This Hidden Section of West Elm Is Filled With Unique Handmade Ceramics by Local Artists
West Elm is a great resource for space-saving dining furniture, multitasking coffee tables, and chic decor accents. But we recently discovered that the retailer also has a special section called the Local Makers Shop, which features gorgeous ceramic pieces for the kitchen and home by artists from around the country. Since spring is around the corner and we’re searching for ways to bring more color and texture into our space, we rounded up a few of the brands that instantly caught our eye for their unique yet functional creations. Check them out and be sure to also browse the entire Local Makers Shop, then let us know your favorites in the comments below.
1. From Fran
Fun fact about From Fran: Once you pay for one of Fran Aldea’s handmade creations, only then does she start making your piece in her Brooklyn studio. This means everything is unique and no two pieces are ever the same. The Chilean ceramic artist focuses her art on marble-finish mugs and espresso cups in soothing blue, yellow, pink, and gold tones, with unique, playful handles in the shapes of tiny loops and delightful crescents.
Buy: Marbled Blue Espresso Cup Set, $56
Specializing in small-batch decor and design goods, Chicago-based brand Tamake uses materials like ceramic, maplewood, and bamboo to create functional objects for the tabletop and kitchen. The ink used in the pieces is UV-safe, which means you never have to worry about placing hot pots, plates, or mugs on their trivets or coasters, and the bases are fitted with soft cork to prevent scratches or buffs on your dinner or coffee table. What’s truly unique about Tramake, though, are the vibrant designs over earthy materials that bring in tons of texture and color to even the most sterile surface.
Buy: Tramake Wood Trivet — Memphis, $32
3. Hea Ceramics
The small but mighty curation of handmade pieces at Hea Ceramics focuses on unique serveware options that are perfect to pull out when you’re entertaining or having a fancy night in. Created by New York-based artist Hana El-Assad, each piece is made using the wheel-throwing method (hence the perfectly formed shapes), and hand-painted with darling details like cherries (for El-Assad’s Tuscan-inspired collection) and the female form (inspired by the nude beaches of Santorini). There’s so much to love here, like the lovely cherry plate that’s great for serving canapes or styling on the coffee table, or this unique olive bowl that comes with a tiny bowl for holding pits.
Buy: Hea Ceramics Olive Bowl Set, $55
Brooklyn-based ceramicist Virginia Sin cleverly uses clay and porcelain to mimic everyday simplistic forms into beautiful yet functional household objects. She reimagines twisted ropes into trivets and paper plates into unique dinnerware, capturing every twist and curve of paper in porcelain. There’s also unique coat racks, wall hooks, candlestick holders, and vases to choose from. Each of her pieces is hand built and finished in a neutral color palette.
Buy: SIN Ceramic Twist Trivet, $38
5. A MANO
Infusing fun patterns like stripes, dots, and freeform splatters, Minnesota-based artist Louisa Podlich creates unique functional objects for the home. Her spoon rests are handy (and cute!) while cooking but also double up as adorable trinket dishes. Additionally, these gorgeous colorful bowls are perfect for serving snacks while entertaining or for holding fruit. Every piece is handmade, hand-painted, and glazed by Podlich in her sunny Minneapolis studio.
Buy: A MANO Confetti Spoon Rest, $26
6. American Heirloom
While their classic state-shaped cutting boards put American Heirloom on the map(!), the brand has since evolved, creating a range of new products like cake stands and cocktail essentials. But high-quality cutting boards made from bamboo are still at the heart of the brand that was founded by Brooklyn-based couple Amy Stringer-Mowat and Bill Mowat. Each piece is created with a focus on craftsmanship and serves as functional art for the kitchen.
Buy: American Heirloom Handled Cutting Board — Stars, $64
7. btw Ceramics
LA-based artist Brooke T. Winfrey uses minimal shapes and patterns to create playful pieces that add character and color to any space. Winfrey’s latest Torrent Collection is a study in black and white, seeking inspiration from torrential downpours and the mirages created by hazy desert sunsets. Everything is eye-catching, although the dog bowls and dinner plates are beyond gorgeous! Even better? Winfrey’s pieces are microwave and dishwasher safe.
Buy: btw Ceramics Torrent Plate, $42
8. Molly M
Inspired by architectural drawings, San Fransisco-based architect and designer Molly McGrath creates one-of-a-kind coasters and prints in various materials like felt, leather, and paper. McGrath hand sketches and drafts each pattern, then laser cuts it directly onto the material. Her current collection of geometric-shaped coasters are made from felt or leather in earthy tones like terracotta, nude, dewy green, and moody grey.
Buy: Molly M Semi-Quarter Felt Coasters (set of 4), $45