meant to move

"Emotion fills me when I see perfect forms in nature, from the cracked conch shell on the beach revealing its perfect spiral, to the milkweed pod burst in the field, its brilliant airborne seeds streaming into the sunlight. The ordered symmetry and asymmetry of nature’s forms reveal the growth of life, the movement of life." Jennifer McCurdy

martha's vineyard potter jennifer mccurdy relies on translucent porcelain, the influences of the natural world and meticulously carved patterns to create light-shadow messages in her vases, bottles and vessels. i think the absence of color is effective in conveying a feeling of calm and peace. it allows us to concentrate on the form. i can almost hear the rustle of grasses bending in the wind and if i gaze long enough i can see the dancers swaying to the soft sound. and you? what do you see? do tell...



"Color outside the lines, bend the rules, and think outside the box. It makes life more interesting." Carol Milne

con·tort: to twist, bend, or draw out of shape. aren't we all contortionists in some way? what lengths will you go to conform, to fit in? glass artist carol milne's 'slave to fashion series' incorporates the humor and play on words that almost always accompany her subtly carved sculptures. the shoes carry a strong statement about our penchant for looking good and fitting in at any cost.

the year is coming to a close. this is a good time to reflect: are you living to look good and fit in? are you on a path that makes sense to you or just a path that makes cents? are you stuffing yourself into an ill-fitting life that is decidedly uncomfortable? change is hard but necessary and you could be pleasantly surprised. it might feel oh-so-good. you know, like taking off a pair of tight shoes.


license to dazzle

"Rusted license plates and wire, radiator cans and the hubcaps off a '36 Ford have, for me, the strength to evoke the smells, sounds and tastes of my own places of becoming. These are places that could spin yarns about first cars, first times and how treasures become broken. I believe that sharing with others the things that have made us who we are enlarges our understanding of what it can mean to be human." Steven Hansen

i found steven hansen's work on a site about recycled art. looks like a teapot made with recycled metal parts and old license plates, right? that's what the author of the site thought too, but the realistic battered-sign pots and vases are actually ceramic. more than just interesting to look at, he works with a coded language of symbols to "blur the boundaries between art and commerce, between craft and art." hansen wants his work to be read on mulitiple levels, beginning with the concept of a simple, well crafted object and continuing all the way through to the not-so-hidden statements about history, advertising and commerce that wrap around many of the pieces.


great bowls of fire!

"Each Great Bowl O' Fire is hand cut from scrapped propane tanks. There's a poetry to this that just makes me giggle… using a torch to cut flame designs into a flammable gas tank in order to hold bonfires. That's kind of layered metaphor I enjoy most about working with reused or recycled materials." John T. Unger

committed to sustainable design, john unger works mostly with recycled materials. he handcuts every bowl, never repeating the same pattern. the bowls weigh in at 175 pounds each and are built to last for generations. but unger doesn't stop there. from scrap oxygen tanks he cuts tiki torches; from propane tanks, he fabricates patio grills and portable grills and from tin cans he makes lanterns. the names of his fire line product and the tone of his blog make me think he's quite a character: canterns, blaze o' glory, pot-de-feu grill and great bowls o' fire. his stuff sizzles!


cushy cabinet

"Soft Cabinet is about organizing your mind by organizing your things. The drawers are designed according to a matrix system that allows me to make any given piece – desk, side table or cabinet – on request." Kiki van Eijk

young dutch designer kiki van eijk's playful twist on traditional design caught my eye. the drawers on this impressive cabinet look soft and inviting, like padded, tufted cushions waiting to be poked. yes?

no! though the cabinet is wood, the drawers are handmade completely from ceramic. beautifully done and functional too. kiki describes it as a 1001 drawer cupboard to store all of your favorite things. ooohhh, a place to store her furniture-inspired handbags, yes - that will work!


sheepish shakers

every vessel that i highlight makes me smile broadly, laugh out loud and say "wow" or sit quietly absorbing the surprise. the work of skip horton and donna beverly made me do all three. well respected glass artists, the pair are known for their sensational hand-blown salt and pepper sets.

