A Growing Fascination with Handmade Ceramics

The rise in popularity of handmade ceramics shows no sign of declining; in fact, quite the opposite as more people than ever continue to search out the fabulously individual pieces which small-batch artists are producing in an effort to keep up with demand.

What has fuelled this passion for pottery? Does it come from the same place as the love-affair we had with artisan-produced goods in the 1970s, before the takeover of the hard-edged 1980s?

The first lure is quite obviously that of beauty. The organic nature of a hand-thrown mug or bowl far surpasses the identikit, factory-sheen of mass-produced crockery and this was something against which we rebelled in the 1970s too. 

The 50s and 60s had thrust modernity upon a society that didn’t quite want everything which came along with it. Once the sparkle had worn off the idea of a modern and convenient world, people began to look for something with more heart and that’s when folk-art and a love of all things handmade enjoyed a renaissance. 

With the digital revolution, these are issues which have once more come to the fore and are arguably more relevant than ever. Then there’s the attraction of purchasing something which is not only art but art with a purpose.

Many people find it easy to justify purchasing handcrafted pottery because these are useful things, things which we all need. 

There can be some consumer guilt involved in the purchase of art for arts’ sake but when you can utilise a wonderful piece on a daily basis, then there’s more justification involved. “Well I need new plates…and of course I’m supporting a local artist!” 

But this doesn’t fully explain the fascination and passion with which we’ve embraced handmade stoneware, earthenware and porcelain items. What is it about these things which seem to speak so loudly to society at the moment?

Some put it down to a reaction to our tech-centered world which has in some respects, depersonalised things. We can speak to one another without ever leaving the house, conduct our business from our beds and manage our finances without visiting a bank. 

Whilst all this is incredibly convenient, it also fuels a hunger for interaction and personalisation, a rejection of factory-produced sameness and rigidity and a desire for the more soulful nature of hand-crafted goods which add an undeniably earthy beauty to our homes.

Dominika Yindi ceramics.JPG

There’s something incredibly comforting about holding a cup which has been moulded by the hand and this is definitely the case with Dominika Yindi’s range of vividly decorated bowls and cups. Dominika’s work literally offers words of encouragement and inspiration to use. Simple statements to remind us to “Breathe” or “Love” are hand-painted into the glaze of many of her cups and bowls, whilst others say all they need to say with a beautiful scarlet heart or splashy, sunshine-yellow and sky-blue glazes. With a range as wide as the colour palette she uses, there’s something for everyone in Dominika’s work.

That’s another thing to consider; the sheer range of what’s out there now is quite staggering and comparing one artist with another only serves to highlight the flexibility of the material.

Look at the beautiful work of Khoa Edgecombe of Clay by Khoa and it’s easy to fall in love with each piece in its own right. 

Clay by Khoa Ceramics at the Fleurieu Arthouse

Khoa’s range of elegant stoneware bowls, platters and mugs come in shades which shift between gently speckled dove-grey and creamy oatmeal, fading into misty sea-green and duck egg blue. 

The range compliments itself; one piece looks equally stunning next to another and there’s no uniformity, yet the pieces are pulled together by their own profiles. 

You can pile stoneware like this on a bare timber shelf and know that you’ve instantly created a thing of wonder, a tactile conversation-piece more than a utilitarian display of crockery.

As we continue to work towards a world which is more self-sustaining and mindful of the environment, the audience for hand-crafted pottery seems to be not only secure but growing.

If you’re looking for a special piece, you can find a wide selection of handmade ceramics at the Fleurieu Arthouse including work by Dominika Yindi and Clay by Khoa.

written by Fleurieu Arthouse writer Lindsay Nightingale www.lindsaynightingale.com