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Buying Trip to Mexico, Part 2: Capelo

capelo_signAlthough I had planned to visit Capelo, I didn’t coordinate with him ahead of time. The previous times I had visited he had just been there — at his beautiful home and showroom perched high on a hillside overlooking Guanajuato. But this time was a bit more complicated. My parents and I were picked up at our hotel in Guanajuato in the middle of the day. The plan was to go up to Capelo’s, buy ceramics, bubble wrap our purchases, and bring them with us, so my friends at Talavera Vazquez (in Dolores Hidalgo) could ship them home for me (you might remember this process from the last time I visited Capelo). Our driver called Capelo and learned that he and his wife had come to town to do some shopping and weren’t sure when they’d be home. I asked the driver to tell Capelo who I was, because I figured that he would want to see me: “Tell him I’m the tall American girl who shows up every few years and buys a lot of ceramics.” Sure enough, after doing a few extra spins around colorful Guanajuato and finding our way out of town and into Capelo’s scenic neighborhood of Valenciana, he was there, waiting for us.

capeloFor all of you Capelo pottery aficionados out there, I have a little secret to share… I have always thought that Capelo was Capelo. I imagined that Capelo was his last name and he just went by that. At Emilia Ceramics, we’ve referred to him as the “Madonna” or “Prince” of Mexican pottery because he goes by this singular name. Well on this trip I finally found out his REAL name: Javier Hernandez. Yep, it’s true, Capelo is Javier Hernandez! But I think for ease (and respect for him) we’ll continue calling him Capelo.

As soon as we arrived, I got to work looking through the piles of bowls and plates on the floor and tables of the showroom, while my parents started their own pile of vases and pitchers they thought I’d like. Every once in a while, Capelo would pick up a piece I had skipped over and nonchalantly ask “not this one?” … or “did you see this one? It is painted so beautifully.” He could see that I was carefully inspecting the design of each piece and he was concerned that I might have missed something. Of course he was right and once I gave these pieces a second look, I agreed that they were, in fact, beautifully-painted and should be added to the Emilia Ceramics collection. At one point I joked that he was a very good salesman, convincing me to buy more and more. But I know that it was just his deep connection with each piece that made him want to be sure I was seeing, inspecting, and considering the best of the best. It’s the same way I am with my customers who I think might have skipped over an especially amazing piece at Emilia Ceramics.

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pitchers_vases

Not surprisingly, I ended up buying about 3 times the amount I had imagined I would. It was just too hard to resist these beautifully crafted vases, platters, and bowls, each with it’s own unique design of super soft and touchable glaze. Capelo’s work definitely has an attitude all it’s own and I love the diversity and originality it adds to my collection.

Here’s a link to what remains from my last visit to Capelo (the new arrivals will be available soon!) >>

After finishing up the business portion of our visit and while waiting for Capelo’s helpers to safely pack up the goods, he took my parents and I on a tour of his beautiful garden. There were many large tibores (the Mexican version of an urn) that Capelo himself has painted, including the one next to my dad below.

(Part 3 of my trip to Mexico will talk about my visit to Talavera Vazquez in Dolores Hidalgo and staying in the charming city of San Miguel de Allende. Stay tuned…)

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gardens_1dadcapelo_pricing

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See Part 1 of our Buying Trip to Mexico >>
See Part 3 of our Buying Trip to Mexico >>

Update: New Arrivals are Here!! Shop Now >>

 

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Five Must-Have Serving Platters for 4th of July

Summer is in full swing! The days are longer, the evenings are warmer and kids are getting into their summer routine. It’s hard to believe that fourth of July is right around the corner, but I’m looking forward to enjoying a celebratory evening with family and friends filled with fireworks, food and fun.

serving platters

A gathering of any kind is made much more festive when it includes serving ware that perfectly highlights the food offerings, since let’s be honest, the food is the MVP of most gatherings! As such, I am highlighting five unique handcrafted serving platters from Emilia Ceramics that I think would perfectly complement any Independence Day celebration.

Cherry Red Long Platter

Handmade and hand-painted by Gorky Gonzalez, this beautiful long platter is cherry red on the inside and white on the outside/bottom. This platter is great for serving vegetables, dessert, or an assortment of cheeses. The festive cherry red creates a lovely contrast to food, making any appetizer look its best.

red serving platter by gorky gonzalez

Purchase Here

Recipe suggestion: Grilled Okra and Tomatoes

El Mar Oval Serving Dish

Another Gorky Gonzalez piece, this dish is super useful. It’s great for serving a side dish or tossed green salad.

blue and white serving platter

 

Purchase here 

Recipe suggestion: Jicama and Watermelon Salad

Chalk White Serving Plate

Whether used as a serving plate or a charger, this simple piece will add authentic charm to your table. Mix and match with a red or blue serving plate, a festive blue and white platter, or for a more sophisticated look, try a red and white Italian charger plate.

white serving platter

 

Purchase here 

Recipe suggestion: Grilled Bread With Zucchini, Ricotta, and Basil

Blue and White Serving Platter

This blue and white serving platter adds subtle sophistication to any appetizer or side dish. Even without food, it looks great on display and works in both traditional and contemporary homes.

blue and white serving platter

 

Purchase here

Recipe idea: Grilled Steak with Green Beans, Tomatoes and Chimichurri Sauce 

Cherry Red Oval Serving Dish

Another festive serving platter by Gorky. This bright oval dish has a cherry red glaze on the inside and is chalk white on the outside/bottom. It looks great paired with the blue and white patterns of Gorky’s other pieces… especially for the Fourth of July!

red serving platter

 

Purchase here

Recipe idea: Grilled Halibut with Peach and Pepper Salsa

 

Need more? Take a peek at our red, white and blue bowls. Perfect for serving up delicious ice cream or a bowl of refreshing gazpacho.

– Shop our entire Fourth of July Collection Here –

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Around-the-World-Inspired Blue and White Mexican Pottery

Blue and white pottery has a strong historical background that can be traced from all around the world. Dating back to the early 14th century, China mass-produced fine, translucent, blue and white porcelain which started in Jingdezhen (sometimes called the porcelain capital of China). New Chinese techniques, along with the export of cobalt (a precious commodity) from Persia, all played a part in the development of blue and white pottery.

blue and white potteryA beautiful antique Chinese blue & white porcelain with temple lions from Ming Dynasty

After receiving a gift of porcelain from the Emperor of China, Italian craftsmen were amazed at the white and blue glazes and tried to unlock their secret methods. Though they never figured out the techniques of the Chinese, they were able to invent their own to duplicate the effect, called Majolica. Seeking the finest clays for their new technique, Majolica potters set up small factories in Italy near the mineral rich river in the towns such as Deruta, Gubbio, and Faenza. In the 16th century luster glazes similar to those used in Valencia and Talavera, Spain were developed in Umbria.

antiqu italian blue and white bowl

Savona blue and white faience Bowl. (c. 1700 Italy)

New distinctive styles were developed when Majolica crafters eventually settled in many other parts of the world. Delicate blue and white became Delftware in Holland. Dainty Dresden porcelains were developed in Germany. And, in the New World, after potters immigrated to Puebla, Mexico from Talavera de la Reina, Spain between in the mid 1500’s, it was called Talavera.

Blue and White Mexican Pottery

We are honored to work with Talavera Vázquez who continues the Majolica method of creating blue and white Mexican pottery. Located in the small town of Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico, Talavera Vázquez is a fourth generation family-run business. Felipe Vázquez Gutiérrez, who started the business 90 years ago, was known as a pioneer in the pottery world because he introduced new and unconventional artistic designs, while continuing to adhere to traditional techniques of high quality craftsmanship.

http://emiliaceramics.com/store/http%3A-emiliaceramicscom-store-by-country-mexico-talavera-vazquez-small-paloma-tibor/dp/27#.VW3hWs67Fi4

The blue and white paloma design (paloma means dove in Spanish) on this small tibor is an exceptional combination of authentic Mexican charm and the contemporary artistry of Talavera Vazquez.

Blue and white pottery is chock full of historical significance, can be used in contemporary, classic or modern design and is a stunning color combination. We hope you’ll enjoy perusing our entire blue and white Mexican pottery collection. Start here!

You may also enjoy: 5 Tips for Decorating with Blue and White Pottery

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Gift Ideas for the Modern Dad

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Dads these days are Jacks of more trades than ever… from carrying their babies around in Bjorn’s and being master chefs, to tending the garden and knowing all about wine varietals. They are balanced, fun and not constricted by stereotypes. In honor of these multidimensional modern dads, I wanted to share some awesome modern dad gift ideas.

Foodie Dad

Foodie dad likes his kitchen gadgets – whether he’s tenderly preparing meat for the grill, exploring a dish for the slow cooker, or putting together veggies for the sous vide, he will love anything you give him for the kitchen! Here are a few suggestions:

Barn Red Platter

store-by-country-france-richard-esteban-fish-platter-barn-re-450px-450pxThe smooth surface and intricately decorated border make it a subtle, yet extraordinary backdrop for serving appetizers or a main dish. 

Deep Round Black Casserole black casserole dish
A super-functional dish, which can be used to bake a casserole or serve anything from salad to pasta.

Explore all platters here >>

Gardening Dad

Gardening dad spends his summer outdoors tending to all things growing and green. He takes pride in a beautiful landscape and isn’t too manly to plant a few flowers… or herbs for cooking! He appreciates functionality as much as aesthetics. He may enjoy these gift ideas:

Blue and White Square Planter

square blue and white planter

This blue and white planter will add style and authentic Mexican flavor to dad’s patio. Plus, a hole for draining makes this piece fun and functional.

Black and White Striped Oval Planter

black and white striped oval planter

This fun and festive planter is a great addition to even the most contemporary home. Dad will love to fill it with flower pots on the back porch, and once the season is over you can fill it with colorful citrus or even use it as a place to store your mail.

See all planters here >>

Wine-Loving Dad

Does the man in your life spout out terms like buttery, oaky, or full bodied? Does he talk about brilliance, tannins and texture? These wine-loving guys probably spent their college years geeking out on stereo equipment, and now they love to geek out on California varietals. Forget the bottle and give your oenofile an authentic pitcher to serve wine the Europeans way. Another great gift for the wine-loving dad is on of these hand-crafted wine bottle holders:

black zigzag wine bottle holder
blue striped wine bottle holder
black striped wine bottle holder

Wine bottle holders are a fabulous gift for the modern dad because they can also double as utensil holders! Take a look at our entire wine bottle/utensil holder collection here.

I hope these Emilia Ceramics gift ideas for the modern dad can help you find the perfect accessory to compliment his passions. Need more ideas? See all our Fathers Day Gift Ideas here >>

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5 Tips for Adding Blue and White Ceramics to Your Home

Blue and white looks sharp no matter where it’s found. A classic color combination in home décor, blue and white kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms have a timeless appeal. I’ve always been a fan of blue and white (and have the Pinterest board to prove it), and I am not alone. Blue and white ceramics rank consistently as top sellers for a variety of homes and uses. So what are some great ways to incorporate blue and white ceramics into your home décor?

Here are five tips for instant blue and white style.

blue and white ceramics

Use unexpected containers

Instead of a change jar, why not make coins look like part of your design with a blue and white ceramic bowl? Arranged on an end table, bowls or serving platters also hold everything from candles to a miniature rock garden. I even have a friend who considers this platter her “remote control keeper.”

