Ready to Use

Ready to Use

Published on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. This article appears in the February/March 2019 issue of American Craft Magazine.
Mediums Clay
Author Staff
Branan Mercer cups

Branan Mercer, drippy glaze cups

Branan Mercer

Branan Mercer’s cups may be simple in form – slim bases angle outward into fuller vessels – but from this template springs endless possibility. The Birmingham, Alabama, artist contrasts stoneware and a drippy glaze, often in different hues, to create pieces that almost seem to be in process, even as they hold your morning juice.

Washington state ceramist Adrienne Eliades treasures the everyday, citing “routine and ritual as the thresholds of culture.” Her small peach basket epitomizes the care and attention she takes with these objects that sit in the background of life. Its form – “perfect for berries,” Eliades notes – is perfectly useful, with a pleasing, handmade presence; the color makes whatever it holds somehow seem fresher.

Vancouver artist Lindsey Hampton produces a line of sleek ceramics. Her teapots and mugs might catch your eye for their ridges and strong doses of color, but even her simplest wares, such as these candleholders, testify to the precision and spirit of her work. Hampton uses a reflective interior glaze, so that the burning wick gives off as much light as possible.

The cosmic creations of Coywolf Studio can’t help but make you smile; Ian Buchbinder’s mugs, bowls, and pitchers, each hand-thrown and handpainted, show astronaut cats and dogs drifting through star-dotted expanses. Based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Buchbinder will add a particular pet to a piece on request, but his standard wares, such as this canine-emblazoned pitcher, are plenty charming.

Melissa Mencini’s journey in ceramics has taken her all over the country. She studied in Illinois, taught in Alaska, and now produces her line of functional work in Austin, Texas. Her Stormy Skies plate seems to commemorate her travels, as screenprinted vintage biplanes soar against a swirl of gray and blue.