from her New York City studio. The artist’s Instagram account is a trove of minimal inspiration and offers glimpses into her creative process and rituals.

Mimi Ceramics

Self-taught ceramicist Mica DeMarquez constructs dreamy, prismatic mugs and vases from her Portland, Oregon studio. DeMarquez is inspired by the likes of architecture, fashion, and graphic design and her work often features checkerboard and floral motifs.

Naked Clay Ceramics

There’s a stillness that radiates from the Instagram account Naked Clay Ceramics, the brainchild of Bedfordshire’s Carla Sealey. Her minimal, neutral-toned tableware would bring peace to any table setting or cabinet. 

Dainty Dishes

These cutesy clay bowls by Dainty Dishes are the perfect catch-all for keys, rings, buttons, or just about any trinkets you can think of! 

Mud Witch

San Francisco’s Viviana Matsuda offers an array of vibrant glazed ceramics under the name Mud Witch. From rainbow mugs with squiggly handles to speckled floral vases, there’s a sunniness and optimism to Matsuda’s art that would delight any maximalist. 

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