Painted ceramics have a long place in our history. The rise of vase decoration was seen in ancient Greece, which used the surface as a way of depicting everyday life. Today, illustrators loosely follow in this tradition and create their own sort of histories on fired clay objects. Ceramicist and illustrator Laura Bird is no stranger to Brown Paper Bag. I’ve marveled at her many times before.
Drips are in. Sweet, sticky drip cakes are one of Pinterest’s 2017 wedding trends, and the same goes for ceramics. The latest drip pots by the London-based Kinska use her signature minimalist palette and tiny faces that are overrun by dribbles of black and white glaze. But rather than looking messy and haphazard, it adds visual tension to the otherwise sweet, tranquil faces—like these pot people are slowly melting from within.
Like so many people on the internet, I’ve fallen in love with the work of Elisa Lefebvre. The colorful illustrated ceramics feature a watercolor-esque application of glaze. So despite their strong, often stout forms, the pieces have a feeling of levity and airiness. It’s this juxtaposition that makes them irresistible and draws you towards them—especially the animal pieces. I like the peekaboo holes cut in cats and dogs that showcases small cut leaves.
Remember last week when I was declaring my obsession for planters? Cumbuca Chic is another online shop that makes my list. Brazilian artist Priscilla Ramos is the woman behind these cute animal planters, which feature foxes, whales, sloths, and even tiny capybara. Each is adorned with a combination of shiny glaze that’s offset by the matte stoneware. I like this combination—it offers a nice visual contrast that proves that sometimes, minimalism can say as much as heavy decoration.
Inspired by wildflowers, roootree (aka Kaori) illustrates their colorful beauty onto porcelain plates, cups, and saucers. My favorite pattern—a mixture of tall grasses and bright buds—seems undoubtedly inspired by this meadow of wildflowers. Kaori has translated the endless rows of flowers into layers of color and texture. Using a combination of tight drawing and diffused shapes, she creates the feeling of depth. It’s as if her illustrated ceramics are actually made of a field of blooms.
Kaori sells her wildflower ceramics on Etsy.
Leah Goren is an illustrator known for her awe-inspiring sketchbook. That spontaneous, painterly-style works on more than just paper, though. She’s transferred her visible, energetic brush strokes to hand-built illustrated ceramic plates and vessels. They too feel like something out of her 2D illustrations, but with these, they’ve got an added practical purpose of displaying fresh cut flowers or store your favorite rings. Personally, I wish she’d make another one of the tiger dishes.
Leah sells her one-of-a-kind ceramics in her online shop. But if ceramics aren’t your thing, Leah also has a Skillshare class called Illustration & Inspiration: Keeping a Sketchbook.
Yoshiko Kozawa of Studio Giverny creates lovable animal planters that’ll be your (flower) buds’ best bud. Whales, giraffes, and alpaca all carry the weight of these plants on their back. But don’t worry—they’re happy to do it—and in turn, brighten your home.
Yoshiko first crafts her pieces from porcelain and then coats them in a shino glaze combination. Some, like the alpaca, include a fun pompom tail and tassel earrings. See her entire selection on Etsy. (h/t: So Super Awesome)
If you’ve read this blog over the past year, then you’ve definitely seen illustrations by Madalina Andronic. She’s talented in both 2D and 3D, with her latest endeavor being “tableware essentials” like cups, bowls, and plates.
Ceramicist Suzanne Sullivan produces pottery with intricate surface decoration that creates an awesome illusion. When viewed from a certain angle, the objects look like 2D ink drawings. They’ve got bold, flattened designs reminiscent of a sketchbook, with a consistency in line weight that often remains unchanged across the surface—because of this, our eye is fooled.
Suzanne wrote a quick FAQ on her Instagram, including some shops that sell her work:
I have a well-documented love of face planters on Brown Paper Bag. My years-long admiration is because of the playful nature they inherently contain. These delightful objects dress up your plants while creating wild, ever-changing hairstyles for the stoneware characters.
Design Forest is inspired by animals—bunnies, cats, elephants, and more— and pares them down to essential, simple shapes that are minimal in decoration yet convey sweet personalities. Just look at their smiles!
Design Forest sells their entire pastel-colored collection through their online shop.