natural impression

“Aged 4 or 5 years, I recall seeing some men throwing pots on a wheel and being captivated by the magical transformation of the clay – from ball to cylindrical vessel. Ever since then I have had a desire to work in clay and experience the plasticity of the material.” Liz Emtage

liz emtage inlays organic materials such as rice, grass, parsley, lasagna, eggshells, lentils, wheat and spaghetti into porcelain clay that has been mixed with paper. the paper and organic materials burn out in the firing process, leaving a delicate translucent vessel with a natural impression. the luminaries, pendant lamps and wall sconces that emerge offer a warm, subtle glow to light your home or office. emtage utilizes a muted color wash, asymmetrical shape and organic texture, resulting in vessels that light the way for a calm, peaceful experience.


pipe dreams

perhaps the ultimate unusual empty vessel: dasparkhotel is a set of three repurposed drain pipes that have been transformed into individual, freestanding hotel rooms. hostel meets hotel meets recycyling. each room comes complete with bed, linens, lamp and table. set up in a public park in austria, guests have access to public bathrooms and nearby restaurants. interesting concept. at least it won't drain your wallet.


bag lady

" I began beading in 1990 when I taught myself to bead on a loom. I knew immediately that I had found my passion. I soon fell in love with broadcollars after seeing the Virginia Blakelock book, "Those Bad, Bad Beads". From there I experimented with bead knitting and sculptural peyote stitch. My current obsession is bead embroidery." Julia Pretl

julia pretl is an accomplished bead artist and author, well known for crafting interesting vessels like the 'bag lady' pictured above. looks like this lady is on a journey. don't you want to know where she is trying to go? and you - where are you going? wherever your journey takes you, i wish you safe travels my friend, safe travels.


on living/living on

"I use plants, sea forms, and human anatomy to talk about life, disease, and the will to live. My intention with this work is to make references to the process of survival. The work is not meant to dwell on the concept of dying. The pieces are about living. I hope to show the beauty that can be found in nature, and in doing so, wish to make the viewer more aware of the life around them." Bonnie Seeman

bonnie seeman walked through her days viewing the world through one lens. then a loved one became gravely ill, a loved one died. now seeman sees the world through a very different set of lenses and the difference is reflected in her ceramic art as in her life.

life is fragile. life is hard. life is short. embrace all of it.

thanks to natalia for sending the link to this thoughtful artist.


women's work

"I have acquired a habit of thought that conceives of each form as having a biography, revealing stories that are as varied as each view." Michelle Holzapfel

achieving acclaim and success as a wood turner is no small feat for a woman. michelle holzapfel spent two decades honing her skills in this traditionally male-dominated medium before the art world took her seriously. with a quiet determination, this self-taught artist expresses the every-day life of women today. the bowl above simulates draped cloth and gives us a hint at holzapfel's skill. but it is her carved wood vessels that scream TALENT AT WORK. they are elaborate and exquisite storytellers. see the artist at work and hear her speak about her philosophy in this video clip


leaving his mark

"I draw on functional forms because I want permanence and longevity for my personal history. Just as we know much about our cultural past from the pottery created thousands of years ago, I want my pots to tell those who may discover them in five thousand years what was important to one person living in the twenty first century." Tim Christensen-Kirby

tim christensen-kirby uses the sgraffito method to draw pictures on his porcelain vessels. each vessel is made with layers of contrasting clay colors. as he carefully carves a drawing the top layer slowly peels away, revealing the layer beneath. although he gets excited by the notion that the kiln process could easily turn a piece back to dust again, his work is clearly about permanence and leaving his mark on the world at large.



"I have to push the envelope constantly. Every new piece represents an opportunity for me to learn and to master something new. I want to go a step further every time." Meryl Ruth

meryl ruth's functional teapot handbag series is sweet, funny and well done. this five time niche award finalist has a charming sense of humor and style. her work is a standout because she pays meticulous attention to minute details as she manipulates the clay. she's also having fun and it shows.

toby goldsmith sent the link and a few laughs to boot. thanks again toby!


hats off to ingenuity!

he thinks everyone should be sporting one. "wear wood, it does you good." that's his motto.

vermont woodturner
johannes michelsen had an idea, spent years thinking about it and then developed two unique techniques that allowed him to move his idea from concept to reality. armed with these new techniques he set out to craft sleek wood hats. he has been turning them for more than 16 years now. these wooden wonders weigh between 6 and 9 ounces - the same as a fabric hat, and he will custom fit one so that you can wear it comfortably. i'm not kidding. watch his process here. the artist's work is in the permanent collection of amost every major wood collector in this country. talk about turning things around!



