I haven’t thought much about pottery since my brief stint as a member of my middle-school ceramics club. (I blame the 7 a.m. starts for my not sticking it out.) But with our collective thirst for nostalgia anything, it was perhaps inevitable that this art form turned decor trend—which goes back thousands of years, way before that scene in Ghost—would eventually resurface. And, unlike the misshapen cat I made in ’97, today’s ceramics (and pottery, which is a type of ceramic) are sleek, minimalist and undeniably chic. Think matte lavender teapots, avant-garde vases and high-gloss plates. “This is not your grandma’s pottery,” says Caitlin O’Reilly of Cylinder Studio in Prince Edward County, Ont., whose contemporary pieces have a Kinfolk-magazine-meets-Tom-Ford feel.
O’Reilly sees this revival in part as a pushback against our digital existence, a sentiment that ties into the homespun arts-and-crafts vibe seen in fall collections from Stella McCartney, Coach 1941, Dior and others. It can take an artist weeks to perfect a piece, which is typically made from one of three types of clay— porcelain, stoneware or terracotta—and then glazed and kiln-fired. No two mugs or serving platters are alike. “Each piece contains the fingerprint of the maker,” says O’Reilly. Mérida Anderson, of Montreal-based YYY Collection, agrees: “There’s a connection there. People love the idea of drinking out of a handmade cup or eating out of a handmade bowl.”
Thanks to websites like Etsy (which has helped artists turn their pottery hobbies into successful side hustles), there are more lines to shop than ever before. Even your favourite luxury home brands are hopping on the ceramics bandwagon; my dream penthouse is filled with Gucci vases from the house’s fledgling decor line. I can’t think of a better investment, unless it’s to enroll in a pottery class—afternoons or evenings only, please.
This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of ELLE Canada.
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