January 16, 2023

No matter the season, I can always count on my local corner shop for fresh cut blooms. When buckets of Hyacinths arrive I know that spring’s in sight. So you can imagine my confusion today when I spotted them alongside the last of the amaryllis. Not that I’m complaining, I love hyacinths. It’s just that seeing them gave me some kind of false hope, like tiny, frilly beacons of something that’s not only out of sight, but over the hill, down the lane, and through the forest away. Of course, I bought an armful. The smell is too lovely to resist. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with a little fantasy. (This drawing is by Picasso, by the way. Just another example of his extraordinary range.)

clay and lace

January 11, 2023

I’m a little teapot, short, lumpy and stout. Have you ever seen a lovelier vessel from which to pour tea? The entire collection from Barro by Lucrecia is so charming. Her surface decoration, inspired by lace, is delicate while the wabi sabi forms are brimming with personality. I’d happily drink my ginger tea from this sweet little cup. And bring me my jammy toast on this perfect little plate.

light me up

December 12, 2022

Aussie designer, Jordan Fleming has created a series of floor lamps that meld function with flight of fancy. Constructed from metal, plaster and pigment, each one has its own zany personality. Collectively, they look like a chorus group for some brilliantly eccentric animated film. I imagine them launching into song when no one’s around. “I’m interested in exploring ways to remove the static element of an object, injecting life into it beyond a pretty facade,” says Fleming. They light up a room, with or without electricity. “I’m definitely much freer in my practice over the past few years, trying not to over edit the origins of the idea or fixate too much on the function of the object.”

all creatures great and small

December 6, 2022

As far as traditions go, chopping down a tree and planting it between the chesterfield and the tele for a month is pretty bizarre. But no one can dispute the delight a tree festooned with lights brings to a home and those who live in it. Last week, I walked to the corner to buy a few things and came home with a Christmas tree in one hand and eggs and a toothbrush in the other. It’s less than three feet tall, and with over a hundred baubles on it (plus lights, pompoms and silver streamers) it looks like an over-dressed shrub. It’s sitting on a pedestal in our living room like some relic from the past (or from another planet) and every time I look over at it, it brings me joy. I’ll admit a (rather large) slice of that joy comes from the fact that the tree was so easy to put up and decorate, and given all the sickness and stress lately, that’s something to tra la la about. No tears, no tangled lights. It was all done in less than an hour. The children are less enthralled with their eccentric little sapling. It’s ok. It’ll grow on them.

story on a plate

December 1, 2022

“People say my work makes them smile and that’s good enough for me,” says Lancashire artist, Ben Fosker. His work is modern spin on the English slipware tradition, using a variety of techniques from sliptrail to sgraffito. His illustrations –– think fish with legs and bumble bees the size of trees –– reference a make-believe world that only a very vivid imagination could whip up. I love this big blue bird under a hot red sun. His plates are so full of brio and charm.

flower fairies

November 30, 2022

Samantha Kerdine’s ceramics fill me with delight. I’m as excited about these candlesticks as my eight-year-old is about her new fairy lights. Childlike glee. I think you’ve got to be pretty connected with your inner kid to make work as playful and free as this. I love Kerdine’s wonky vases, and her plates are charming, too. Her illustrations remind me of Luma’s, which is the ultimate compliment.

one of a kind

October 18, 2022

Hana Karim’s plates remind me of pebbles submerged in water. Her shapes are irregular and her colors rich and earthy, a nod to her father’s Iraqi-Kurdistan roots. Karim came to tableware by way of jewellery which makes sense given her attention to detail. I love the combination of blues below. I also love how her plates don’t stack perfectly, reminding us that they were made by human hands and that clay has a life of its own.

piece of my heart

October 13, 2022

There are a few contemporary art blogs that I check in with almost daily. As I scroll through square upon square of murals, lino cuts, stone carvings and papier-mâché, I am in awe of the sheer magnitude of art that’s being made by human hands all over the world. It might not all be my taste, a lot of it isn’t, but with every brushstroke, and every stitch, every click of the shutter button, these artists are sharing something of themselves with the world and that deserves our respect. Have a look, if you feel like it, at this beautifully curated Tumblr that I visit daily, packed full of rich and eclectic art. There’s an artist who paints seashells with a fine tipped blue Sharpie, a ceramicist on a quest for the perfect iridescent glaze, and a felter who makes hats worthy of a post code. Each and every one of them is sharing a small piece of their heart with us, some more than a small piece, and how gutsy is that?

painted word

October 6, 2022

“THE NOWEST OF THE NOW WOWEST OF THE WOW,” may be my favourite of Ruan Hoffmann‘s musings. The South African born ceramic artist uses his roughly made plates for political commentary. He doesn’t hold back. “YOU BORE ME.” “I WON’T LISTEN.” “FAKE IT OR FUCK OFF.” The plates are beautiful, made from paper clay, and intricately painted. The work is raw and honest and bracing.

modern weave

August 22, 2022

Margo Selby is widely available, (West Elm carries her pieces) but still very much committed to traditional hand weaving techniques. Textiles are woven into her life story, with a childhood spent crocheting, knitting and cross stitching with her grandmother. “My family have always had a tradition of women making textiles at home,” says the U.K. native. Her work is bold and joyful, with intricate patterns that play with geometry and repetition. “When I’m designing a rug, I treat the format as my canvas to create a piece of functional art.”

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