Mix style with functionality

I think when it comes to blue and white ceramics the more uses, the better. A large blue and white pitcher is the perfect example. Use it to hold ice water, wine, or fresh squeezed mimosas for a weekend brunch. It can be a dramatic centerpiece (empty or full) on a dinner table, or hold a bouquet of fresh flowers on a kitchen sill or countertop. A mix of rustic and modern, pitchers like this are perfect in almost every home.

Go for the walls

Hang blue and white plates, shallow bowls, and serving platters when not in use in your kitchen or dining room. I’ve even seen wallpaper patterned with blue and white ceramics for a two-dimensional take on this idea.

Make snacks attractive

Food just tastes better when it’s presented well, so create appetizing snack options on your kitchen or dining table with carefully chosen ceramics. Blue and white platters hold mini snack bags of trail mix, nuts, or other healthy options for on-the-go bites while a large blue and white bowl brimming with fresh fruit makes it hard to resist.

Mix patterns

Keeping in the same color palette lets you explore fun textures and patterns. In the bedroom, mix a striped carpet with a printed duvet or chair, adding a feeling of depth and luxury to the room. A blue and white ceramic lamp or two, cozy throws, and eclectic pillows further the pattern play.

What’s your favorite use of blue and white decor? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Shop Blue and White Ceramics here.

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Buying Trip to Mexico, Part 1

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My recent buying trip to Mexico felt a bit like an anniversary celebration. It’s hard to believe, but I started Emilia Ceramics right after my first buying trip to Mexico in November of 2007… That’s seven and a half years ago!! On that trip, I visited six different artists and their workshops. Since then, three of those six have become popular staples in the Emilia Ceramics collections. Not only do my customers love the work of Gorky Gonzalez, Capelo, and Talavera Vazquez, but I love working with these three family-run businesses. They are always welcoming when I visit, interested in my suggestions, and helpful in my quest for new pieces to add to the Emilia Ceramics collection.

mom_and_dad_sqLucky for me, I was able to bring along my two best employees, advisers, and long-time lovers of Emilia Ceramics: My parents! They came with me on my first adventure in 2007, so it was fitting that they’d return on this, my 4th buying trip to Mexico. My parents have a lot of knowledge about art in general and ceramics in particular. They have a great perspective on what customers will appreciate and what they’ll actually use. And like me, they love interacting with the artists, understanding their techniques, and appreciating their skills.

We spent the first few nights in Guanajuato, which is one of the most colorful cities I’ve ever visited. All the buildings are painted shockingly bright colors and the jacaranda trees were in full bloom! It was literally impossible not to take tons of photos! Check out my Instagram Feed >>

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One of the best parts of staying right downtown in Guanajuato, is being only a ten minute walk from Gorky Gonzalez’s studio and showroom. That’s where we went the first morning. It took me at least four hours to look through all of Gorky’s beautiful plates, bowls, pitchers, platters, and ginger jars, hand-selecting the best of the best for Emilia Ceramics! Believe me, Gorky fans, you have a lot to look forward to… the new pieces will be available soon!

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After a long morning of pottery-shopping, we went out back, through the lush gardens where a few parrots were talking excitedly in their old-fashioned cages, and into the studio, where the magic happens. There were 4 painters (including Nicolo, in the above photo on the left, working to re-create an antique tile pattern), as well as a woman delicately loading the kiln for its next firing (see photo below). Gorky Jr. is pictured with me in the above photo (on the right). Gorky has learned the trade from his father and now mostly runs the business himself.

I love seeing how each piece, regardless of its size or shape, goes through all the same painstaking stages… being thrown or molded, fired, dipped in a base glaze, carefully hand-painted, and then re-fired. It is no easy task, but requires a lot of time consuming work and tons of artistic skill.

It was a fun and fulfilling first day! I went back the following day to make some final decisions and then we were off to visit Capelo… more on that visit soon!

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See Part 2 of our Buying Trip to Mexico >>

Update: New Arrivals are Here!! Shop Now >>

 

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Ginger Jar Round Up

There is no doubt that we are big fans of ginger jars here at Emilia Ceramics. And, why not, they have amazing versatility and can instantly dress up a space. In today’s post, I’m bringing you a round-up of our past blog posts with tips and tricks for incorporating ginger jars of all sizes, shapes, and colors, into your home decor.

Here is my Ginger Jar Round Up!

Pinterest Best: Ginger Jars and Lamps

yellow zigzag ginger jar lampGinger jars, lamps, and ginger jar lamps… this week, I’m doing a pinterest round-up of all my favorites, starting of course with the Black ZigZag Lamps we sell at Emilia Ceramics. The photo above was taken by the talented designer Meredith Beregovski who owns Georgia Street Design in Charlotte. I love the sophistication she brought to these laid back, hand-painted ginger jar lamps!

Read more here >>

 

5 Beautiful Ways to Decorate with Ginger Jars

decorate with ginger jarsGinger jars, known as urns or tibores (as they are called in Mexico), are more than the latest decorating trend. In fact, ginger jars have a long and rich history stemming back to the Qin Dynasty (221 BC–207 BC). Though originally used to ship and store spices, herbs and oils, ginger jars have slowly become a home décor must-have, and why not? Ginger jars are beautiful, versatile and practical, too.

Read more here >>

 

Black and White Love: Ginger Jars

black and white ginger jarsMy love of black and white is getting a little out of control. Thankfully, this classic combination is a perpetual favorite for both fashion and the home, so I have plenty of ways to indulge. Black and white ginger jars, pillows, vases, throws, trays, shirts, shoes, dresses… the list just goes on. In this first post celebrating black and white together, I’ll take a closer look at an Emilia Ceramics favorite: the black and white chevron ginger jar.

Read more here >>

 

Your Favorite Ginger Jars From Around the World

ginger jarsGinger jars are a global favorite. Stylish and stunning, they remain a perpetual favorite with Emilia Ceramics customers around the world. Here are some of your (and our!) favorite ginger jars.

Read more here >>

 

 

What are your favorite ginger jar decor ideas?

shop for ginger jars

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ZigZag Love: Chevron Utensil Holders & ZigZag Vases

We recently ran a Facebook poll to find out whether our fans prefer zigzags or stripes and the resounding winner was zigzags! The zigzag pattern is showing up everywhere, from dresses to accent chairs and everywhere in between. Adding the chevron motif instantly updates your style.

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Not sure zigzags are for you? Get in on the trend without the major commitment by sprinkling in a few chevron patterned home accessories. Here are a few to choose from:

ZigZag Utensil Holders

No need to overhaul your entire kitchen, this is an easy addition that will perfectly compliment your existing kitchen decor. Whether you choose to use this zigzag vessel as a wine bottle holder or utensil holder, it will combine casual Mexican style with functionality. It may also be used as a contemporary flower vase. Choose from black, blue or gray.

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blue zigzag utensil holder
gray zigzag utensil holder

See all our utensil holders here. 

You may also enjoy – Favorite DIY Utensil Holder Ideas that Look Fabulous

ZigZag Vases

These contemporary chevron vases make a statement whether filled with fresh flowers or just standing alone. They combine bold edginess with laid-back, Mexican charm. Available in black, orange and yellow.

zigzag vase black
zigzag vase orange
zigzag vase yellow

Take a look at all our vases here.

You may also enjoy – 3 Reasons to Love Mexican Vases

The chevron pattern can be infused just about anywhere you want to add visual interest. Depending on the width of the zigzags and their colors, the chevron motif can offer a big impact to a room or a more subtle statement. More chevron-patterned ideas include ginger jar lamps, zigzag lampshades, vases, bowls, trays and planters. There are also tons of diy projects for creating your own chevron decor, all you need is a little paint and tape. Paint zigzags on accessories, the drawer fronts of a dresser, even on the eaves of your staircase. Get inspiration from our Everything Chevron Pinterest board.

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Bridal Registry Etiquette

Weddings are a wonderful opportunity for couples to celebrate their marriage with the people they love the most. Though traditions vary from culture to culture, it is commonplace for the bride and groom to receive gifts from their family and friends that will help them start their lives together. The idea behind the bridal registry is offering family and friends a guide as to what newlyweds really want and need. As wedding traditions have changed over the years, so has bridal registry etiquette. Here’s our quick guide for soon-to-be married couples.

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Today’s Registry Etiquette

The engaged couple should decide on what they would like as gifts and register for items they plan to actually use. They should register as soon as a wedding date is set, but at least before any bridal shower invitations are sent out.

The old tradition of registering for china, crystal, silver and small appliances has often been replaced by more practical items, including honeymoon expenses and home down-payments. Asking for cash donations like these is known as a “honey fund” registry. This is considered acceptable etiquette since guests are contributing to the couple’s future, but it’s good to combine a “honey fund” with at least a few traditional registry items. Many people don’t like to give money and they will buy physical gifts whether the couple has registered for them or not.

A registry keeps track of purchases to avoid duplication and lets you which of your selected items are being bought. Use an online service or department store that is easy to access for traditional gifts. Most department stores have an online registry and they will deliver gifts ordered online anywhere in the U.S.

In the past, registry etiquette required a couple to register at only one or two stores. With wedding websites that link directly to registries, however, it’s now commonplace to have multiple registries. There is no longer a rule for how many stores you can include, which means a couple can register for a variety of items specific to their individual styles and needs. For example, one couple might include a registry at a department store for linens, an outdoor store for camping equipment, and a boutique type store for special pieces.

Select items you would like, but be aware of the cost. Proper registry etiquette is to choose a range of gifts at different prices. Everyone has a different budget for wedding gifts and it’s nice to give your friends and family a variety of options. Expensive imported crystal and china may not be in your friends’ budgets, so be sure there are plenty of options at all price levels.

Registry information should never appear on the wedding invitation. These days, most couples create a wedding website with information about the event. This is a great place to list your registries and you can link directly to the individual stores where you have created a bridal registry. This also helps people who are invited to showers or engagement parties and want to bring a gift. Everything is in the same place and it allows your guests to give generously, at a comfortable price point, without a lot of effort.

Friends and family want to help you start your new life together and a thoughtful bridal registry is a great way to help everyone enjoy the gift-giving experience.

Check out our Top Bridal Registry Tips here.

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The Charm of Richard Esteban Pottery

Picture this: Hand-painted polka dots in earthy hues decorating the surface of rustic ceramic pieces like bowls, mugs, and plates. It’s a whimsical look upon which you could base your entire home decor. Introducing Richard Esteban!

Richard Esteban, a lifelong potter in Southern France, uses the rich red clay of Provence; He throws each piece by hand, dries them in the sun and fires them in an antique kiln. His pieces offer plenty of charm and whimsy, giving your space a unique level of French Country style. There is nothing cookie cutter about the work of Richard Esteban.

If you’re looking for some pottery pieces that offer pure whimsical charm, you’ll love these Richard Esteban picks:

Polka Dot Bowls

polka dot bowl
polka dot bowls
polka dot bowls

The festive polka-dots on these bowls are one of Richard Esteban’s signature decorations. I love the buttery yellow and the rich hues of red and blue. Fill these bowls with ice cream, soup or dips.

You may also enjoy- Polka Dots: A Trend to Love

Animal-centric Dinner Plates

bird dinner plate
fish dinner plate
dog dinner plate

These dinner plates are simple and charming (they also come in a smaller, salad plate size). I love the hand-drawn lines and how each piece could easily be mixed and matched with one another or with any of Richard’s other pieces.

