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Functional Pottery Ideas to Complete Your Home This New Year

January 26, 2022 by Julia Weaver of Redfin

Dating back centuries ago, pottery has always been a popular form of artistic expression and has played a critical role in creating a captivating space. Functional pottery is beautiful in both form and function, purpose and practicality. It’s created to evoke joy through everyday use. After all, there’s no denying that drinking from a handmade mug or serving dinner in a bowl created by a local artist means so much more. From dishes and decorative pieces to flowerpots and lamps, finding a unique piece to add beauty in any room of the house can make all the difference.

Handmade pottery mug
Handmade pottery mug

While there aren’t many rules when it comes to expressing your personality and style through pottery, one thing’s for certain – it shouldn’t be stored away in a cupboard. Don’t know where to start? We’ve asked artists, from Lake Tahoe, CA all the way to Orlando, FL, to share their best functional pottery ideas to complete your home this new year.

Mix and Match Colors, Patterns, and Textures

Ceramics and pottery in the home don’t have to match. You can create a dinner set that is so much more interesting if you mix and match colors, patterns, textures. Pick things that call to you. They can have a similar vibe or be work made by the same artist but in different styles. You’ll end up with an eclectic but unique set of dinnerware. – Emmanuelle Ceramics

Buy the Right Clay for the Right Job

We specialize in “Flameware” pottery, a special clay and glaze combination that allows the user to cook with the pottery over direct heat. Not all pottery can do this, in fact, most pottery is designed for serving or baking, but not for extreme temperature changes. When buying pottery, you want to make sure it’s the right clay for the right job. When choosing the right pot, make sure to ask if the glazes are food-safe, what temperature the pot is rated for, and if there are any special handling instructions. – Clay Coyote

Find Pieces whose Stories Connect to Yours

Thoughtfully handmade pots will hold space in the same way that they will hold a fresh bouquet of flowers, or two fingers of your favorite scotch. They are vessels that contain their maker’s story while simultaneously serving a delicious home-cooked meal. Choose pots whose stories connect to yours and heighten your quality of day with each use. – Harry Levenstein Pottery

Pottery Wall Planter
Pottery Wall Planter

Hang Platters on Walls for Display Decorative

platters are very versatile allowing for food service, wall decoration, and coffee table decoration. The platter itself presents a large surface for exploration of color and texture which can introduce whimsy and abstract expression. When not using our platters for serving food, we love to hang them on our walls for display. – Luke Metz Ceramics

Keep an Eye out for Distinctive, Handmade Pieces

When contemplating your table, look for distinctive hand-made pieces, organic and out-of-the-ordinary. Pair them with classics and mix up your table. Colors are great to mix and match, and give you the opportunity to complete the palette of your room. The eye loves variety and will spend more time enjoying the display.- Earthborn Pottery

Mix and Match New Mugs with Vintage Ones

Create a one-of-a-kind look for your kitchen by mixing new and vintage ceramic mugs. Look for unique mugs on Etsy or make your own with our ‘Hot Cocoa and Clay Pottery Kit’. Then, display your mug collection on a wall-mounted hook rack. – Pottery With a Purpose

Look for the Maker’s Mark

As an item is handmade, always look for the maker’s mark usually found underneath the piece. Look for pieces that compliment the aesthetic of your home – earthy, minimalist, wabi-sabi etc. – Firing Time

Connect with the Story, Upcycle, and Mix Materials

Look for pieces with a story to add emotional depth to already-gorgeous design choices. These can be mixed media pieces incorporating upcycled ceramic materials, handmade items from a region you love, or pieces with a unique creative process. Upcycle broken pottery to keep the ceramic theme strong in your home decor. This is a great way to re-incorporate a beloved item that can no longer fulfill its original purpose. Incorporating mixed materials is a great way to tie multiple decor items together across various rooms or in a small space. Display them near a piece that's either one material or the other to reinforce the cohesiveness. - Nozomi Project

Begin with Smaller Pieces

To put it simply, functional pottery is art. Unlike paintings and sculptures that fingers are not permitted to touch. Handmade function pottery is designed to be used, held, and enjoyed. Try incorporating small pieces at first. You may even find you don’t mind emptying your dishwasher because each piece feels so incredibly special. - Seagrass Pottery

Express your Unique Taste

one of my favorite functional pottery ideas is to declutter and be selective with everyday items that express your unique taste and bring you joy. I love the clean look of floating shelves to show off the form and textures. Also, it’s fun to change them seasonally. – Lily Pon Ceramics