"Drawing inspiration from age old Venetian glass techniques coupled with my own playful interaction with glass as a material, I work with geometric and organic shapes and colors to create whimsical new glass forms. Utilizing my delicate hot glass skills and passion for the material, I add character and unique personality to each piece I create." Jen Violette

jen violette's animated vases capture the speedy splash of liquid droplets in brightly colored glass. her work reminds me of another artist who also delights in preserving the drips and drops, the splishes and splashes, the specks and spots. fun.


silver linings

“I weave contemporary vessels in contemporary times using materials gathered from both ancient grounds and castoff domestics” Shannon Weber

embracing life - the good, the bad and the ugly - has paid off for self-taught basket artist shannon weber. she began weaving baskets as a diversion when her children were still babies. years later, the fishing lodge that she and her husband owned flooded when a pipe burst, bringing more than just tragedy to her door. the insurance adjuster quickly fell in love with her lively baskets and he happened to have connections to a highly reputable crafts market. when he invited her to show her work, she recognized the opportunity and her career was launched. a few years ago weber was in a debilitating auto accident. as she grappled with another difficult life experience she shifted priorities and direction, spending some time reorganizing her life and art and coming back strong once again.

the common denominator in moving this talented weaver's career ahead might be dark clouds, but don't discount weber's soul-shifting ability to laugh out loud and jump into the fray. after all, 'it started with a giggle.'

the link to this living-life-out-loud-artist comes from toby goldsmith.


collaboration, cohabitation, cooperation

"An early addition to my wood pieces was the incorporation of my wife, Kaaren Wiken's finely detailed embroideries. Her colorful works of fiber art brings another level of meaning to my works, a collaborative effort that has taken us in directions we never would have imagined separately." Tom Rauschke

husband and wife team tom rauschke and kaaren wiken have been collaborating for more than 30 years. he turns and hand carves wood, inlaying kaaren's detailed embroidery into the intricate vessels. sky bowl, pictured above, took the pair several years to complete. kaaren's continuous embroidered landscape scene, inlaid all the way around the black walnut bowl, depicts one entire day from sunrise to sunset. this elaborate and subtly colored embellishment is truly a labor of love. collaboration, cohabitation and cooperation at its finest.



“The shoes are getting me places, taking me places.” Joanne Bedient

a shopping trip with her daughter that garnered a pair of vintage, tomato-red pumps worthy of miranda (the 1950's miranda, not the sex-in-the-city miranda) sparked a new attitude and a new subject for joanne bedient's art. she handbuilds the raku-fired shoes, creating textures that resemble the fabric, buttons and buckles found on the real thing. bedient makes bodacious bottles too. check them out here.


meaning more

ok, i admit it. one look at this cup and my inner-activist popped out. it was too easy. maureen and michael banner's hand wrought sterling silver holloware is contemporary and sleek. their sculptural yet functional teapots have long, sinewy handles with graceful curving lines. their work is stunning.

they also made this kiddish cup. while every bit as attractive as the others, it bears a title that could have more meaning than they anticipated, given the current state of affairs in washington. the name of this work? 'burning bush'. remind you of another expensive 'piece of work'? stunning too, for sure, but he stuns in a boggle-the-mind way. burning bush. enough said.


new year's revolution

"We are the true revolutionaries in this society because we value the work of our hands; we value tradition and history. We understand very deeply that the handmade object is what connects us to the people who buy from us. The object is imbued with our souls." Judy Stone

drawing inspiration from the garden that surrounds her studio, california artist judy stone
fabricates fractured vessels by cutting and rejoining metal with woven copper wire, rivets and tubing. she taught herself enameling, the process of fusing glass to metal, in the late sixties while working on a fulbright scholarship in germany. more than three decades later, stone continues to teach enameling worldwide and remains a fierce advocate for the revival of her beloved craft. now that's a revolution worth joining this year!


more than meets the eye

can you tell that this chair is only four inches high? four inches! and it is chock full of surprises. to see what i mean, click here and scroll down the page. although best known for her anodized titanium still-life and landscape pins, noel yovovich jumped outside of her comfort zone to create this box. it took her more than a year to complete. ingenious.