You may also enjoy – The Best Decorative Dinner Plates for Summer Dining: 3 Tips

Beautiful Casseroles

green casserole
yellow casserole
lime green casserole

These small casserole dishes, glazed in teal blue, burnt honey and rustic lime green, are perfect for baking and serving a dish for just a few guests. The inside is glazed in soft butter yellow.

You may also enjoy – Making Creative Dishware Sets with French Ceramics

Elegant Serving Platters

burnt honey fish platter
lime green cheese plate platter
teal blue platter

The cheerful, yet rustic colors of these beautifully-crafted and painted platters offer an extraordinary way to serve main courses of meat, artisan cheese or grilled vegetables. The glassy surface and intricately decorated borders add originality and a rich French flavor.

You may also enjoy – The Perfect Gift: A Handmade Serving Platter

Deep Hue Planters

teal blue planter
yellow wall planter
red polka dot planter

Richard Esteban’s charming French style does not end in the kitchen. I love these wonderful planters. From his signature colors, to the unique shapes and sizes he employs, they are sure to add a relaxed Provence feeling to any outdoor living space.

You may also enjoy – Black and White Love: Must-Have Planters

How will you add whimsy and charm to your home decor this spring?

SHop our Richard Esteban Collection

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Fabulous Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day with Ceramics

The celebration of motherhood has arisen in many incarnations throughout history. From the Greek Cybele celebrations to the Hilaria festival of the Romans, different societies and cultures have always found the need to honor their maternal figures. And although the family unit in this country has for a long time recognized and shown their appreciation for the unique role motherhood assumes, the idea of a national holiday solely for moms is relatively new.

Sylvie_Mom

One of our favorite ceramic artisans Sylvie Duriez enjoys cafe with her mother in France.

How Mother’s Day began in America

It all started when a young woman, Anna Jarvis, mourning the death of her own mother, launched a campaign to convince a nation still reeling from the scars of the Civil War to set aside a day to honor women for the contributions they’d made to the young nation. Anna’s mother, Ann Jarvis, had been a peace activist and had devoted much of her time to treating wounded soldiers from both sides of the Mason Dixon line. There was no place in her heart for partisan politics.

Anna’s campaign began in 1905, the year of her mother’s death. She felt there was no better way to honor the sacrifices she’d made than to celebrate the contributions of all women. As you can imagine, it took a lot of determination and hard work to convince a nation that had yet to give women the right to vote to set aside a special day for the celebration of motherhood, but Anna’s efforts slowly began to pay off, as individual states gradually got onboard. Then, in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson made it official by signing a proclamation making Mother’s Day a national holiday.

Celebrating Mother’s Day in 2015

This year, Mother’s Day will be celebrated on May 10th and there are many wonderful ways to honor these important women in our lives.

Here are a few ideas for celebrating Mother’s Day with ceramics:

Serve breakfast in bed

azteca mug

Some fun Mother’s Day breakfast-in-bed dishes include waffles, omelets, fruit & pastries and, of course, coffee! This Large Azteca Cup & Saucer by Gorky Gonzalez is large enough to hold the perfect amount of coffee for mom.

Treat her to fresh flowers

black and white vase

Spring has sprung and there is nothing more spring-like than fresh flowers. Fill a black and white vase with stunning white peonies and watch her delight.

Plant a patio garden

ceramic planters

What mom doesn’t enjoy a beautiful patio garden? Fill a planter with her favorite annuals or even an herb garden.

Enjoy an experience with her

Italian ceramic artist

Treating mom to an experience – especially one together! – is the best way to celebrate Mother’s Day. Paint pottery, skydive, go river rafting … or simply plan a picnic in the park.

Give her the day off

blue leaf lamp

Moms are known for constantly going. Between carpools, grocery shopping and heading into the office, sometimes all mom wants is a few minutes to herself. Take on her chores, then leave the house so she can relax with a cup of tea.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful moms out there!

Shop our handpicked selection of fantastic Mother’s Day gift ideas here. 

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Pinterest Best: Ginger Jars and Lamps

Black_Chevron_Lamps
Ginger jars, lamps, and ginger jar lamps… this week, I’m doing a pinterest round-up of all my favorites, starting of course with the Black ZigZag Lamps we sell at Emilia Ceramics. The photo above was taken by the talented designer Meredith Beregovski who owns Georgia Street Design in Charlotte. I love the sophistication she brought to these laid back, hand-painted ginger jar lamps!

Ginger Jars Are No Joke

We’ve written quite a few posts about ginger jars in the past (here’s my personal favorite) because they are such popular design pieces, regardless of style preference. You can use ginger jars to store spices or keep a relative’s (or pet’s) ashes. You can remove the lid and use a ginger jar as a vase for large floral arrangements or you can simply display it on a book shelf. Extra large ginger jars make great floor decorations, either in an entryway or on a porch. They mix well with ceramic or glass vases, copper or woven baskets, and set against wood or granite backgrounds. Here are a few images of ginger jars from Pinterest that I especially love because they demonstrate their various uses:

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A Little About Lamps

The lovely thing about lamps is their functionality. They literally light up the space around them! From antique wall sconces to chic desk lamps (not to mention large floor lamps), there are as many lamp options as you could imagine. Lamps need to be chosen both to fit a necessary function and to conform to a specific style, depending on where and when they’ll be used. Here are some of my favorite lamps from Pinterest, which represent different styles and functions:

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Above: I love how this lamp is a part of the room… it’s not just a lamp, it’s an art piece. It works as a sort of backdrop to the other objects on the table and really adds to the vintage artwork in the room.

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Above: This sleek, gold bedside lamp works perfectly with the clean lines in the room and its edginess is softened by fresh flowers. I might add some colorful pillows, but otherwise it looks great to me! (This is from an awesome blog I just discovered: Studio McGee)

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Above: Talk about a cozy reading nook! I love these modern, draped standing lamps because they actually give you LOTS of light. And while this space might be overly “shiny” for my taste, the lamp fits right in and doesn’t compete with any of the other decor.

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Above: Of course I had to include this ginger jar lamp, which lives next to my bed. It makes me happy when I turn it off at night and when I wake up to it in the morning. Not only does the sunny color feel light and fresh in my bedroom, it has a relaxed, friendly personality to it that actually makes me smile. How many lamps can do all that?! Here are some other lovely ginger jar lamps… which is your favorite? Any others you want to share? Please send them to me ([email protected]) and I’ll pin them to our Lovely Lamps Board.

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To see more ginger jar lamps, follow our Pinterest Board: Lovely Lamps!

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Black and White Love: Must-Have Planters

Spring is in the air and with that comes an explosion of color. I love color as much as the next person (especially orange), but there’s no better way to show off those vibrant hues than with an elegant backdrop of black and white.

Here are some must-have black and white planters to help show off your colorful spring blooms.

Black and White Square Planter – Hidalgo

black and white planter

This stylish black and white planter by the artisans of Talavera Vazquez adds subtle Mexican flavor to the patio. We love the Hidalgo design for it’s unique softness and depth, which speaks to the skill of the Vazquez artists.

You may enjoy – Black and White Love: Striped Vases and Decor

 Black and White ZigZag Planter

black and white planter

Here’s another festive planter by Talavera Vazquez. It exudes Mexican charm, making any patio or garden feel warmer and more relaxed.

You may enjoy – Black and White Love: Chevron 5 Ways

Oval Planter – Black and White Stripes

black and white planter

 

This fun and festive planter is a great addition to even the most contemporary home. Use it to display colorful citrus fruit… fill it with flower pots on the back porch… or keep your mail in it. Another great use for this black and white planter? A succulent garden >>

You may enjoy – Black and White Love: Ginger Jars

Square Planter – Black and White Stripes

black and white planter

Add a contemporary Mexican twist to your patio with this black and white striped planter.

You may enjoy – 3 Steps to Update Home Decor with Black and White Pattern Mixing

No matter which black and white planter you choose, you’re sure to liven up any space …. especially when you fill it with colorful flowers! Another tip: These planters look great mixed and matched together. Try combining the square Hidalgo, tall chevron, and oval stripe planter. With the variety of sizes and shapes, you’ll have the perfect black and white planter for all your spring flowers.

Explore our entire collection of black and white here. 

 

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How to Host an Easter Brunch

Are you planning to host an Easter brunch this year? If so, I have put together some fun tips to help you make it a gathering your family and friends will surely remember.

How to Host an Easter Brunch

Decide on your guest list

Will your brunch guests be families with young children? Or mostly adults? Your menu and activities will be largely determined by who is coming. Once you have decided the guest list, set a time and send out the invites. Typically brunch begins between 10:30-11:00 a.m.

Consider an Easter Picnic

If you live in an area with nice weather at Easter, plan an Easter picnic. Lots of pretty flowers like Tulips, Daffodils, Hydrangea and Orchids are in season so it would be easy to create an elegant table setting with a vase of flowers and a colorful tablecloth. Remember, outdoor dinning does not have to look rustic.

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One of Emilia’s hand-dyed Ethiopian cotton tablecloths makes a great foundation for your outdoor table setting. Cheerful pitchers make a pretty substitute for a common vase.

Plan your menu

With a little preparation, cooking can be a breeze for your Easter brunch. The key is to have a balanced menu of dishes you can cook in advance (then reheat) and those you can whip up pretty quickly.  It’s always fun to have an array of fresh cut fruits and vegetables, too, and those are easy to pre-prepare.

Spinach Salad Bites on Skewers

Here are some Easter brunch menu ideas:

How about a Mexican theme?

Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter) is one of the most widely observed holidays in Mexico, so it makes sense to incorporate some traditions from south of the border. Most Holy Week related events occur outside and in large gatherings, therefore “antojitos” (roughly translated as Mexican street food or snacks) are often enjoyed on this holiday.

gorky plates

Mexicans also enjoy popular refreshments called “aguas frescas” or sugared drinks made from fruit or other natural flavorings such as tamarind or hibiscus flowers. A menu of Mexican snacks and fruit drinks make it easy to plan. Round out your event with a few Mexican ceramics and your out-of-the-box Easter party is sure to be a hit.

Don’t forget the kids!

After the Easter egg hunt and while the grown-ups enjoy the food, the little ones can enjoy some hands-on crafts. Set up a craft station with all the materials they will need. (Hint: appoint an older child to be your master crafter to limit a potential mess.)

easter egg garland

Here are some craft ideas for Easter:

Set the stage

Once you’ve figured out your guest list, prepared your menu and set aside craft supplies, it’s time to decorate. Bring out your nice plates, silverware and cloth napkins, and put place cards at each table setting. Add in specialty pieces that speak to the season, then finish it off with fresh Easter lilies or tulips on your table as a centerpiece.

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Here are some fun pieces to add to your Easter decor:

It is possible to wake up on Easter morning and enjoy the days festivities with your family instead of slaving away in the kitchen. It just takes a little planning.

 SHop our Entire Easter collection 

 

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Top 5 Things I Learned About Registering for My Wedding

Today we are featuring a guest post from bride-to-be Kari Stern. Kari is getting married in May and is sharing her wedding registry experience with us here.

As a bride-to-be, I am experiencing first-hand how much work goes into planning a wedding. But it’s really important to remember that as a bride, I’m not just planning a party, I’m also planning a marriage. Beyond getting ready for ‘the big day’, I’m also getting ready for the rest of my life with my fiancé, soon to be husband. And as silly as this might sound, part of that preparation includes registering!

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Kari & John at one of their many pre-wedding celebrations.

