Ceramics are always a great supporting player on the home decor stage, but this season they're grabbing more of the spotlight. • Today's ceramists are exploring creative textures and finishes, and even the mass market is offering exciting new examples of the pottery arts. From velvety soft, lacy tea light holders to chunky, colorful platters, there's something for everyone.
A piece with lots of patterns can be a conversation starter, whether it was created half a world away by a village artisan or in your hometown.
Ceramics also can help tie a space together, picking up elements — a knitted motif or a color, say — that appear in artwork, throw pillows or rugs elsewhere in the room.
And ceramics are easy to change out when you tire of them.
Homegoods often has cool ceramics that resemble higher-end versions. This spring, you'll find a Provence-style, rustic, mustard-hued lamp base with a honeycomb embossment, an array of chic bird-patterned plates in fine china, and several color-saturated glazed vessels in deep teal or cranberry.
Scandinavian design studio Ferm Living created an ethereal new collection for spring that includes matte white or terra cotta ceramic vases made of stacked spheres and polygons. A series of porcelain pieces, including a teapot and bowl, features a spear geometric in subtle organic tones of charcoal, pale pink, sea foam and curry.
Susan Dwyer, a sculpture major at an art school in Chicago, was inspired by the clean, minimal lines of the city's industrial landscape to create a cool series of vessels evoking factory buildings, water towers and silos. All are hand-formed.
Amy Adams, the brains behind Brooklyn-based Perch studio, has designed a clever series of stacking cups with stenciled rosettes, flowers, garlands or triangles. Available in black and white or turquoise and white, these have a nice folk-arty look and would be versatile little repositories for drinks, flowers or trinkets.
One of the masters of ceramic art, Jonathan Adler, showed his Carnaby collection at the recent New York International Gift Fair. Pieces include the Waves tray and Acid lamp, featuring groovy '70s-inspired graphics. But Adler also has done a lovely group of nature-themed pottery pieces. Motifs include leaves, seed pods and barnacles.
In a new collaboration with South African artisans, West Elm has Maria Moyer's pretty pierced tea light holders and stunning white orbed vases. John Newdigate's fun blue and white fish platters and fish-shaped serveware have a Japanese vibe.
Boston artist Leah Piepgras may have created the ultimate ceramic conversation piece. Her Consumption series of plates have anatomical illustrations for each stage of the digestive tract, from mouth (teacup) to, well, the end of the line for food we eat (dessert plate). At $750 a set, they might be best for display, not dinner.