Updated: May 9, 2019
Handmade ceramics often combines function, form and emotion to bring their surroundings to elevated heights and that’s not the only reason why people love them!
We can find more and more handmade ceramics on people’s tables as well as at some of the world most famous restaurants: even though they are usually three to six times as much as standard-issue white china, it is still becoming an inevitable trends in today’s foodie and decoration world. When paired with taste and touch, these handcrafted ceramic pieces deliver a true sensory experience, making each bite of food special and emotional.
A part the refined quality of these objects, there are other reasons to explain why you should invest in handmade ceramics.
1) The modernization of this traditional technique, thanks to the rise of new generation of the young ceramists.
Folk art, also called “Art of people” is a movement which was developed in the late 1920s and 1930’s in Japan, by the founder Yanagi Sōetsu.
Yanagi Sōetsu discovered beauty in everyday ordinary and utilitarian objects created by nameless and unknown craftsmen. According to Yanagi, utilitarian objects made by the common people are "beyond beauty and ugliness” and "There is no greater opportunity for appreciating beauty than through its use in our daily lives, no greater opportunity for coming into direct contact with the beautiful."
The world of ceramics is largely influenced by this movement: in Japan or in anywhere else, the new generation of artisans are fully engaged in the learning from their youngest age: they develop with experience different skills and characteristics. The modernization of this tradition technique is interpreted by an enormous diversity in the styles and in the textures of nowadays handmade ceramic objects: Minimalistic, Industrial, Farmhouse, Rustic, Country, and of course chic/elegant which is inherited from its creation. The “old” is becoming “new” and young ceramists keep surprising us every day with their endless imagination and astonishing techniques, also helped by the invention of some of the latest technologies such as 3D printing.
Beyond their daily uses, the ceramic objects, longtime being forgotten by the art market, also represent a new canon in fine art collection thanks to its modernization. There is a fuzzy boundary between craftsmen/artisan and artist in the past few years in the ceramic sector.
To invest in a handmade ceramic object is to invest in a piece of the history but also to the power of our own hands, the modernization of our traditional values, and the willingness to create and to move forward constantly.
In the picture: Traditional Oribe tableware, revised and handmade by the Japanese ceramist Ando Masahiko - a combination of the old technique and new forms and motifs, available at www.galerietokyo.com
2) Inexperienced textures and colors – uniqueness which factory-made ceramics can’t provide.
The texture as well as the touching of handmade ceramics is showing a very interesting path of development: from a relatively rough touching feeling (pottery) to a silky and icy glazed surface (porcelain) and then become a harmonious mix and combination of the two. The preference on the texture is before all a story of taste and personal style.
One of the first and most important steps to succeed in a handmade ceramic object is called “Prepare the clay - the base”, which consists of choosing different clays and kneading them. The “base” is the secret of some of the most famous ceramists: it is the composition of different chemicals, oxides and metal which allows them to get the ideal texture which is adapted to the form / weight and even the style of their own creations. The “base” will then become the material, which determines the patterns of the object. (We will take a deep dive into this point in our future articles).
On the contrary, industrial production use the clay mixed by machine; actually, most of the factories used already prepared material so the step of “work and prepare the clay” doesn’t exist in their production cycle.
It explains why the sensation is totally different when holding a handmade ceramic object from a factory-made one; Also, it is very difficult for factories to reproduce any of this personalized texture in a standardized way, so invest in a handmade ceramic object is to invest in something unique in the world.
Same for the color (also called “glaze”). The glaze is the icon of the ceramist who is searching to be distinguished from others and it is often the result of the ceramist long term personal research - it refers to thousands of times of tests before one glaze is being fully developed and stabilized. In combining different ingredients and materials (for example: vegetal elements), ceramists can create the world’s most unique and amazing color for their objects.
All these research and pre-work allow the handmade ceramics to shine in their own textures and colors: they are definitely one-of-a kind in the world. So to invest in handmade ceramics is to invest in something unique for yourself.
In the picture: different textures (patterns) and glazes of some Japanese handmade ceramics, available at www.galerietokyo.com
3) Classics never go out of style.
Handmade ceramics can accompany us from generation to generation (if we take good care of them!). Their exceptional quality and uniqueness make them difficult to really go out of style. One good set of handmade ceramic tableware can be paired with any surroundings, colors and atmosphere if we use them in the right way.
Compared to the standardized industrial white china products, they bring much more personalities and style in the decoration.
Look at the below example to see how a good set of handmade ceramics dish plates can be adapted easily into different table settings just by pairing with a very little different accessories.
On the first photo, we’ve created a farmhouse style by serving on a wooden table, decorated with some dried plant branches; the Kohkaku glazed dish plates (available at https://www.galerietokyo.com/page-d-articles/KOHKAKU-Ryuji-IWASAKI) slide perfectly into the brown golden color tone, bringing warmness and relaxation into the whole atmosphere.
On the second photo, we’ve created a very industrial style, using the same Kohkaku handmade dish plates. The only difference is that we have added a pair of brass serving spoon and fork, which accentuate the metallic feeling of the whole setting. Now, the Kohkaku glaze reminds us of bricks and stones, which still incorporate perfectly with the surrounding.
So to invest in the handmade ceramics is to invest in effortless styles and in values which will last forever.
And you, why you buy and invest in handmade ceramics? Leave us a comment and we would love to hear from you!