To help guide you through the sometimes difficult world of gift registries, here are the top 5 things I learned while going through the process of registering for my wedding:

1. Don’t just register for the things you need now. Think about what you might need 10, or even 20 years from now.

My fiancé and I have been living together for 4 years, so we already have a lot of the appliances and other basic things we need. Registering for our wedding is our chance to ask for anything else we may want, or perhaps that we’ve been meaning to upgrade. Right now, we have serving ware for 8. But if you’re planning on having a family, or doing a lot of entertaining, think about those dishes, and how many you’ll need then. We’re swapping out our old dishes and silverware, and upgrading to service for 12.

2. It’s OK to add items not because they’re practical, but just because you want them.

My fiancé is definitely a minimalist, and I didn’t expect that registering for gifts (of all things!) would end up causing a tiff between us. Going through the process, he’d always ask the question, “why do we need this?” And sometimes the only response I had was “because I like it!” I learned that, without going overboard, it’s ok to ask for those extra, special items. People are going to get you gifts, so you might as well get the ones you want. It’s ok to want a vase, and hope that he’ll fill it with flowers. Or a beautiful frame to add in a picture from your wedding.

3. People like to give tangible gifts — To make it easier for them, register for items that hit all different price points.

We registered for our honeymoon online, in hopes that people would contribute. But the truth is, a lot of times people like to give physical presents. Make sure you have enough items on your registry for people to choose from, and that you hit all different price points. It’s ok to ask for a ‘splurge’ item (maybe family members, or a group of your friends will go in on it together), but make sure you also cater to people who are looking to spend a little less.

4. Online registries will be your greatest friends!

It’s fantastic when a store offers you the option to register in person or online. For one of my registries I was able to go in and look at every dish, platter, or bowl I wanted, before I scanned it onto my registry. I set up another registry all online, as I knew what quality of goods I could expect from them. Whether you do it in person, or on the web, having the option to manage your registry online makes it easier and less stressful. My fiancé and I keep adding items online as we think of them, like oil and vinegar dispensers, or an extra set of towels. And when people start buying things off your registry, you’re able to see what’s already been crossed off the list, and what you’re still keeping your fingers crossed for!

5. Have fun with it.

I thought that registering and asking people for gifts would be an awkward and uncomfortable experience. I wasn’t sure I could open up a new set of bowls at my bridal shower, and get excited. But the truth is, I’m really having a lot of fun with it! I live across the country from where my shower is being held, so people have been mailing gifts to my house. Almost every day, a new package arrives, and it’s been so much fun opening up all the new kitchen tools, home décor items and more, that are helping to make our house a home!

Remember to write thank you cards as you go along, otherwise it gets hard to keep track. And if you don’t get something that you registered for, a lot of stores will give you a discount on the remaining items in your registry. So really, go crazy!!

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Celebrating Green for St. Paddy’s Day

Oh, the luck of the Irish! To me, St. Patrick’s Day has always been a fun excuse to wear green and enjoy a pint of Guinness. I’ve never really thought about the historical significance of the Irish holiday, so I thought I would dig a little deeper to find out who this St. Patrick was and why all the green.

Who is St. Patrick?

st patrick greenIn the fourth century, a British born man – Magonius Sucatus Patricius – was kidnapped by Irish raiders when he was 16 and ended up spending six years in captivity in Ireland. During his captivity, he became a devout Christian. Eventually he escaped, but through a series of realized dreams he became a missionary and actually return to Ireland.

Patrick went back to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. According to tradition, he spent many years evangelizing in Northern Ireland and converted “thousands”. Over the following centuries, many legends grew up around Patrick and he became Ireland’s foremost saint. Hence, St. Patrick.

Saint Patrick’s Day, a religious feast day for the patron saint is celebrated on his day of death every year around the world on March 17th and was observed as early seventeenth century. 

So why all the green?

According to legend, St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. However, green and Ireland have gone hand in hand since at least the 1640s, when the green harp flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation. Green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on St Patrick’s Day since at least the 1680s.

Celebrating green for St. Patrick — My top picks:

Canister – Lime Green Fish

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This light green canister has a rustic charm that exudes the tranquility of the French countryside where it was made.

Small Casserole with Top – Lime Green

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With butter yellow glaze inside, this delightful casserole is just the right size for baking brie or a small apple crisp.

Milk Pitcher – Lime Green

green milk pitcher

The perfect size for serving milk or holding daffodils.

Fish Platter – Lime Green

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The pop of green color in this serving dish will certainly highlight your St. Paddy’s day meal.

St. Patrick’s Day is a day of celebrating a centuries old saint who impacted a nation, and revolves around feasting. I hope you’ve enjoyed these fun little tidbits about the holiday and are inspired to add more green to your St. Paddy’s Day.

Browse our entire selection of green ceramics here.

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Our Top Bridal Registry Tips

Over the years, we’ve had the great joy of helping couples with their wedding gift registries. It’s so much fun to be able to help couples build up their home decor pieces for a lifetime of love.

Just recently Emily worked with a color-loving couple who chose this amazing combination of Gorky Gonzalez pottery for their wedding registry.

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If you have a wedding in the works (congrats!), check out these great tips from previous posts to help get you moving in the right direction.

Creating a Great Bridal Registry

When it comes to putting together the perfect gift registry, the most important thing to remember is: ‘you are what you register for.’ In other words, choose stores and products that speak to who you are (both bride and groom)… and who you are as a couple. If you achieve that, your guests will enjoy buying you gifts and you will love receiving them.

Read more here >>

wedding registry

The Ultimate Registry Guide: 5 Things Not to Forget

So you’ve registered with your favorite stores for your upcoming wedding. You’ve figured out the big items that you’d love to receive and are ready to rock… right? Not quite yet. While kitchen appliances and bakeware are the most popular registry items, there are plenty of overlooked items that make great wedding gifts and may have been left off your registry.

Here are my top 5 forgotten things you might just want to include on your wedding registry.

Get them here >>

wedding registry

From Blue and White Planters to Rustic Pitchers: Our Favorite Registry Picks

In recent blog posts, I’ve talked about ideas for where to register as well as unique gifts that people can give a special couple. Today I’m looking at registries from a slightly different angle, diving into the lists of some of the wonderful couples currently registered at Emilia Ceramics.

Take a peak here >>

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The Guide to Going Off Registry

For those who believe that handmade, hand-painted ceramics make the perfect wedding gift, I recommend looking at a couples’ registry (or at their kitchen/home if that’s possible). You’re looking for the holes in their registries (maybe they overlooked serving platters or vases) and also wanting to get a sense of their style preferences. With a little background research, it’s easy to find a one-of-a-kind Emilia Ceramics piece that will fit their aesthetic and quickly become a cherished part of their new life together. Here are a few examples of thoughtful, meaningful wedding gifts that may be “off-registry” but are definitely on-track.

Get 4 great tips for going off registry here >>

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Creating Your Wedding Registry: Tips and Tricks

The wedding registry choice is a tough one for many couples. You want to give your guests options, but not seem greedy. Several of my close friends have gotten married in the past few years and many of them were turned off by the “where to register” recommendations as well as the confusing etiquette surrounding the issue. Still, as a way of protecting yourself from a barrage of questions and worse, receiving tons of gifts you don’t actually want, wedding registries really should alleviate some of the wedding stress.

Getting ready to start the wedding registry process yourself (or know someone who is)?

Click here for tips >>

wedding registry tips

Wedding planning can be stressful. Your wedding registry doesn’t have to be. We’d love to help you with registering for the perfect dishware, entertaining and home decor pieces with our very own Gift Registry options. It’s easy to sign up. Go here for details.

Sign up Here for Emilia Ceramics Gift Registry and you’ll be guaranteed one-of-a-kind pieces you’ll love for a lifetime.

 

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Incorporating Pantone’s Spring Color Palette into Home Decor

Pantone’s spring color palette is, quite simply, divine. The nature-inspired shift to cooler and softer color choices with subtle warm tones, are a soothing escape from the hustle and bustle of every day life. They inspire calmness. Incorporating these colors into your spring wardrobe should be a cinch, but what about your home decor? I have a few ideas on how you can do that.

Pantone 2015 Spring Color Report

Take a peek at my top picks for incorporating Pantone’s Spring Color palette into home decor:

PANTONE 14-4313 Aquamarine – Blue Leaf Planter

pantone 14-4313 Aquamarine“Aquamarine is an airy blue with a dreamy feel. Cool and calming, ethereal Aquamarine is a shade with a wet and watery feel. Open and expansive, this restful blue also acts as a stress reducer.” ~LeatriceEisemanExecutive Director, Pantone Color Institute

This Blue Leaf Planter offers subtle sophistication in the most elegant of colors… deep blues and golden yellows. In fact, it incorporates many of the colors of the season!

store-by-country-italy-ceramiche-darte-tuscia-blue-leaf-plan-450px-450pxPANTONE 15-1247 Tangerine – Orange Ginger Jar

pantone 15-1247 Tangerine“Spontaneous and gregarious, this Tangerine is a juicy orange shade that is energizing, yet not jarring to the eye. Versatile Tangerine is striking enough to stand on its own and adds vitality to a printed pattern. Good natured and friendly, but with a tangy edge, this fun-loving color invites a smile.” ~Leatrice Eiseman

Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute®

This Orange Ginger Jar is a classic Mexican decoration called a tibor in Spanish. Handmade and painted by dedicated artists, our tibores have a fresh and contemporary look that fits any decor style. The burnt orange striped tibor is a great example — adding a modern and stylish look to the home, whether displayed prominently on the shelf, used to decorate the patio, or when the lid is removed, filled with a large bouquet of fresh flowers.

burnt orange ginger jar

PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue – Midnight Blue Serving Plate

pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue“Reliable and thoughtful, Classic Blue inspires calm, confidence and harmony. Serving as an anchor to the Spring/Summer 2015 palette, Classic Blue is a shade that is strong and reliable. Just as with the sea, because of its waterborne qualities, this Classic Blue is perceived as thoughtful and introspective.” ~Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute®

This Midnight Blue Serving Plate is a stunning piece. Whether used as a serving plate or a charger, it will add calm confidence to your table. A great compliment to Gorky’s blue and white pieces.

blue serving platter

PANTONE 14-4102 Glacier Gray – Grey ZigZag Tibor

pantone 14-4102 Glacier Gray“Glacier Gray is an unobtrusive gray that contrasts and enhances; bouncing off other shades without taking away from them as it slips into the background to allow other colors to take center stage.Nature’s most perfect neutral, Glacier Gray is a shade that is timeless. Quietly assuring and peacefully relaxing, Glacier Gray, is above all, constant.” ~Leatrice EisemanExecutive Director, Pantone Color Institute®

Our Grey ZigZag Tibor is a popular classic piece that fits in well with most designs. The grey zig-zags make a modern, grown-up statement, whether displayed prominently on the shelf, used to decorate the patio, or when the lid is removed, filled with a large bouquet of fresh flowers.

grey zigzag tibor

PANTONE 13-0720 Custard – Yellow Pescado Mini Plate

pantone 13-0720 Custard“Just as the name implies, Custard is a delicious and delectable yellow. Sweet and sunny, Custard is a cheering tone that brings thoughts of pleasant relaxation and comfort food. Engaging with its soft and mellow warmth and full of good feelings, subtle Custard has an affable and easy disposition.” ~Leatrice Eiseman

Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute®

This fun octagonal shape and funky fish of this Yellow Pescado Mini Plate adds charm to any kitchen. The buttery yellow on the edges is a fun and festive look, which works great combined with blues and greens.

yellow pescado mini plate

How will you incorporate these great new colors into your home? For more great spring color inspiration, visit our Spring Inspiration Pinterest Board.

