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How to Start and Style a Handmade Ceramics Collection

Mar 20, 2017

by Lisa Tisle handmade and vintage goods

The rise in popularity of gorgeous handmade ceramics is a huge trend in both handmade and interiors right now. With talented local ceramicists making stunning pieces to covet, it’s a great time to start a little collection. There are so many different styles of vessels, from simple and practical to whimsical and highly decorative. So it’s easy to start collecting with a piece or two that you love, and build from there.

Handmade ceramics have intrinsic beauty in their shape, glazes and decoration. They can look amazing on their own or grouped, with or without flowers or foliage. Placed on a windowsill, shelves, table or sideboard they make a lovely vignette.

Following are a few examples of different ceramic styles that may help as a starting point to curate a cohesive collection.

Simple beauty

These beautifully crafted shapes need to be styled simply. Take your cue from the refined Japanese aesthetic with a small collection of wheel thrown pieces. Space and balance will compliment a few pieces perfectly. Tip: odd numbers always work best.

The bowl and the vase on the left were made by Sayaka Ogawa Ceramics and the stoneware sake jug/vase is from Mud Fusion

When styling these ceramics don’t overwhelm them with masses of blooms. A single sculptural branch or flower and some unusual pods are perfect.

Mud Fusion tea bowl is grouped with two tumblers and a white donburi bowl from Sayaka Ogawa Ceramics.


Tip: Be aware of varying heights and of creating a visual balance with size, shape and colour.

Fun and quirky

Add some fun and humour to your home with ceramics that have quirky features.

Gail Cockatoo Collins makes a range of adorable animal planters, like this deer as well as giraffes, cats and elephants. Style them with other fun pieces for an eclectic collection.

Little pinch pots from Warisas and plate by Susan Chen Ceramics.

Tip: when creating a vignette consider the colours as well as the quirky style. These pieces are whimsical in style and juxtapose white porcelain with hand painted brights so they work really well together. The little pots are brightly coloured inside and feature sweet little tassels on the rim.

Plates can create a backdrop feature for a collection, and can be seen better, when standing up. Just lean the plate against the wall or the back of your shelves and secure the top with Blu Tac.

Modern rustic

The trend for modern rustic is huge in interiors. It taps into the retro vibe of the ‘70s where we’ve adapted the best of the decade and reinterpreted it for our contemporary homes. Indoor plants continue to be another great example of this look and they pair wonderfully with ceramic vessels.

Think rough textures and finishes and a natural colour palette for this vibe. A modern rustic ceramics collection lends itself to en masse groupings, lots of foliage and that other ‘70s throwback that we all love: wall hangings. Kim Lightfoot’s sculptural natural rope piece is a lovely example.

Tip: Planters don’t have to be purpose made – any vessel is a potential home for a plant. The rustic spotted soup bowl and small stoneware bowl, both from Makers General Store, look gorgeous with plants in them. This collection would look too heavy with too much brown, so the large speckled white planter from Earth Darlings is a nice counterpoint.


Make your modern rustic look dramatic and quirky!

Succulents can be fun and they’re definitely on trend too. Use their inherent quirk and sculptural form to style a different look for your ceramics collection.

Get stacking! A spotted soup bowl and stoneware bowl from Makers General Store combine to create a cool totem planter.

The drama of these stunning Makers General Store sculptural vases is enhanced by a single wayward succulent.

Tip: succulents will grow in water so ceramic bud vases can be a fun and unusual way to display them.

Whether you’re starting a ceramics collection from scratch or adding to what you already have, buy what you love and have fun styling. There are so many Australian ceramicists making beautiful and very varied pieces – start bookmarking your faves!

Styling and photography Lisa Tilse, We Are Scout.

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