Pottery of the 21st Century

A new school of potters bring ceramics into the 21st century

A ceramic noodly lamp by Erin Smith.
Ceramic “Noodly” lamp by Erin Smith @ foragemodernworkshop.com

photos by tj turner. prop styling by mandy finders

As style lovers are looking for unique home accents to make their space feel more authentic and personalized, pottery will continue to be a popular trend in home décor this year. 

But these aren’t your grandma’s ceramics. Pottery’s new look is minimalist and graphic, blending the line between sculpture and functional object. Smooth, organic lines as well as geometric shapes and asymmetry are currently the height of chic—and just the thing for anyone looking to add a shot of cool into an interior.  

One recent trend in home décor is muted colors and smooth, matte accents, an aesthetic that’s been embraced by Gray Home + Lifestyle. The Excelsior home store recently debuted Gray Pottery, its own collection of bone-white ceramics. The 16-piece line includes dishes, serveware, crocks, and even a pour-over coffee vessel that feature soft, natural curves and classic shapes—an aesthetic that fits right in with the store’s selection of artisanal, modern wood, brass, and copper tabletop goods. 

The collection was designed by Gray’s mother-and-daughter owners Deanna and Chloe Lappen and manufactured by heritage maker Red Wing Stoneware Co. in Red Wing, Minnesota. “We love their heritage,” says Chloe, “so it was a no brainer to ask them to produce it for us.”

On the more angular end of the chic ceramics spectrum are the glazed works of Minneapolis potter Ginny Sims-Burchard, who decorates them with painterly, high-contrast brush strokes. While utilitarian in design, her pieces feature artful surfaces that pull inspiration from Greek mythology, Chinese and English ceramic history, and childhood memories. 

Ceramic artist Megan Burke creates her whimsical planters, ring dishes, and figurines in her Minneapolis design studio,
Tinyloud Ceramics. True to its name, Tinyloud’s pieces are small in size yet bold in design. Her “Shut Eye” ring dishes are shaped like tiny hands, inspired by all-seeing-eye symbolism, and her figurines feature gold-flecked crowns (which can double as ring holders). Burke’s planters, which are illustrated with doll-like faces, are the perfect receptacle for succulent plants. Unique pieces like these make uniform, mass-produced ceramics seem like a missed opportunity for personal expression.