with a product line that includes climbing frog wall sculptures, butterfly topped perfume bottles, colorful snail ornaments and a barnyard full of salt and pepper shakers, i'm guessing that this husband and wife team also share a love of animals. elegant venetian artistry meets contemporary sensibility. and a touch of whimsy. the result is magical. see more of their work here



"I am utilizing the culmination of formal elements and aspects of allusion of corsetry and garters to express sensual softness. My flower boats and vases suggest beauty holding beauty and my boxes, intimacy holding the intimate." Kristen Kieffer

cor·set n. - close-fitting undergarment worn to support and shape the waistline, hips, and breasts.

the corset helps to emphasize a curvy figure by reducing the waist, thereby exaggerating the bust and hips. for some women it is a positively painful experience, but studio potter kristen kieffer has found a way to make corsets sexy again. her corset-shaped flower boats are suggestive, feminine, intimate and rich with soft, sweet curves. try one.

many thanks to amy crawley for this delightful find.


bottled up emotions

"I am a product of the Golden Age of Hollywood as my father wrote many of the hot comedy shows of that time. My mother came from the theater world in New York and her father owned the largest costume company in the world so I guess all this has influenced the look of my work." Kate Stern

antique bottles + your beloved photograph + kate stern = a unique work of art. stern's love of old bottles and photographs inspired her to find a way to combine the two. this is the stuff of classic, vintage nostalgia.



"My work to date is all hand made. It is important that this is seen, so the raising marks, uneven rims and unfiled solder seams are left. The majority of my work is about portraying different feelings and emotions by combining various materials and manipulating their many qualities to express the intentions." E J Mahony

ej mahony uses materials that are contradictory. silver, an enduring metal and steel which is decidedly not precious as it rusts and literally eats itself away. contradictory? maybe, but it works. he creates the form and leaves the function up to you. these are roughly hewn, bold, strong and take me back to medieval times. for those with a more delicate taste, the tea sets also make a beautiful statement.


home ec

"I have always loved the lustrous, seductive qualities of silk, and have used varying weights and weave structures to create textured effects." Dorothy Filshie

as a home economics teacher, food and fabric influenced dorothy filshie's daily routine for decades. now retired, she still dreams about the dupioni silk and tulle used to sew the beautiful gowns that swish softly around the dance floor. but these days filshie isn't thinking about teaching students to sew. instead, she is imagining the lush fabric transformed into the exquisite sculptural jugs she sews by hand. i can see that retirement agrees with her. yes.


nourishing alma

"Sculpture is made to be touched. These pieces were made with my hands and I want people to feel the weight and the shape of them. That's the point." Alma Allen

i have a never-ending hunger for vessels that feed my soul. when i discovered alma allen's work i knew immediately that his wood, stone, bone and shell carved vessels would feed that hunger. the texture of each bowl includes natural fissures that crack the silky smooth surface, inviting the viewer to touch, hold, feel. it is fitting that alma means nourishing. it also means soul. i've been fed, nourished, nurtured. soul-food indeed.


capturing light

"The inspiration for the LightVessels first came to Darryl many years ago on a sun washed day at the trout stream. He was intrigued by the play of light on his fishing line and how it glistened and sparkled on the water. Since fishing and basketmaking are closely woven parts of his life, he wanted to put that special mood into a basket." Karen Arawjo

husband and wife team darryl and karen arawjo weave clear or colored monofilament over hand split white oak and hickory to create their award-winning light vessels. each translucent basket captures the light and shines delicate, ethereal rays into the room creating a calm, soothing mood. a welcome break during this season of hustle and bustle.

thanks to alison lee for the link



"In design I seek the symbiosis of decoration and form – they communicate together and create a fulfilling entity. My design language is minimalistic but I combine simplified form with generous decoration surface." Heini Riitahuhta

i had to show these pictures of a large-scale sculpture/painting by finnish designer heini riitahuhta. she 'painted' the picture using ceramic cups! ok - the picture isn't a vessel, but it was created with vessels - thus scoring points with this vessel-as-art diva. see more of riitahuhta's work here.


