Think of all of the types of ceramic pots and dishes you have in your home. There are everyday dishes, including plates, mugs, and sugar bowls; bakeware like casseroles and bread cloches; storage vessels like fermentation jars and butter dishes; and serving pieces like platters, pitchers, and teapots. The handmade pots that I have do more than fill these various functions, they also make my daily routines more engaging and enjoyable, as noticing their subtle qualities helps me to be more thoughtful and thinking about the makers helps me feel connected to others.
This issue is dedicated to all of the handmade ceramics found in our kitchens, and the artists who make them. Through conversations with the artists themselves and authors’ discussions and analyses, we get the opportunity to learn what drives them to make this type of work and how they come up with the designs.
Marty Fielding shares his salt cellar design (2), which came about during the early days of the pandemic shutdown. Wanting an object that felt monumental, to honor the importance of the salt it stored, he looked to Brutalist architecture. To create a dynamic surface, he put his knowledge of color theory to work, layering contrasting underglazes to achieve depth and vibrancy.
Isatu Hyde’s former studio was located over a café and through discussions with the chef, she learned about the way bread was baked in cast-iron lidded pots to retain moisture. Thinking about those forms, and the fact that clay would make for a lighter final product, she developed a ceramic bread cloche for the chef to use (3). Hyde shares her process and the source of the micaceous clay body that makes these cloches durable for oven use.
Brandon Reintjes discusses how Sarah Jaeger, longtime Montana potter, has developed a new series of earthenware plates decorated with asymmetrical compositions of botanical patterns. As with her earlier wheel-thrown porcelain ware (4), ideas of generosity and functionality are central to the pieces.
Edith Garcia discusses the KitchInventions series by Cheyenne Chapman Rudolph, which consists of interactive performances using elaborately designed serving sets and invented kitchen tools as vehicles for building an understanding of constructed gender roles, generational expectations, and the role objects play as markers of class ideals and individual identity.
Sandra Torres slip casts visually delicate yet strong vessels designed for daily use (1). She describes her process for casting many components, then altering and joining them together to create an endless variety of forms.
Studio visit artists Josh Manning and Hona Leigh Knudsen explain the way they planned their studio layout, as well as the ways they develop, market, and sell their functional pots that are right at home in a kitchen.
The Clay Culture article on ceramic rocket stoves is a different take on the way that ceramics can be used in the production and service of food. These specially designed, easy to construct stoves increase efficiency and decrease household air pollution from solid-mass fuels used for cooking around the world.
Here’s to the handmade pots in our homes that invite our attention every day, as we discover nuances in their forms and surfaces and build our own personal memories on the ideas already infused into the objects by the makers.