Nicolette Johnson Assemblage vases

These Surrealist-Inspired Vases Are the Breakthrough That Resulted From a Creative Block

At the beginning of the pandemic, some designers may have viewed the ensuing solitude as an opportunity to "bloom where you grow." But not everyone found it easy to stay inspired. "After lockdown started in the early months of 2020, I felt completely unmotivated to make work," confesses the Brisbane ceramicist Nicolette Johnson. After a while, however, Johnson gave herself permission to make literally anything, and began sculpting shapes out of soft clay — inspired by Surrealist and Constructivist motifs — and attaching them to small wheel-thrown vases.
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vase versa mini pink khaki in situ 1

These Duotone Vases Are Reversible, Depending On Your Color Scheme — Or Mood

The up-and-coming Australian designer Dean Toepfer had been primarily working on commissions and larger furniture pieces — like a bar cart made from a faux terrazzo composite and a sling chair upholstered in pink shag — since graduating from RMIT. But with the onset of the pandemic, Toepfer decided to reassess. "Vase Versa is my first object collection, and first self-produced range," Toepfer explains.
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Cape Town ceramicist Ceri Muller

The Cape Town Ceramicist Making Crinkled Vases and Clay Faces

Here’s a tip for anyone suffering from the fear of starting something creative: Make the ugliest thing you can think of. That’s the genius bit of advice that ceramics artist Ceri Muller’s partner gave her when she felt blocked, faced with her first lump of clay. “I did that and carried on doing it and those ugly little things morphed into these heads that I grew to really love,” she says.
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Sight Unseen design gift guide

Two-Toned Vases and Velvet Body Pillows — The 2019 Sight Unseen Gift Guide, Part I

By now we've come to understand how hotly anticipated our annual gift guides are, so considering that it's after Thanksgiving, we'll cut to the chase: We did our gift guides a bit differently this year. In addition to our editor picks — today's by Jill — we asked our favorite designers and influencers to share their best gifts for giving and receiving, and over on Instagram, you'll have the chance to win four of the coolest items from each of our three guides.
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Memor x Rachel Saunders

These Mosaic Vases — Incorporating Shells and Ceramics Discards — Went Viral on Instagram

Inspired by memory jugs from American folk art, Memor's vases incorporate shells, stones, or — in this case — ceramic discards from Rachel Saunders' studio. Fragmented, would-be discarded pieces of ceramics in muted greens and terracotta are given new life against the natural clay of the vessels. After a sold-out response to their debut collection, the pair are launching a second this summer.
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01.Photo Geray Mena

Milan Preview: Jorge Penadés’ Aquatic-Inspired Aluminum Vases

Jorge Penadés has been popping up on our radar a lot lately, and the Spanish designer’s latest move is a collaboration with the manufacturer BD Barcelona, a furniture brand known for its extensive design catalogue and pioneering technology in aluminum extrusion dating all the way back to the 1970s. Entitled Piscis, the six different vases are made from extruded aluminum profiles, converted from the offcuts of old tables and shelves (including those by Konstantin Grcic) produced over the last 50 years in BD Barcelona's factory.
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Malevich Vase and Yermilov vase CS1_01

Suprematist-Inspired Vases and Lights by An Emerging Ukrainian Design Studio

Over the past few years, we've had many designers cite the Russian Suprematist Kazimir Malevich as an influence — but never before did those designers actually hail from Malevich's hometown of Kiev, Ukraine. "When you live and work in the city where Malevich was born, studied art, and taught at the Art Academy, and when you even have a workshop on the street that bears his name, it’s only a matter of time until his presence starts to inspire your creation," say Arkady Vartanov and Kateryna Sokolova of NOOM, a new, Kiev-based studio launching its first collection of Malevich-inspired vases and lighting at this weekend's Maison & Objet.
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These Woven, Color-Field Canvases Look Almost Like Paintings

Brooklyn artist Ethan Cook is sometimes referred to as a painter, but we've yet to find an instance of him actually putting a brush to canvas. When we first started following Cook's work, after an introduction in 2012 from Iko Iko in Los Angeles, he was manipulating canvases by way of bleaching and dyeing the fibers; he then moved on to combining hand-woven canvases with store-bought ones in a kind of super high-end, abstract patchwork. His work for the past few years, though, has involved making large-scale woven pieces entirely by hand on a four-harness floor loom — our favorite iteration yet.
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Philipp Schenck-Mischke

The RCA Grad Who Hacked a Piece of Gym Equipment to Create These Slumped, Ceramic Vases

For Philipp Schenk-Mischke’s recent Process Plug-Ins project, the designer looked at traditional modes of manufacturing, assembly, and use, and introduced physical "plug-ins" that might distort the final outcomes. For his BTM Ceramics — a collection of distorted, high-gloss vases — the still-wet, malleable pieces are placed on a body vibration plate and gently jiggled into more slumped, organic forms.
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