"" MaDDI: One of a Kind Show: Top Picks - Ceramics, Part I

Monday, December 3, 2012

One of a Kind Show: Top Picks - Ceramics, Part I

I'm back home after a quick weekend trip to Toronto for the annual holiday edition of the One of a Kind Show. (The show is a twice annual event, but I was advised that the spring show is much smaller and less appealing.) Given my limited time in Toronto, I developed a detailed plan of attack with my Canadian hostess and dear friend Wendy, in advance of my trip. Wendy even scouted out the event earlier in the week-- to knock out her own Christmas shopping and do some recon for me. What a friend! 

We adopted the strategy of starting at the end of the giant convention center (marked aisle Z) and briskly worked our way to the front (marked aisle A). We stopped only to mark a stand number or collect a business card. Shopping is war, people. Once we got to A, we took stock of our favorites and returned to make purchases. The strategy worked great. Theoretically, some of the pieces I liked could have sold out before my return trip. I got very lucky, but one vendor smartly suggested stopping during the first pass to ask, "do you have more like this?" if you're really love with a particular piece. I guess they don't call it the "One of a Kind" show for nothing.

With the exception of the few odd curmudgeonly craftspeople who thought my request to take pictures was a nefarious plot to copy their work (as if I could, even if I wanted to!), the exhibitors were unbelievably talented, warm and enthusiastic about sharing their designs. I'm so grateful to them for humoring me with my questions and repeated requests for business cards. And I'm so excited to be able to share my favorites with you! 

Here's the plan: every day this week, I'll feature my top picks from a particular category. The choice of where to begin was not a difficult one. There was so much to fall in love with at the show, but for me, ceramics absolutely carried the day. I, like a lunatic, decided it would be a brilliant idea to buy pottery for everyone on my Christmas list and transport it home in my luggage. By some Christmas miracle, my fragile bounty made it home intact.

To avoid the risk of overwhelming my readerss, I'm going to break up the ceramics category into two parts. While all the craftspeople featured in the show are Canadian, almost all ship the U.S. (or would, I'm sure, if you asked.) Enjoy Ceramics, Part I. Stay tuned for Part II, as well as my favorites from other categories like clothing & accessories, woodworking, home decor and original art.

Heyday Design

I must have stopped by this shop at least 3 times during my 'return pass' round. I kept walking away, then realizing I desperately needed to purchase something else. Some combination of the  pristine and delicate ceramics, graphically-appealing booth and super lovely proprietor Claire Madill kept compelling me to buy more! Claire's porcelain jars are poured in molds that she hand crafts from vintage Canadian mason jars. I bought one as a Christmas present for Wendy and one for myself! I initially thought I might use it to store and display q-tips/cotton ball in the bathroom, but now that I've seen this amazing display commissioned in 2011 by Toronto restaurant Canoe, I'm dying to test it out with a votive in it. My only regret is that I passed on the black & gold earrings. How cool are they?

Image source: heydaydesign.ca. Items available for purchase here.

 Ceramik B.

Online Shop

Since Quebecois ceramist Basma Osama work is so perfectly described on her website, I'll let you read this excerpt rather than struggling to find my own muddled words to explain the calming simplicity of her pieces:

Ceramik B. is a Montreal based ceramic concept studio that produces refined porcelain pieces. Over the last three years, the studio has been confirming its place in the emerging local design scene.

Since 2007, the studio has presented its latest creations and the collection designed by Basma is gaining popularity in several Canadian cities as well as in European capitals. The project launched in August 2007 with the production of its first tableware pieces.

The collection of tableware, designed by the ceramicist, reflects evidence of her attraction to minimalism whereby the line and the silhouette are the foremost elements. By meticulously crafting the shape and texture, each piece, inspired by organic forms, carries an invitation to the hand to revisit the daily gestures and rituals.

Each piece stands alone, but resides perfectly well with others, whether it is by colour contrast, by complementing forms, or by function. The colours accentuate the lines and affirm the presence of clay.

Image source: ceramikb.com. Items available for purchase here.


Filipa Pimentel

See website for contact information for sales inquiries.

I was immediately drawn to the rich textures of Felipa's pottery, especially her sea creature-inspired vases. At first glance, you see the even glaze, soft feminine colors and delicate craftsmanship of the pieces and think of traditional porcelain pottery. But on closer inspection, her pieces are fanciful, imaginative and thoroughly modern. My favorite piece is the anemone-inspired vase in black and white (it's bottom covered in a scale-like pattern), but the tea set might be the best example of the interesting duality of her work. It looks almost like a tea set your Victorian dolls might have in miniature-- except for the Octopus tentacles, of course.

Image source: felipaceramics.com

Ruiter Brook Pottery

See website for contact information for sales inquiries.

I'll admit, I was surprised when these pieces, created by pressing lace into wet porcelain, reeled me in. The style is clearly outside my modern design ken. But the glazes were so rich-- especially that delphinium blue-- and the patterns so compelling, that I've stopped questioning why I like these pieces so much. I just know they are exquisite.


The duo behind this charming blown glass and ceramics shop are husband and wife. I have a juicer and mortar + pestle from last year that I just love. Both gifts from Wendy. This year, she gave me a salt cellar to add to my collection of A+J kitchen wares. In addition to the visual contrast between the earthy white ceramics and brightly colored glass, what I like most about A+J products is the abundance of textural contrast. Each bowl and juicer has a rough, sandy ceramic bottom to enhance its grip on the counter, with perfectly smooth surfaces everywhere else. In the mortar + pestle set, the glass is smooth on the outside, and gravel course on the inside. Talk about form meeting function!

Image source: aj-metissage.com. Items available for purchase here.

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