 

 

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Fabulous French Coffee Bowls

French coffee bowls, also known as café au lait bowls, exude a cozy European charm. Though, not typically used in cafés or restaurants, they are mostly found in French homes. The draw of these fabulous bowls is that they are not just for coffee or hot chocolate, they can also be used for ice cream, soup, fruit, dips and so much more.French coffee bowl

 

The history of french coffee bowls dates back to the early 19th century. After a Turkish ambassador introduced coffee to Paris, cafes started popping up and coffee was enjoyed along with conversation. Though it was the Turks who introduced coffee, it was the French who contributed milk to the coffee. In the beginning, coffee was served in elegant Paris porcelain cups with a handle, and mostly enjoyed by the elite. But by the late 19th century coffee was affordable to almost everyone, and café au lait bowls were designed to enable “dunking” of left-over baguettes in the coffee for breakfast.

For more: French Coffee Bowls: Adding Provence to Your Morning Routine

antique french coffee bowls

French coffee bowls come in so many colors, shapes and sizes. Start a modern collection or add to an antique collection. Mix and match old with new, patterns with stripes, polka dots with flowers, add these lovely café au lait bowls together on a shelf for an added piece of French charm.

You may enjoy: Making Beverages Special: From French Coffee Bowls to Espresso Cups

Follow along our French Coffee Bowl Pinterest board here!

Don’t forget, you can enjoy 10% off your first order when you subscribe to our newsletter. Grab your code here

 

 

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Perfect Polka Dot Home Decor

Polka dots have an innately fun quality about them; add them to any room and they bring instant energy. When incorporated in a larger space, they can help create a unique visual interest, but, don’t go overboard, they can become overwhelming in a small space.  Best to use polka dots as an accent pattern to add a touch of fun flair.

Here are a few ways for perfect polka dot home decor.

 

In the office

gold polka dot decalsPolka dots add playful sophistication to this home office. These no-commitment, vinyl decal gold dots are easy to apply and can instantly change a space.

You may enjoy – On Trend: Polka Dots in Home Decor and Fashion

In the sitting room

black and white polks dots

A traditional space can easily have pizzazz with black and white polka dot chairs. Dots both big and small are playful and add a wonderful visual interest.

You may enjoy – Polka Dots: A Trend to Love

In the foyer

orange and white polka dots stripes

This piece has it all! Polka dots, stripes and a vibrant orange. Love. What entry way couldn’t use this look?

You may enjoy – 3 Steps to Update Home Decor with Black and White Pattern Mixing

In the kitchen

polka dot bowls

Polka dot bowls are perfect for ice cream, dips, and soup. Mix and match pieces for an added level of interest.

You may enjoy – The Award for Best Dressed Kitchen Goes to Polka Dots

In the laundry room

washer dryer polka dots stripes

Laundry would not be a drag if you have these fun machines with black and white polka dots and stripes.

You may enjoy – Black & White Love: Striped Vases and Home Decor

In the bedroom

polka dots in the bedroom

A Rue Mag editor shows how to style a bedroom space – love the polka dot pillows and simplicity of the overall design.

Need more polka dots in your life? Shop our collection of polka dot home decor pieces here and follow our polka dot Pinterest board here.

 

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Ahhh, Valentine’s Day

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Is Valentine’s Day officially the most controversial non-religious holiday? I think so. Some people love it. Lots hate it. And then there are the parents of young kids, who equate it with mandatory baking and craft-making responsibilities. Whatever camp you fall into, it definitely feels like a day that’s loaded with pressure. If you’re a teenager, you feel the pressure to have a Valentine… to give or get cards or roses (mostly to not be empty-handed). If you’re in a new relationship, Valentine’s Day is especially stressful: What should you do to celebrate? What kind of gift is appropriate? Should you pretend you don’t even know that February 14th has any sort of significance? (Probably smart).

If you’re in a long-term relationship or married, it becomes a bit easier (I think). You actually know your Valentine and know whether it’s important to him/her to go big or not. I think it’s nice to celebrate Valentine’s Day some years, whether that’s with a romantic dinner, roses, or a heart-felt card, but then to skip it other years. As far as I’m concerned, it’s like birthdays: some of them you want to celebrate and others you want to forget. It shouldn’t be expected that Valentine’s Day has to be perfect every year and it definitely shouldn’t cost a ton of money. But if you are feeling romantic this year and do want to celebrate the special person in your life, I suggest giving them something thoughtful, unique, and of course meaningful. While there are plenty of non-ceramic gifts that fall into this category, I think a useful and beautiful piece of ceramics makes an ideal Valentine’s Day gift. Here are some ideas that are sure to please!

A Handmade, Hand-Painted Mug

The great thing about a mug is that it gets used everyday. And while you want it to look good with other kitchen decor, it doesn’t have to match. In fact, almost everyone likes a little diversity when it comes to their mug collection. These are my current favorites and they would all make great Valentine’s Day gifts. (From left: Mexican Cherry Red & White Mug, Italian Cherry Mug, Spanish Te Mug)
Cherry_Red_Mugcherry_mugmug_te

A Vase to Hold Flowers All Year Long

Who wants to get flowers only on Valentine’s Day, when it’s most expected? Not the women I know. They would rather be surprised on April 14th or August 14th, instead of just in February. (Or maybe in addition to February). What better way to make flowers a year-round tradition than to gift a new vase to show off all the flowers to come — And to look good between flower deliveries as well! Depending on the size of flower your Valentine prefers, these are great vase options: The Mexican Black Striped Vase (pictured above with long-stem roses, it also works well with sunflowers), French Polkadot Perfection Pitcher (great for tulips or daffodils), Italian Large Pomegranate Pitcher (for a mix of fresh flowers straight from the garden).

pink_polkadot_pitcher_3large_pom_pitcher_1

A New Platter for Serving Double-Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate is closely linked to romance and Valentine’s Day. But really, the important thing is indulging with whatever dessert makes you feel loved and/or puts you in the mood for love. Why not dress up your Valentine’s favorite cookies, brownies, or cupcakes with one of these beautiful platters?! They also make great serving pieces for other types of food, all year long. (The depth of the Mexican Amor Oval Serving Dish makes it perfect for cupcakes; The French Vive l’Amour Plate says it all for you!; The Mexican Cherry Red Long Platter is a great backdrop for cookies or chocolate-covered strawberries; And the Italian Oval Serving Platter with Lemons is just begging to be topped with rich chocolate brownies.

oval_platter_amorvive_amourlong_cherryoval_platter_lemons_on_red

Need more Valentine’s Day inspiration? Check out the Emilia Ceramics Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas. Or read these posts from previous Valentine’s Days…
2014: Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas Beyond the Clichés
2013: Vases for Your Valentine from Around the World
2012: Why Buy Ceramics for Valentine’s Day?

 

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3 Gorky Gonzalez Pottery Pieces Your Wife Will Love

He began as a painter and sculptor, but after discovering a centuries-old pottery technique known as Majolica, he knew he wanted to revive the forgotten craft. Over the last 50 years Gorky Gonzalez’s studio has become one of the most important Majolica producers in all of Mexico. Gorky, his wife and son Gorky Jr. (or Gogo), and their team of assistants add their own personal, and oftentimes modern, spin to an ancient technique using locally-sourced clay. Gorky pottery is always hand-crafted and simply beautiful.

There are many Gorky collectors out there… maybe your wife (or another special woman in your life) is one of them. If you’re considering gifting some Gorky Gonzalez pieces to your wife this Valentine’s Day, here are a few original suggestions to get you moving in the right direction.

Amor Platter

amor platter by gorky gonzalez

 

Make her feel like a girl again! The design of the Amor Platter is typically referred to as the wedding couple, but we think its depiction of love makes for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. A fun and festive dish for serving appetizers… or a colorful caprese salad!

You may also enjoy: The Plate Designs of Gorky Gonzalez

Small Owl Pitcher

small owl pitcher by gorky gonzalez

 

How cute is this little guy? Guaranteed to put a smile on your wife’s face every time she creams her coffee. This Small Owl Pitcher looks great with Gorky’s colorful Gogo mugs. Hand-painted with colorful glazes, each creamer is one of a kind, which means that no two pitchers look exactly alike, but each has a personality all its own!

You may also enjoy: Gorky Gonzalez, a Lesson in Making the Traditional Modern

Pair of La Mexicana Candle Holders

la mexicana candleholders by gorky gonzalez

This large, colorful set of La Mexicana Candle Holders will add personality to your romantic dinner table setting this Valentine’s Day. And, your wife will continue to enjoy them for entertaining!

You may also enjoy: Behind the Scenes: Gorky Gonzalez’s Mexican Ceramics

There are so many fun and festive Gorky Gonzalez pottery pieces. Take a peek at his entire collection, here. 

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Capelo Pottery: Old World Charm Meets Sophistication

When it comes to finding a statement piece to add old world charm to your home — or giving a sophisticated, one-of-a-kind gift that is sure to impress — Capelo pottery is a sure bet. Capelo and his small team of artists never paint the same pattern twice and no two shapes are exactly the same. This individuality ensures that every piece of Capelo pottery exudes pure Mexican charm and sophistication. Here’s a rundown of my favorite Capelo pottery pieces, each of which is still available on the website: Capelo Pottery Collection. But remember, there’s only one of each, so if you decide that a particular vase or bowl is the perfect addition to your home, you better hurry! Not only do we have limited Capelo pottery in stock, but there will never be another piece exactly the same.

Statement Pieces: Vases and Candleholders

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Never has a flower vase better filled the description of statement piece than Capelo’s Fleur de Lys Vase. While it shows off long-stemmed flowers perfectly, it also looks great on its own. The rich glazes, beautifully-painted design, and sophisticated shape will dress up any book shelf or entryway nook.

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I am also a huge fan of the Kenzie Candleholder. It’s pure old world Mexican charm makes it the ideal family heirloom to pass down for generations to come. We do have two of these, which make a great pair, especially because they are perfectly imperfect (not exactly the same as each other).

Functional Pieces (that go way beyond function): Plates and Bowls

While Capelo’s Little Plates are just that (little) they have big personality. Never has a dessert plate been more fun to use (whether for dessert, breakfast, tapas, or holding jewelry next to your bed). Each of our six little plates is unique, meaning each person at your table can choose their personal favorite. Then choose another favorite the next day! little_plate_5
Capelo pottery is true artwork. Each piece combines creativity, whimsy, and perfectly-applied glazes. It is unique when such sophisticated artwork is also highly functional, which is why I love Capelo’s bowls so much. They make the perfect backdrop for a tossed salad, but also work as a centerpiece between meals. Or fill them with fruit on your kitchen counter. Equally beautiful and useful, these bowls make great gifts!

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Do you have any Capelo pottery in your home? What do you think it is about Capelo pottery that makes it so special?

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Our Top Five Home Decor Inspiration Posts of 2014

The beginning of a new year can oftentimes feel like a fresh start. A time to look back on the previous year and use what you’ve learned to plan for the future. That’s why we took a look at all our blog posts from last year to see which ones you liked the most. Our goal in 2015 is to bring you even more great home decor tips and ideas.