Find Pieces that Push the Boundaries

The wonderful thing about using pottery to accent your home is your wide access to high-quality ceramic objects at affordable prices. You can incorporate some of the best, most innovative ceramics produced around the world for a fraction of the cost of other artistic media such as paintings or sculptures. Ceramics, as an art form, is undergoing a modern renaissance: artists are pushing boundaries in terms of shape, texture, scale, glazes, and even ceramic materials. Bring all those attributes into the palm of your hand with a bowl or mug or vase – items you can use and intimately appreciate on a daily basis. – JTW Ceramics

Handmade Ceramics Combine Functionality with Craftsmanship and Art

More than just an object you use every day, handmade pots have a personal, human connection, and deserve to be displayed in our beautiful home. Especially so if they are made by someone you know and have a connection with, or by yourself. – Turning Earth

Display your Pottery on Windowsills

I love decorating my window sills with windowsill planters, bud vases, and other smaller-footprint pottery pieces. I especially love bud vases because all you need is a flower or two from your yard, or an evergreen branch in winter. And for windowsill planters, a great tip is to find a local plant seller who can help you choose the perfect small plant for your particular window’s light and temperature. – Ros O’Brien Ceramics

Handmade pottery candle holders
Handmade pottery candle holders

Uncover Inspiration in Ordinary Moments

Weaving ceramics into your daily life and home may inspire you to experience pleasure in ordinary moments. Enjoying your morning ritual of coffee or tea from a handcrafted ceramic mug may offer a pleasant start to your day. A ceramic candle on your coffee table can set a beautiful evening glow to a room to curl up with a book or glass of wine with friends. Fresh cut flowers or a cascading plant from a ceramic wall planter can add some greenery to any room. Ceramics can bring modern tableware into your home and highlight the beauty of your food when you gather those closest to you. Embracing ceramics in your home can add an earthy element and opportunity for the creation of special memories or traditions and is one of my favorite functional pottery ideas. – Jenna Archer Shop

Discover Countless uses for your Pottery

A beautiful large bowl can be a very versatile decorating tool. One day, it can be used to display fresh fruit. The next day, baking and serving a meal. Then, cleaned and put on display as an art piece. – Packer Pottery

Find a Potter who is Passionate

Handmade functional stoneware generally has a muted appearance which lends itself to many variations in interior decor. As Michael Cardew said, “when a potter not only knows his job but delights in it…the glow of life will begin to appear in his pots…(and)…when it is in daily use it will gradually become visible, just as a good character comes to be appreciated only through continued acquaintance.” – Mantra Pottery

Add a Splash of Color to your Space

Planters are a great addition to any room because they can add a splash of color and enliven a space. To avoid overwatering look for a planter that has drainage holes and is also glazed on the inside. planters that are unglazed on the inside tend to retain more moisture for a longer period of time. Besides using color as a determining factor, handmade ceramics can also have different textures that make a piece unique and tie a room together. A ceramic artist can often make a matching saucer that will catch excess water, protect your furniture, and make for a more striking aesthetic. – RNK Ceramics

Avoid Clutter by Utilizing Functional Pottery

Beautiful artwork gives us great joy, but as our lives get overcrowded in all dimensions, it’s important to avoid clutter. Ceramics can be a versatile creative medium even as it is functional. It’s a pleasure to be able to use beautiful and unique hand-crafted items in our daily lives knowing that it is also an investment in the local artists’ community. – Clay In The Potters Hands

Awaken your Daily Routines

Grant your family permission to allow beautiful ceramics into your home for everyday use. For example, a streak tray can be used to hold small bites at the dinner table or even for the kids to snack grab and go. Frequent use of special pottery will enliven your home routines. – Make (A)way Crafts

Handmade pottery candle
Handmade pottery candle

Designs are Limitless

Why not consider creative handmade pottery you use daily? A simple mug that fits your hand to have your morning coffee, an elaborate utensil holder on the kitchen counter to not only hold, but artfully display your hand-crafted wood spoons, and other cooking tools. Serving your meals in custom-designed bowls and plates will bring an artistic flair to your evening meals. Sculptural design ideas are limitless and go beyond being a works of art to be admired, they even become a necessity. Just a quick search on the internet for “handmade pottery” or a trip to your local Craftsmen’s studio, or fine crafts gallery will put the best pottery artist work at your fingertips. – Michele Hastings and Jeff Brown Pottery, Gypsy Potters

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To learn more about handcrafted pottery made by Jenna Archer or to shop her store, visit her website.


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