an element of surprise

"Boxes have always intrigued me, the idea of interacting with an object, lifting a lid and perhaps discovering something inside. I enjoy seeing peoples faces as they tentatively lift the wings of one of my birds and smile when they find a fish or a shell neatly tucked underneath." Nicola Henshaw

a new kind of heirloom is peeking out of garden gates and gazing up at us from the corner of living room floors. nicola henshaw's carved animal boxes, tables and benches come complete with stories worthy of passing down through the generations. henshaw happily provides us with the first sparks of storytelling conversation with descriptions taken straight from age-old fables, like the one below that accompanies her blue crane table

“The crane, resolved to mortify his insolence, took occasion to say, that peacocks were very fine birds indeed, but that he thought it a much nobler thing to be able to rise above the clouds, than to strut about the ground, and be gazed at by children”.
Aesops Fables

henshaw spends hours at the london zoo studying the habits and movement of animals, sketching and pondering before she begins a piece. once carved, she applies color using water based stains and then seals the wood with shellac and bee's wax. her woodcarvings are sculptural and functional, contemporary and folksy, light hearted and seriously beautiful.


consuming conversation

"Like recurring conversations with friends over cups of tea or coffee, this works reflects the consuming conversation of our consumer society. The recycled tin containers used to construct this work are diverted from a destiny as trash, revitalizing the mundane into the extraordinary." Harriete Estel Berman

harriete estel berman crafts teacup stacks from recycled tins, adding sterling silver or brass handles and tucking a magnet inside each cup so that the stacks can be rearranged. her body of work is a powerful statement about consumer consumption's toll on our culture. one of the conversations sparked by berman's beautifully crafted recycled teapots, cups and jewelry is that creativity might very well be at risk of getting caught in the far-reaching net cast by disposable commodities. well said.


like butta'

"I sometimes think of my botanical work in stoneware as preserving a type of fossil record of biological diversity. My functional pieces are rooted in the rituals of human culture and are reminders of our absolute dependence on the natural world." Suzanne Crane

suzanne crane gathers wild plant specimens and presses them into the still-wet clay as she forms each piece of functional stoneware in her virginia studio. all of her wheel thrown pots, baskets, vases, ceremonial cups, pitchers and bowls bear the fossil-like textures of plants from creek beds and blue ridge mountain slopes and a familiar earthy color palette that complements. the butter and cheese domes above feel like a walk in the forest...


shapely solution

david coddaire's oversized 'tall iron vases' have people personality. offering a shapely solution for artfully displaying flowers, some stand almost five feet tall with curvaceous human silhouettes, dusty-pigment patinas, sizzling energy and generous, smiling mouths. i wonder how this rambunctious bunch of ranunculus would look in one of coddaire's iron vases? very sexy.


branching out

"My love of nature, trees, and quiet is perhaps most evident in my pieces incorporating branches. I start my process of creation with an inspirational walk in the woods. I gather fallen branches in just the right stage of dryness. After lugging them back to my studio, I study them for the form that they speak of." Jan Jaque

after forming the basic clay shape, new york potter jan jaque adds an element of surprise by incorporating the fallen branch that inspired the vessel. the slab and coil construction process utilized to create 'teapotnot' is slow and deliberate and includes paddling, scraping, shaping, sanding, coloring and pit-firing the clay along with sanding, carving, staining, fitting and sealing the wood. her patience for the process allows almost total control over the materials. teapotnot is appropriately named - instead of a teapot, i see the graceful curves of an other-worldly dancer practicing at the quintessential ballet bar. sweet.



"Nerikomi, the traditional Japanese technique of creating patterns with colored clay is the inspiration for my work. Colored clays are sliced and stacked repeatedly to form patterns and color/textures in the clay itself, resulting in a single block or loaf made up of thousands of overlapping layers. Cross-sectional slices are cut from the block and joined together to form the vessels. The many layers are thus revealed as fine undulating lines embedded in a surrounding color. The pattern becomes the substance and structure of the form itself rather than just a surface embellishment." Thomas Hoadley

ceramic artist thomas hoadley uses an ancient japanese pottery technique to create his exquisite bowls and platters, but the work is contemporary, refined and elegant. the process is time consuming and labor intensive - the results are worth it. a magical manipulation of materials.