Here are the top five posts from 2014:

Enjoying Your Coffee Like the French with Coffee Bowls

french coffee bowlFrench coffee bowls are mostly used in the home as part of the morning ritual. Every family member has a preferred bowl for their coffee, hot chocolate, tea, or even chocolate milk for the kids. Unlike mugs and cups, French coffee bowls are the perfect pairing with a traditional tartine (toast with butter and/or jam) or a croissant. Instead of struggling to get the perfect angle, you can easily dip your breakfast into your drink without worrying about if it will fit. The large surface area also lets your hot morning beverage cool to a drinkable temperature quickly, ensuring full caffeination before heading out for the day.

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Favorite DIY Utensil Holder Ideas that Look Fabulous

utensil holderUtensil holders are strangely versatile additions to a kitchen. Large ones keep kitchen utensils in order for baking and cooking, but also can double as vases or wine bottle holders (if the shape is right). Smaller utensil holders corral silverware for parties or in apartments with little drawer space. Style comes into the kitchen with chevron utensil holders and other contemporary designs. Inspired by the many ideas on Pinterest and crafty blogs, here are some great holders for your home DIY needs.

The easiest small utensil holder is a jar of appropriate size. Dress it up with ribbon or decals. This series of three mason jars attached to reclaimed barn wood is perfect for forks, knives, and spoons and more!

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Behind the Scenes: Talavera Vazquez’s Blue and White Mexican Pottery

Talavera Vazquez ginger jarsOne of my favorite parts about my four years with Emilia Ceramics has been developing a rapport with ceramic artists all around the world. In this series of posts, I’ll give some insights into what happens behind the scenes to make these beautiful hand-painted ceramics come to life.

Whenever I go to visit Talavera Vazquez I’m always sure I’ll get terribly lost — the streets in Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico look so similar, I’m very relieved to arrive and see the smiling faces of Juan and Roberto Vazquez. They and their team of talented artists are the reason for the unique serving dishes, vases, tibores (ginger jars), planters and other lively Mexican ceramics produced by this family-run workshop.

[Read more]

What Makes Deruta Patterns Unique Among Italian Ceramics?

derutaDeruta is one of Italy’s historic ceramic centers, known for intricate designs and truly amazing Italian ceramics. Vietri dinnerware is famous for its animals, Tuscan majolica for its nature motifs of flowers and fruits. Deruta patterns are intricate and detailed, often combining organic and abstract motifs. The results are similar to the patterns in a kaleidoscope: ever-changing and always beautifully striking.

Deruta is especially famous for hand painted dinner plates. Patterns go back to the Renaissance when the area manufactured ceramics for popular demand (Faenza catered to the aristocrats and Montelupo Fiorentino to trade outside of Italy).

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Mexican and Italian Roosters: Different Takes on an Old Tradition

italian rooster pitcherFor most of us, roosters conjure up ideas of an idyllic American farm in the country, with a red barn and welcoming atmosphere. But these proud birds carry a rich significance around the world, and one that goes beyond their status as an international alarm clock. Roosters are popular in legends, often symbolizing heroism and courage (such as the French coq gaulois, a symbol of France since Roman times). Unsurprisingly, then, roosters have made their way onto objects ranging from flags to plates to wine bottles, though what they stand for changes vastly with geography.

[Read more]

What home decor tips and ideas would you like us to write about in 2015? Share your ideas on our Facebook page.

Did you know you can get 10% off your first order from Emilia Ceramics? Simply sign up for our newsletter for the coupon code. 

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5 Tips for Decorating with Mexican Blue and White Pottery

There is something utterly comforting about blue and white home decor. Is it because blue and white can oftentimes feel like a throwback to another era? Or is it the rustic charm it exudes? Perhaps it’s simply the calming color combination. No matter the reason, I adore the look and feel of blue and white pottery.

mexican blue and white pottery

Dress it up or down, enjoy it in hot weather or cold, these fabulous pieces could find a place in just about any style of decor.

Here are a few of my favorite tips to decorate with Mexican blue and white pottery.

 

Go Vertical

blue and white pottery

A vertical display of pottery is a stunning way to show off your favorite pieces. Pair your wall-hung blue and white platters with either a pair of hand painted lamps or blue and white vases to create an amazing visual effect.

Collected in a Nook

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How gorgeous is this combination of pieces gathered together in a nook? Each pottery piece could stand alone of course, but why not go bold by bringing together several pieces in one place. Start with these pieces: Large Paloma Vase, Blue Striped Vase – Especial, Paloma Tall Simple Vase and Cristina Vase.

As a Fireplace Treatment

blue and white ginger jars

Ginger jars make a nice treatment for the fireplace when it’s not in use. In the summertime, this look can seemingly cool down a room. You may consider a pair of Cristina Tibores or an Extra Large Blue ZigZag Tibor.

Blue and White in the Bedroom

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Talk about putting blue and white ceramics on a pedestal, this is a true statement wall in the bedroom of someone who clearly loves blue and white. Crisp white pedestals are easy to find at any home improvement store. You can place them strategically anywhere in the house (above the bed seems a little excessive and possibly dangerous), and top them with gorgeous blue and white pottery. Here are a few pieces to get you started: Paloma Round Vase, Small Paloma Tibor, and Small Blue Striped Tibor.

Anywhere!

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Honestly, blue and white pottery looks great anywhere. On it’s own or gathered with similar pieces; in the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom; on the wall or table. The charm of blue and white is its easy style and function.

You may also enjoy: Blue and White Mexican Pottery for All Seasons, Blue and White Ceramic Flower Pots, and Blue and White Gift Ideas.

We invite you to pin with us on our Blue and White Pinterest Board

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My Emilia Ceramics Holiday Gift List

One of the perks of working with Emilia Ceramics are all the wonderful gift ideas. I’m constantly finding new favorites on the website and wanting to pick each piece up when I’m at the store. I can’t help but think about what I want to buy for everyone I know (especially myself!).

I finally spent time narrowing down gift ideas for the holidays this year, and here is what I came up with (shhh, don’t tell them!)

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Here is My Emilia Ceramics Holiday Gift List

 

For My Husband

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Small Round Casserole because he makes the most divine homemade mac n’ cheese. Also, the Morning Leaf Mug. I love the colors of this, and that it’s crafted by a Spanish artisan (Spain is my husband’s favorite international country).

For My In-Laws

My mother-in-law loves her pets (and anything unique), I would love to give her this Small Bowl – Dog Pals. I think she would adore this lovely piece.

The Azteca Large Serving Dish for my father in law, because he smokes up a mean piece of meat, and this would be a wonderful way for him to serve it.store-by-country-mexico-gorky-gonzalez-tequila-shot-set-450px-450px

For My Girlfriends

Tequila Shot Set. Because. Mexico.

For My Sons’ Teachers

I wish I could give them a raise, but since I can’t, I think one of these great pieces would be an awesome gift: Cherry Red & White Mug or La Naranja Jewelry Box.

For My Brother

A pair of these Fiesta Tall Candle Holders so he can host the ladies to candlelit dinners.

rooster ornamentFor My Neighbors

This Blue & Red Rooster Ornament is darling! In fact the entire ornament collection is fabulous. I love the Bird of Hope collection, too.  All of the proceeds of that ornament collection go to Hands Together, an organization dedicated to providing the highest quality education to children of the working poor in Santa Ana, Mexico.

 

For My Sister in Law

She lives in California and spends a lot of time on her patio. I know she would love the Oval Planter – Las Flores.

striped lampFor myself (you knew I had to, right?)

Burnt Orange Striped Lamp
Yellow ZigZag Tibor
Big Head Rooster Salt & Pepper Shakers

…Because I need more color in my life!

If you’re looking for gift ideas for the special people in your life, be sure to check out some of our gift idea categories: Housewarming & Hostess, For Her, For Him, Wine Enthusiasts, Coffee Connoisseurs, Lemon Lovers, Rooster Collectors and more.

What’s on your holiday gift list this year?

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Emilia Ceramics Holiday Gift Giving Made Easy

It’s the holiday season! Entertaining, gift giving and all the festivities are underway … and I for one, am thrilled. If you’re looking for an outside-the-box gift idea, look no further. The beauty of a gift from Emilia Ceramics is that each piece is hand-picked from skilled ceramists around the world. No need to travel to France, Italy, Spain or Mexico to find a beautifully hand-crafted holiday gift, the hard work has already been done for you.

But, where to start? I am here to help. I have curated posts from our own site to help you narrow it down. It’s Emilia Ceramics gift giving made easy.

EC Holiday Collage

Holiday Gift Ideas for Pasta Lovers and Culinary Connoisseurs

butter-yellow-pasta-bowl-add-2If you need some gift ideas for pasta lovers on your list or your foodie friends. Here are some practical and delicious gifts that are sure to delight those who love to cook (and eat!) on your list.

Go here for Holiday Gift Ideas for Pasta Lovers and Culinary Connoisseurs

azteca_mugBlue and White Gift Ideas

Do you have a friend who just loves the combination of blue and white? Then, these blue and white gift ideas are perfect! Bowls, lamps, platters and coffee mugs… oh my.

Go here for Blue and White Gift Ideas

big-rooster-salt-and-pepper-shakersSalt & Pepper Sets for the Spicy Person In Your Life

Lots of folks change out their napkins and place mats, but what about salt & pepper shakers? Emilia Ceramics has lots of cute sets, they make great gifts.

Go here for Spice Up Your Table with Salt & Pepper Sets

store-by-country-france-richard-esteban-le-chalet-serving-pl-450px-450pxAn Italian Country Style Gift Guide

When life gets hectic, I oftentimes escape to the Italian countryside. These gift ideas evoke all the wonderfulness Italy has to offer; bright colors and rustic charm.

Go here for An Italian Country Style Gift Guide

soap4 Quick Gift Ideas for Using Soap Dishes

I’ll bet you didn’t realize how multi-functional a soap dish could be. Here are some great tips for how to use them in gift giving.

Go here for 4 Quick Gift Ideas Using Soap Dishes

vertical_blue_stripe_vaseOur Gift Guide for the Person With Everything

We’ve all been there, trying to find the perfect gift for the person who has everything. It might be your boss, mother-in-law, or a close friend, but no matter who it is, the frustration can be intense when trying to think of some suitable gift ideas. This post helps you hone in on unique gifts for that impossible-to-shop-for person in your life.

Go here for Our Gift Guide for the Person With Everything

store-by-country-mexico-talavera-vazquez-black-striped-wine--450px-450pxGifts We Love for Wine-Loving Friends

Know any oenophiles? An oenophile is a lover of wine, oenophilia the love of wine, and oenology the study of wine and wine making. Others prefer the term wine connoisseur, aficionado, or the more general, wine lover. Regardless of what you call them, these gift ideas are sure to please.

Go here for Gifts We Love for Wine-Loving Friends

Whew! That’s a lot of gifting. I hope this gift giving made easy list has helped take the guess work out of the holidays so you can find those PERFECT pieces for the ones you love.

You may also enjoy: 7 Top Tips: Buying Ceramics Online for the Holidays

 

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Giulio Dishware Sets: Three Ways for the Holidays

The holidays are a time to embrace tradition, whether that means baking up dozens of cookies for the school bake sale, hosting the neighborhood cocktail party or adding new heirloom pieces to your dishware set. As for me, I will be doing it all (including tackling a new egg nog recipe that I can’t wait to try out!)

Today, I will show you some of my favorite holiday displays featured on our Pinterest board. Then, break down each display by item and show you how to get the look with Emilia Ceramic’s gorgeous Gialletti Giulio collection.

