First up- do you know what Etsy is? Etsy is an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and supplies. It also provides unique factory-manufactured items under Etsy’s new guidelines, which were released in October 2013. These items cover a wide range, including art, photography, clothing, jewellery, food, bath and beauty products, quilts, knick-knacks, toys, and ceramics. The site was launched on June 18, 2005 and by the end of 2013, had 30 million users registered on its website.
Part of the joy of navigating the Etsy site is that you very quickly depart from the beaten path and discover all sorts of creators of exclusive items. My particular bag is ceramics. From practical vases and pots to more intricate purely artistic affairs, I just love a well-crafted unique ceramic. Here are just a sprinkling of great sites and great ceramics I found on my last foray into Etsy-land. (By the way it’s called Etsy after an expression in the Italian language; but don’t ask me for any more information that that!)
1. Vitrified Studio
This is my favourite (just) in ceramics-world. Vitrified Studio is based in Portland, Oregon and is run by Shelley who makes all the products by hand in her small home-based studio at the bottom of her garden. You can’t get more cottage industry than that! Each piece found in her Etsy shop window is unique and made only using her hands, a few simple tools and of course the pottery wheel. The designs and ideas are more than clever- you can see that they have been crafted with love and affection. Knowing that just a pair of hands has been the chief moulder of the piece makes each one more treasured.
2. Pigeon Toe Ceramics
Again, this small company produce remarkable pieces that will continue to delight you and your friends and family. They have an interesting philosophy that argues life is too short to have anything but the best and the most beautiful around you. Their pieces would become part of your life narrative and become and heirloom as well as a companion for life. A bit to over-the-top? Perhaps. But their ceramics speak for themselves.
This is a small family business run by Mary and Cory. When you look at their creations you are immediately struck by the simple beauty (or the beautiful simplicity!) of their pieces. Each piece is unique and never-to-be-repeated. The only difficulty is in choosing between the items displayed. They are all so “must-have”- and few people have an unlimited budget…
4. One and Many
One and many was established by Ya’ara Landau Katz, an Israeli industrial designer with a passion for ceramics. The pieces are difficult to describe but well worth a visit via Etsy.
5. Urban Cartel
We go down under for our next producer of fine ceramics. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Urban Cartel was founded in early 2011 by Craig Pearce who has a background in Visual Arts (B.A. Ceramic Design) and, of all things, hospitality management. Odd bedfellows? Perhaps, but combining these two strengths resulted in the production of absolutely delightful handmade porcelain tableware items. Craig majors on clean lines & functional design. The pieces are also practical. They are meant to be used not just to gather dust on a shelf- consequently all the ceramics are dishwasher, microwave and food safe. Take a look at the great cloud dishes here!
So I hope this little descriptive piece has whetted your appetite to explore the highways and byways of Etsy… But be warned, you may not re-surface for ours, and are likely to be a little light in the wallet department afterwards. But then again you’ll have some ceramics to treasure forever!