Handmade pottery: the magic of small-scale production
A few months ago, we saw how the potters more influencers in Instagram gave a leading role to the background of their pieces. It is not surprising that we also want the recipients that we will use to consume these foods also incorporate a deeper history about their author and know-how.
This way of understanding handmade pottery is also present in almost all handicrafts. “The beauty of imperfection” or wabi sabi is a sample of it, providing a plus of warmth and authenticity. They suppose the counterpoint to a society subjected for years to serial industrial production that now wants to return to something more essential. For this reason, the texture and tone of ceramics has prominent role. The Japanese and Nordic influence are those that exploit these two points, being for this reason the source of inspiration for many new potters.
This vision directly affects the way of producing. Small series made by hand leave behind the monotonous dishes made in factories under the same pattern and style. This gives a greater weight to each unit, which although it belongs to the same series, contains characteristic differences.
In an interview in the New York Times, the veteran potter David Reid said that “People look at ceramics a humanity is reflected in them. That’s why people are moving from polished steel and stainless steel to something warmer. “
Creativity and therapy
Robert Sullivan, Vogue’s collaborating editor, said that now handmade pottery is popular because it is “among the most obvious and literally handmade things” and “it is an antidote to all electronic products.” This idea explains, in part, why so many independent potters have appeared in recent years. Although ceramics make it possible to produce everyday elements present in every home (plates, vases, cups, …) it has also spread thanks to the meteoric success of open workshops.
Just 10 years ago, ceramic workshops began to be popular in large cities open to the public. What at first seemed like an entertainment after work, little by little was transformed into something more consistent, giving way to schools where future professionals would be trained. The success of these schools has also changed the way of understanding the ceramic workshop itself. If before they were spaces of work closed to the public, today they are the opposite. Today, most workshops have been converted into creative spaces open to all people interested in ceramics. From amateurs to professionals, each workshop offers training courses where artistic or functional pieces are made.
On the other hand, one of the advantages is that with clay is that you can do everything and do not need many resources to build it. While the work of the metal requires a forge or the carpentry requires a multitude of tools, the clay is much simpler. With only one wheel or a mold and an oven we can start producing handmade pottery. And besides, it does not expire.
All of this has allowed to bring the pottery closer to people, whether for professional, vocational or as a therapy. The satisfaction of making a dish or a functional cup with your own hands can be the engine of a personal change or as a jump to self-employment. So why not try it? Many potters who are setting trends today began very recently thanks to some of these courses or workshops. The specialization and the experience have allowed to perfect their technique, style and sale. In this last, the fairs and especially the new online sales platforms (Etsy) and social networks have been decisive. Thanks to them today it is much more accessible to be known and to begin to build a recognizable brand identity.