penny pinching

montana artist penny hall is under the magical spell of molded leather. she pinches, shapes and molds the leather until these elegant bowls emerge. i did a double take - thinking at first that they were turned wood vessels. aren't they woderful? she draws her inspiration from big sky country. it's easy to see that montana has cast its own magical spell on her - lucky for us.


wired for fun

i've admired jeff dever's work for some time now. his double-walled, hollow polymer clay vessels are vivid examples of masterful engineering. i took a two day technique workshop with him a few years ago and i walked away scratching my head, still wondering "how did he do that?" my comment is not a reflection of his teaching ability-dever is a gifted, generous teacher with a great deal of patience. his meticulous attention to the details of construction and his mastery of the medium just rock.my.world.

somehow jeff's new work slipped right by me - he is now mixing wire with his pod-like, abstract polymer forms - adding another dimension to the world of baskets. many thanks to toby goldsmith for the link. enjoy!



"I dream that others will catch a glimpse of what I have seen in the earth and the plants and the water when they experience what I make. That through my own striving, I can capture the heaviness of that stone, the struggle and balance of nature, and the rightness of that wiggling curve, and somehow place that into the mind of another human being." Scott Chatenever

toby goldsmith fed my penchant for all things organic when she sent along this link to ceramic artist scott chatenever's work. his vessels, like this heart shaped pod, definitely speak to me. don't ask what they are saying, it's a private conversation.


spirit vessels

"It is my desire that my Spirit Vessels evoke a sense of sacred space and sacred time. As objects of contemplation, and as musical instruments, the Spirit Vessels are intended to be reminders of the need for balance and harmony in our lives." Robin Hodgkinson

robin hodgkinson has been making music for more than twenty five years, using bamboo, exotic hardwoods, metal tubing and clay. each material has its own voice and he says the best material is really a question of individual taste and mood. the unusual spirit vessels round out a product line that includes simple flutes and ocarinas. the marriage flute pictured here plays a chromatic octave in harmony. the right hand plays the chromatic scale while the left hand plays the 1st, 3d, 5th, and 6th intervals. how refreshing - the right hand knows what the left hand is doing. i'm listening.


wearable collage

"While my work falls in the category of jewelry, I prefer to think of these pieces as wearable collages. My influences and inspirations stem from an appreciation for nature and family. Monochromatic colors, diverse surface textures, and repetition are commonly used to create a harmonious and soothing unity among varying objects." Jaime Jo Fisher

jaime jo fisher mixes traditional silver work and collage. bits of plastic, glass - even dryer lint makes its way into her wearable beaded vessels. contemporary yet timeless. perhaps due to fisher's willingness to combine the possibilities of found objects with more traditional jewelry techniques? yes, i think so.


mixed marriage

"People talk about the element of risk in their work. I recently heard a story of a Cambodian painter who was told to paint Pol Pot with the stipulation that if the painting was no good he would be killed. That's risk. I'm more interested in wandering from idea to idea propelled by curiosity, not fear. There is a large amount of suffering in the world. If, when somebody sees my work they feel some pleasure, that is success." Bennett Bean

new jersey's bennett bean is described as a studio potter, sculptor and a fine artist with decades of experience in several media. 'mixed marriage' is just one example of his ability to paint across separate pieces, giving them the appearance of unity and continuity. although best known for his pit-fired earthenware bowls, the sophisticated, sleek series of pairs and triplets are definitely worth ogling. thanks to teapot-lover toby goldsmith for the link.


pucker up

"The same soft, flowing curves in my earlier sculptures are evident in my handbags. They beg to be touched and have a very sensual nature to them. I also try to incorporate the human form in my handbags whenever possible with a humorous aspect to them." Kimberly Chalos

indiana wood sculptor kimberly chalos worked for a furniture company for ten years before becoming a handbag designer. kimberly's obvious skill and mastery of the materials is coupled with a quiet sense of humor. the purse above is part of her 'gabby' series. get it?