Diana Fayt ceramic pieces.

There’s something to be said for holding a handmade ceramics piece in your hand. There’s so much heft and character to it. The tactile effect is cool and soothing, whether the finish is smooth or cratered and bumpy. It feels like holding a piece of history, even though the piece may be recently made.  Whether just for display or everyday use, handmade ceramics are a wonderful alternative to big box store cookie cutter dishes, serving bowls, vases and more.

Just what does the term “ceramic” mean though? There does seem to be some confusion on this topic. Firstly, ceramics are made with clay and other non-metal natural materials which have been manipulated and then fired to create a hard finish. Ceramics is a actually a catch-all term for pottery, porcelain, earthenware and stoneware. These sub-categories are differentiated by what materials they use in the making of the finished object. So, if you don’t know whether something is porcelain or not, just call it ceramic and you will be factually correct!

In the home, ceramics can be both functional (like dinnerware) and just for show (sculptural pieces). Even the functional pieces, like plates, serving bowls, pitchers and crocks can make a wonderful visual addition and add character to your home decor though.

Artisan ceramics are a great investment and are meant to be treasured and passed down to future generations. If care is taken, they are meant to last and can be an eco-friendly investment.

Here are some gorgeous ceramic pieces for inspiration in starting your own collection.

Little Flower Designs spoon rests.

Image: Little Flower Designs

1. Chevron Spoon Rests from Little Flower Designs

These beautiful spoon rests are part of the Chevron collection from ceramicist Linda Johnson. The food, microwave and dishwasher safe collection features plates, mugs, bowls, a serving platter, a serving bowl and a tea pot. The pattern is hand drawn on each piece and made with creamy white stoneware. The collection has a sweet, homey and rustic appeal to it.

David Hicks ceramic art.

Image: David Hicks

2. Still Life from David Hicks

David Hicks is a California artist who creates sculptural ceramics inspired from the botanical and agricultural world. His work can be found in private and public collections around the world and is for sale at higher end galleries. While his pieces are probably not attainable for most, it’s always fun to see what is possible in an artist’s hands.

Julia Paul Pottery ceramic cups.

Image: Julia Paul Pottery

3. Summer Drink Cups from Julia Paul Pottery                 

Sometime the simplest designs can be the most stunning, and that’s the case with these ceramic tumblers. Perfect for tea, lemonade or a mint julep, these fresh and modern cups are glazed in glossy white on cream white stoneware. They are food and dishwasher safe, but not fit for microwaves. Mix and match with the other lovely functional pottery pieces found in this artist’s shop.

Owl sculpture from Lorraine Izon.

Image: Reunion Gallery

4. Stoneware Owls from Lorraine Izon

Lorraine Izon is a UK sculptor and illustrator who blends both talents to create animal and bird sculptures. She takes much of her inspiration from the forms and patterns found in the natural world and prefers to work with stoneware and earthenware clays. Her work is available in galleries in the UK.

Top Image: Diana Fayt