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Fresh Shops: New and Notable Ceramics

Oct 2, 2014

by Valerie Rains

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Every day our community grows in unexpected and delightful ways. For our Fresh Shops series, we spotlight new and noteworthy sellers who have been on Etsy for a handful of months or are waiting for those first few sales.

In light of the fact that contemporary ceramics artists are burning up the blogosphere (and filling Etsy editors’ Favorites lists), we’ve chosen to highlight some of the most exciting new Etsy potters for this Fresh Shops installment. Hand-built or slip-cast, functional or decorative — or, more often, both — and embellished using techniques from Sgraffito to screen-printing, the finished pieces are as beautiful and varied as the artists’ stories.

Free Folding

Like a pie baker rolling out dough, Galilee, Israel-based potter Michal Keren Gelman begins each piece in her ceramic housewares line with a flat sheet of clay — then bends, folds, shapes and embosses those sheets into refined but approachable objects with delicate textures, patterns, and designs. “What fascinates me about working with clay is the ability to leave one’s impression without needing it to be a final one. Clay is a living material — even after it has been fired, changes keep occurring. It absorbs flavors, touches and looks,” says Michal. “And sometimes my materials surprise me, telling me they have a mind of their own. I’ve learned to flow with them, listen to them. And I am often surprised by them: on my way to create something I’ve imagined, something new comes forward and is born.”

Ariane in Oakland

For interior designer Ariane Owens, working in ceramics may be a side pursuit, but it’s one that has been part of her life for decades. “I was taught ceramics and the Majolica technique 20 years ago by my mother, who is a fine artist and teacher. We both still do Majolica pottery and inspire/steal from each other all the time. We use exactly the same materials, but it’s amazing to see our individual styles and personalities come through,” she says.

In her case, that typically means colorful stylized portraits and organic, irregular geometric motifs, which are inspired by vintage pottery and textiles, fashion, interiors and contemporary ceramicists. Ariane currently handles all her production from her home studio in West Oakland — but don’t be surprised if she eventually outgrows the space. “In the future, I plan to merge my art and my design work into my own interiors line,” she says.

Anne Barrell Ceramics

Anyone familiar with the early 20th-century Cornish fisherman-turned-painter Alfred Wallis might feel a flash of recognition upon seeing Anne Barrell’s pictorial glazed-earthenware cups, pitchers, and platters, with their blue, green, and brown hues, nautical motifs, rough lines and off-kilter perspectives. There’s a reason for that: “I’m inspired by British maritime history and 20th-century art, and the paintings of Alfred Wallis are a big influence,” Anne says. She’s even been tapped by the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings, England, to create a line of items in the style of Wallis’ work.

“I have been delighted to sell specially commissioned work at various brick-and-mortar galleries, as well as on Etsy, and I just want to keep on getting better at what I do,” says the artist, who is based in Eastbourne, England, and splits her time between teaching and creating. Also delightful: the peace and quiet her garden studio affords. “I work alone, listening to the radio — it’s a total contrast to teaching, but the two things complement each other. I have a busy family life, too, so I relish that bit of solitude,” she says.

Yulia Tsukerman

When Yulia Tsukerman left her home in Moscow nearly a decade ago, she had a plan for making a living creatively: she was going to be a professional photographer. But after several months of ogling the wares in Jerusalem’s ceramics shops, that plan changed, and Yulia enrolled in the ceramics program at the Belazel Art and Design Academy.

Now, she creates functional housewares and sculptural objects in porcelain and stoneware from her studio in Tel Aviv. “The most exciting part of the process for me is working on the shape of an object. I spend a lot of time checking that every curve and point are exactly where I want them to be, and I don’t stop until I feel that I’m absolutely satisfied and there is nothing else to change,” Yulia says.

In all her striving for pottery perfection, though, Yulia still hasn’t let her love for photography completely dissipate. In fact, she includes a few original snapshots of Israel with every ceramics order she ships out. “Sending the photographs is like giving my clients a little piece of my personal life experience without ever meeting them,” she explains.

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1 Featured Comment

  • GlazeCrazy

    PJ Harvey from GlazeCrazyFiredArts said 5 years ago Featured

    Such beautiful creations. Ceramics encompasses such a broad range of creative opportunities. I'm always impressed seeing the different kinds of art that clay inspires.

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