I spent some time in Cleveland this past weekend, which included at trip to one of the best antique stores I’ve ever been to: Sweet Lorain. While there, I looked an impressive collection of dog statues (and ended up buying a pooch known as a spaghetti poodle), and it got me thinking about Eleonor Boström’s ceramic sculptures. I’ve long been a fan of how she marries form and function. Or, as Eleonor puts she depicts #dogsatwork. These pups are holding plant clippings, matches, and your morning cup of coffee—and they’re doing it all with a smile.
One of the most iconic form of ceramics is known as “fanciful” Staffordshire figurines. Originally created in the Victorian era, these pieces were painted by unskilled workers and have a folk art-like feel. Because of their humble nature, they were geared towards the middle class. “You never would have found one of these in the home of royalty,” antique dealer David Lackey said. Nowadays, they’re highly collectible—and not to mention an influence for contemporary ceramic artists.
If you sew, you know how vital the pin cushion is. We’re often so used to the standard tomato, but there’s ways to make the practical tool both fancy and fun—thanks to illustrated ceramics. And Erin Paisley does just that with her bespoke pin cushions.
Erin’s production process looks like this: she first hand builds the form—either a woman or animal—out of earthenware clay. After it’s painted, glazed, and fired, she adorns the figure with a tight black wool bun stuffed with wool roving. The pin cushion part looks like hair, so the more pins you stick in, the more bejeweled her bun looks.
It’s the final stop on my unofficial “Instagram tour” that highlights some of my favorite feeds worth your follow. So far, I’ve highlighted paper artists, illustrators, embroidery artists, and sketchbooks that are inspire me—and others—with their incredible artistry. Last but not least, I’m chronicling some of the best ceramic artists on Instagram.
My love for planters is well documented on Brown Paper Bag. And on Instagram, too—one of the happiest areas of my apartment features a couple of thriving succulents in creature-shaped pots. Emma Jo Alford of Minty Mountain continues this trend with her dazzling animal ceramics. The hand-sculpted hedgehogs, rabbits, and bears are adorably sleepy creatures that have gold accents and in some instances, fancy accessories. The polar bear planter, for instance, has an icicle headdress. How regal!
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.