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Run by third generation brothers, the Ceramiche Gialleti Guilio studio is in the heart of Deruta, a picturesque medieval hilltown in Umbria, Italy. Ceramics are a typical product of Deruta and there is a century-long history of spectacular craftsmanship and beauty. The Gialletti Giulio style of ceramics combines tradition with original, innovative designs; the dishware sets are fun to mix, match and combine.

Here are just a few ideas for highlighting these colorful pieces.

Red with Turquoise

Love this look! It’s modern, fresh and still holiday-ish. Red and turquoise from designer Kathryn Greeley. Take the red and turquoise color trend even further by coordinating tree ornaments and other home decor items.

turquoise and red holiday table

Get the Look

Charger with Red Stripe

Ceramiche Gialletti Giulio / Charger with Red Stripe

Plus, Salad Plate with ‘Fogliame’ Border

Ceramiche Gialletti Giulio / Salad Plate with 'Fogliame' Border

Letting the Plates Shine

The simplicity of the natural setting of this table allows the beauty of these stunning plates to shine (image by Premier Table Linens.) I like the natural feel of this look and would even jazz it up with more natural elements such as adding evergreen tree branches and sparkly pine cones.

hand painted deruta dinnerware

Get the Look

‘Il Sole’ Salad Plate

Ceramiche Gialletti Giulio / 'Il Sole' Salad Plate

Orange and Blue

Who doesn’t love orange? Orange is a happy color, and goes wonderfully with darker blue. It’s no surprise they look so great together, on the color wheel these are complimentary colors that are on opposite sides (which means they really pop when put together).

Charger with Orange Stripe

Get the Look

Charger with Orange Stripe

Ceramiche Gialletti Giulio / Charger with Orange Stripe

Plus, ‘Alba’ Salad Plate

Ceramiche Gialletti Giulio / 'Alba' Salad Plate

You can see how Gialletti marries a refined, sophisticated look with the authenticity of visible brushstrokes, which is a true Italian characteristic.

The combinations of these pieces are endless and can allow for a unique table setting year  after year. Check out all the options on the Emilia Ceramics website here.

What Ceramiche Gialletti Giulio color combinations will you enjoy this year?

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Unique Handcrafted Serving Platters for Thanksgiving

Next week, American families will be deep in a feasting celebration for the Thanksgiving holiday. I can say without a doubt, that this is my favorite holiday of the year. Filled with great food, family, friends and football; it is a wonderful observance.

As my family grows and we find our own traditions –  whether it includes inviting new friends, taking turns telling everyone what we’re thankful for or even how we roast our turkey – I aim to extract as much out of the experience as I can.

Starting with the holiday table.

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While my husband takes great pride in preparing our feast, I find a similar joy in the setting of the table. This year, I am adding some new, soon-to-be favorite serving platters to our collection. Not only will these pieces bring beauty and joy to the table, they will also be (I hope!) future heirlooms.

Here are the serving platters I am eyeing for holiday entertaining.

La Mexicana Platter

The colors are gorgeous to me. I particularly like how the orange adds warmth against the coolness of the greens and blues. This would be perfect for serving cheese and crackers.

la mexicana platter

Pumpkin Long Platter With Floral Relief

There is no denying my love of orange! The color, the shape, the size of this platter is perfection.

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Oval Serving Platter – Pomegranate

This platter is so fresh and colorful. It takes me to Italy.

oval serving platter

 

Rooster Bowl

The description of this serving bowl is spot on – it has a rustic charm. I think my roasted brussels sprouts would be perfectly presented in this bowl. Plus, there is the bonus of adding the luck of the roosters.

rooster bowl

 

Round Serving Dish – La Fiesta

I think a big green salad would look wonderful in this La Fiesta Mexican bowl.

la fiesta serving dish

 

The style, function and beauty of these unique handcrafted serving platters are going to make this Thanksgiving, and every one beyond this, extra special.

Which serving platters are your favorites? Peruse the entire Emilia Ceramics collection of Serving Platters here.

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Orange Home Decor Ideas

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 5.49.42 PMWell, it’s over a week overdo, but I’m still glowing from the San Francisco Giants’ World Series win. It was a strange experience living in Boulder, Colorado (where very few people seem to even know there’s a baseball team called the Giants) during the World Series instead of San Francisco, where I lived the last two times the Giants won (2012 and 1010). But even far away, I got very swept up by the whole experience and wore as much orange as I could.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 1.34.28 PMOrange is not for everyone, but there are definitely those of us who love the color. I have been a fan of orange ever since becoming a Princeton Tiger in college. But my affinity for the color orange also translates to home decor. Lucky for me, orange (in all of it’s varying hues) has had a major resurgence in popularity over the last few years, so orange home decor ideas are readily available. (On a side note, I’ve noticed that designers often use more stylish names for orange, like mango, mandarin, and coral.)

Why’s orange so great? I think because of it’s versatility. Dark reddish-orange has a classic, rustic feel, like the color of tomato soup or the Golden Gate Bridge. Citrus orange feels more retro. And then there’s bright orange, which is modern and fresh. Whichever orange you opt for, the color has a clean, bright, fresh, happy feel. In fact, Frank Sinatra himself said: “Orange is the happiest color.” If you need to see it to believe it, check out all the great orange home decor ideas on Houzz.

It’s no surprise that the Emilia Ceramics collection embraces orange. It’s a timeless color that looks amazing with blue and white (our favorite color combination), but also mixes well with green, grey, and black. The perfect orange this time of year is Gorky Gonzalez’s pumpkin colored plates, bowls, and mugs. These have a rich terra-cotta tone that reminds me of pumpkin pie. They look amazing mixed and matched with Gorky Gonzalez blue and white pottery as well as Richard Esteban’s charming French country plates. The pumpkin platters are a great backdrop for any food. I love serving cheese, grapes, and crackers on the Pumpkin Long Platter with Floral Relief.

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Keeping with the rustic, classic orange feel, there is nothing quite like Talavera Vazquez’s striped and chevron pieces in burnt orange. Set in a room with predominantly neutral colors, they make a stylish impact, in an understated, authentic way. The Striped Vase – Especial is one of my go-to gifts. It seems no matter the recipients style, this vase fits in… adding a surprising element of warmth to any room in the house. The chevron lamps are another of my favorites. They have so much personality.

decorate with ginger jars

The newest orange addition to the collection is the sophisticated dinner and salad plates by Gialletti Giulio with an orange stripe around the edge. The citrus orange on these platters feels fresh and flavorful. I honestly feel like I’d expect to taste an undertone of orange zest in any food eaten off these plates. Their simplicity is perfect.

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Do you love orange too? Have any great orange home decor ideas or favorite orange fabrics, wall paints, etc. that you’d like to share? We’d love to see them — If you email me your favorite photos incorporating orange, I’ll pin them to our “Only Orange” board on Pinterest.

 

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4 Tips for Adding Stripes to Your Home Decor

Stripes are a fun way to refresh any room in your house. Introducing stripes into a room, even if just in a minor way, can make a big impact. Don’t be intimidated to add stripes, like any other decorating style it’s all about deciding how you want the room to feel based on it’s function and current decor.

Plan the room 

Look at the room and decide what it’s going to be used for and how you want to feel when in the room. Ask yourself how adding stripes will change things. You may need to take into consideration the size and shape of the room, existing color of the room, and the lighting sources. For instance, the striped rug below makes a small, narrow room appear larger and adds a lovely focal point.

stripe rug

Size and Direction

If you are considering adding stripes to your walls, you’ll have to decide how thick to paint them and in which direction they should go. Both of these details will affect how the stripes will alter the room’s visual perspective. If the room is fairly large with the average 8 to 10 feet high ceilings you’ll want to use vertical stripes. Vertical stripes give the impression of greater height and make the room seem more spacious. If the room is smaller, such as a bathroom, then horizontal stripes are a better choice. Consider thicker stripes to make the room more formal or traditional. I think thinner stripes feel more modern and can make a room look “busy”. A great example is the child’s room below. The thick, yellow stripes add a playful dimension and their horizontal orientation makes it look bigger than it is.

stripped wall

Colors

The colors you choose for your stripes are critical in how they end up affecting the room. If you’re going for a relaxed vibe, opt for complimentary colors or varying shades of the same color (like the yellow stripes above). Contrasting colors or multi-colored stripes are more arresting. This is a good option for rooms where you might want to host parties or play games.  Pillows, rugs, and other furniture with bright or contrasting stripes may draw attention away from the rest of the room. These pieces are perfect if you have simple decor surrounding them, but can feel too busy if they’re just one of many colorful objects competing for attention in the room. A fun pillow or chair really stands out in a sparsely decorated room. For example, nothing says happiness and creativity like this striped bench that’s just bursting with color.

stripped bench

Accessories

A few well-placed accessories are a simple and beautiful way to introduce stripes into your home decor. Before making a big change with stripes, add one or two striped items, perhaps a lamp, planter, ginger jar or vase, to a room to see how it changes things. You’ll see right away if you’re going down the right path. More often than not, I think you’ll decide that a striped piece like those below add a lovely pop to your home. They’re also a great way to infuse a touch of contemporary style into an otherwise traditional setting.

decorate with ginger jars

Looking for more strip-spiration? Check out our “Stripes” Pinterest Board!

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Planning A Day of the Dead Celebration

Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) is a beautiful and historical Mexican holiday with traditions observed to celebrate friends and family members who have passed on. Day of the Dead is celebrated on the 1st and 2nd days of November and has been in existence as far back as 1000 BC. Rich with tradition and steeped in spirit (no pun intended), Día de los Muertos is a wonderful way to remember ancestors and friends. 

Want to plan your own Day of the Dead Celebration? Here are some tips to help.

Plan your Día de los Muertos Menu

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Mexican food (served on Mexican ceramics, of course!) will elevate your gathering. Here are some menu items to consider:

Get the look! Pictured above: Viña Azul Salad Bowl by Talavera Vazquez

Set Up An Altar

day of the dead altar

Setting up an altar in memory of the deceased is one of the most important traditions of Day of the Dead celebrations. Altars should have the four elements of nature: water, wind, fire (candles) and earth (flowers) represented. The altar or offerings might include the favorite food of the loved one being honored.

You may enjoy: Fall Tablescapes with Mexican Flair

Sprinkle In A Few bones

sugar skull cookies

In the pre-Hispanic era skulls were commonly kept as trophies and displayed during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth. Candy skulls made of sugar are part of the tradition, too. Placing the calaveritas or little skulls in the altars as an offering is a custom from urban areas.

Add skulls through ceramics, too. Check out: Smoking Skeleton Hot Plate

Layer in Disguises

day of the dead makeup

Skull masks and face paint are representative of the little skulls placed at the altar. Set out a mask table and let guests decorate their own mask or apply makeup mimicking the calaveritas. 

You may also enjoy: The Perfect Ceramics to Celebrate Day of the Dead

How will you enjoy Día de los Muertos this year?

Find more inspiration on our Celebrating Day of the Dead Pinterest Board

 

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Celebrating Mexican Pottery with an ‘Indian Summer Taco Party’

While I enjoyed the “real” winter in Colorado last year, I am having a lot of trouble letting go of summer. Lucky for me, it has been practically perfect weather for the last week in Boulder. Like mid-60s to mid-70s, sun shining and just a few wispy clouds. Plus, the leaves are changing making for a super vibrant color spectrum of yellow, orange, and blue. In honor of this beautiful weather — and the impending cold, dark months to come — I decided to host a little taco party. I kept it pretty simple, focusing on fresh guacamole, carne asada tacos, and refreshing coin style margaritas.

I decided to make this party about celebrating Mexican pottery as well as great Mexican food (and lovely warm weather). I think I spent more time picking out the serving dishes, plates, bowls, and glassware than I did preparing the food! What I came up with was a color pallet that matched the scenery outside: warm oranges and yellows set against crisp blues and whites. These pieces fit the season and they made the food look delicious. Here are a few photos from the evening:

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Here’s a link to all the Mexican pottery featured at my taco party >>

While the “Agua” Cups and Pitcher are actually from Spain, I thought they added a fun and fitting touch for serving and drinking water. I always reach for the El Mar Platter and matching Serving Plate when I want interesting shapes, a subtle color pallet, and a decorative but not distracting pattern. To that I added the La Mexicana Dinner Plates and Dip Bowls (I love this classic pattern from Gorky Gonzalez). Of course I opted for a few bright pops of color, with the rich Pumpkin Bowls and Dinner Plates, the Cucumber Long Platter with Floral Relief and bright orange cotton napkins. The table was super colorful and the food was delicious! I think I definitely achieved my goal of celebrating Mexican pottery and paying tribute to what’s officially my new favorite season: Indian Summer.

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Pitcher Vase Decor Ideas Anyone Can Use

Pitcher vases make wonderfully versatile home decor, great in nearly any space. The pitcher’s origin dates back to the 13th century and is derived from the Middle English word, picher (meaning earthen jug). Pitchers have a utilitarian history and have been clouted for the multifunctional design elements for centuries – after all, a container with a spout and handle can serve many functions.

Do you have a shelf full of pitchers that aren’t being fully utilized? Here are some pitcher vase decor ideas you can use today in your home.

Filled with Flowers

There is no better way to showcase your pitcher than by filling it with a bouquet of your favorite seasonal flowers. The Rooster Pitcher below can be used to hold a floral arrangement, to serve milk or even wine.

decorating with pitcher vases

On a Shelf

There is often unused space above windows; this idea of adding a shelf and filling it with vases can really make an oft unused space, super functional… and beautiful!

Pitcher Vases on a Shelf

On a Hook

An out-of-the box way to showcase and store your pitcher vase is by adding it to a hook in your kitchen. How fun!

pitcher vase

I just love all the versatility of pitcher vases. Use these great pieces to serve drinks, or to add flare to a room. Form, function, style…. you can’t get better than that.

Ready to fill your shelves with these beauties? Start shopping now…

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Fall Tablescapes with a Mexican Flair

When you look at Mexican or Spanish inspired spaces you will notice that a lot of the colors are synonymous with Fall. This makes combining Mexican flair with fall decor a sure bet.

If you are looking to put together a Mexican inspired fall tablescape in your home this season, these ideas may just help.

Pottery is a Must

Pottery is an important part of Mexican decor and is great to incorporate into seasonal styling. Whether you choose a gathering of smaller clay pots, a colorful array of Mexican ceramics or one large inspired piece, adding Mexican pottery will instantly create a beautiful fall tablescape.

mexican pottery

Consider Interesting Textiles

Mexican place mats, or table rugs, can bring interest and color to a table. There is no need to use a whole set, use one in the middle of the table as a landing spot for your favorite fall inspired pieces.

fall tablescape

Add Color

When you think of Mexican decor, certain colors come to mind. For me, a rust orange is one of these colors. I like to collect different elements such as candles, pots, trays, and foliage, that feature this rich deep color. Create a grouping with these items, adding a splash of aqua blue can really set the grouping off.

fall tablescape ideas

 

Sunflowers Add Pop

For a very simple tablescape idea, fill a beautiful vase with sunflowers. Sunflowers are often featured throughout Mexican design and are in abundance this time of year.

fall tablescape ideas

Dia De Los Muertos

Day of the dead is celebrated on November 1st in Mexico. Calavera’s or skulls made from clay or sugar play a significant role in this festive celebration. Incorporating a calavera, or other skeleton-inspired pieces, into your tablescape can make for an interesting talking point.

fall tablescapes
The bright rich colors that are a part of Mexican heritage work well with the bright rich colors of fall. Whether you choose to incorporate individual pieces into your seasonal decor, or you choose to go all out, your tablescape is sure to make a statement this fall.

 

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Fall Refresh For Your Home

lamp_couchOne of my favorite blogs is Apartment Therapy. They have great photos that provide instant inspiration for homes of all sizes and budgets. Plus, they’re posts are super informative. For example, their recent post about 5 Things You Can Do to Instantly Re-Energize Your Space got me thinking about small changes that make a big impact on your home. This time of year, as the weather gets cooler and we start spending more time indoors it’s nice to refresh your home decor, in small, subtle ways.

Here is my own list of 5 fall refresh ideas that will make you love your home all over again:

1. Relocate Art

Apartment Therapy suggested moving art that you already have from one room to another. Along the same lines, I suggest repurposing a colorful platter or bowl by hanging it on the wall, where you can enjoy it like a painting. In my showroom, I have Gorky’s vintage bowls (La Mujer and El Hombre) hanging on one wall, Ceramica Valenciana’s charismatic plates on another wall, and Ceramiche Bartoloni’s sophisticated platter on another. They are each expertly painted in the artist’s unique style, and their 3-dimensionality offers more depth than a painting on a canvas would. Mostly, they bring a smile to my face every time I see them. Why not liven up your walls with a favorite piece that would otherwise just take up space in your cupboard?

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2. Add Candles

There’s nothing like candles to make your home feel warm, cozy, and inviting. Two of my favorite candle holders are small, but super colorful. They add personality to any space, whether arranged in a grouping or just on their own. Both the tall candle holder and the smaller, square votive candle holder (which doubles as a planter) are statement makers… and they work in small spaces!

3. Embrace Change

Sometimes I feel like I keep the same jewelry boxes and perfume bottles on my bureau just because I’m used to them being there. Same goes with the clutter in my kitchen — the utensil holder, spoon rest, canisters, etc. are all there because that’s where they’ve always been. But there’s no reason you can’t make some changes based on the reality of what’s currently getting used. Look at and really analyze everything on a specific counter. What do you use? What do you love looking at? Everything else could probably be put away out of sight or given away. Change can be difficult, but de-cluttering our living spaces is always worth it in the end.

4. Refresh Rituals

Refresh your morning ritual of coffee or your evening ritual of a glass of wine with some new and inspiring pieces. Whether it’s polkadots you love or rustic Italian fruit motifs, using a mug that puts you in a good mood for the day can really change your perspective. Likewise, eating a piece of toast from one of Gorky’s personality-packed plates or sipping wine from a Vino Cup really can make the mundane experience feel new and exciting all over again.

polka_dot_mugs

5. Add Lighting

As the days get shorter and the whether colder, it’s important to be sure you have enough light sources in your home. If it fits in your home’s decor (and there’s enough space for it), I love Design Within Reach’s Arco Floor Lamp. Of course, I believe the hand-crafted beauty in one of our ceramic table lamps is unmatched. Each lamp that we sell is an art piece all on it’s own, which means it serves double duty lighting up the room around it, while simultaneously decorating and bringing life to the space. Whether it’s a pair of Italian lamps, one of our super unique French table lamps, or the more contemporary Mexican striped or chevron lamps, these light sources will immediately refresh and bring joy to your home.

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Have any other home-refreshing ideas to suggest? Leave a comment on our Facebook page!

 

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Spanish Dinnerware – A Lifetime of Love

For newly engaged couples, determining what dinnerware to register for can be a daunting task. There are so many patterns, pieces and formality involved. How can you decide what tableware is the right fit for you? And, whether you will love it for many years to come?

Enter the Spanish dinnerware pieces by Ceramica Valenciana!

Ceramica Valenciana dinnerware is infused with personality and flare, and always created following traditional majolica methods; each piece is handmade and hand painted. There is variety, yet a common thread. Whether you’re looking for a traditional, contemporary or classic look, Ceramica Valenciana is sure to deliver.

Contemporary Spanish Dinnerware

If you’re a more modern couple, you’ll love the clean lines of the contemporary pieces. These beautiful pieces are simple, yet stylish and will fit in nicely with any other style.

Spanish Dinnerware Contemporary Collage

 

Above: Oil & Vinegar Set, Salsa Bowl, Cocina Salad Bowl, Little Square Plate – Blue,  Little Square Bowl – Blue, Little Square Plate – Red, Little Square Plate & Bowl – Red

Traditional Spanish Dinnerware

If you’re whimsical, the fanciful pieces may be for you. These special pieces are ones you will certainly be passing along to your children. Many couples choose to mount these unique pieces on their walls for fun wall decor.

Spanish Dinnerware Whimsical Collage

Above: Large Plate – El PájaroLarge Plate – La Mujer, Large Plate – El Animal, Large Plate – La Valenciana

Classic Spanish Dinnerware

Perhaps you would want Spanish dinnerware that incorporates modern elements with a bit of relaxed charm? These pieces are a fantastic combination of the two styles.

Spanish-Dinnerware-Collage_top

snail platter 650

Above: Caracol Dinner Plate, Pajaro Dessert Plate, Pavo Real Dessert Plate, Caracol Serving Platter- Large

Best of all, however, all these Spanish dinnerware pieces are easy to mix-and-match for an eclectic feel. I love that their style elements are those in which growing families can add on to, and these wonderful pieces are hand crafted by true artisans. Think about the lifetime of love you’ll get from adding Spanish dinnerware to your gift registry.

Tips for registering for dinnerware

Before you head out to register for your wedding gifts, here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Determine how many settings to register for by asking yourself – how often do you plan on entertaining? How many guests would you anticipate to host? Six to eight place settings is a good place to start, but I would err on the higher end and even consider registering for twelve settings. You never know when you’ll want to go bigger.

2.  Sit down with your fiancé and determine your combined style. Many couples these days are coming into relationships with their own full set of dinnerware. Do you want to combine the two? Start from scratch? What look and feel do want? Discussing this before you register is a good idea.

3. Once you have figured out your style, you’ll need to decide whether to register for two settings: one formal, one everyday. Couples these days are more often opting for one nicer everyday set. According to POPSUGAR, a place setting consists of: dinner plate, salad plate, bread & butter plate, and cup & saucer – soup bowls are usually not part of the setting, but also make a nice addition to the registry.

4. Good Housekeeping recommends couples not fall into the “trend” trap by registering for pieces that fall into “traditional,” “contemporary” or “classic” design category. The last thing you want to do is load up on dinnerware that you’ll fall out of love with in a few years.

Ready to add a lifetime of love with Spanish dinnerware to your registry? Sign up for the Emilia Ceramics gift registry here. 

 

 

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What Makes This Striped Vase So Special?

Years ago, when I named this striped vase ‘Especial,’ I had no idea how many other people would find it equally special. I guess it’s a case of great minds thinking alike! Whether on Pinterest, Facebook, or design blogs, people can’t get enough of this striped vase by Talavera Vazquez. Maybe it’s the shape, maybe it’s the size, maybe it’s the stripes?

striped vase orangeblack white striped vase with sunflowers

To keep up with their popularity, I have consistently had to increase my orders of the ‘Especial’ vases over the years. Decorators love them. I love them. And judging by all the repins on Pinterest, you seem to love them too!

striped vase

When a smaller striped vase is needed, we have the shorter version of the ‘Especial’, as well as the small round vase with stripes. The curves keep these vases just as arresting and functional, regardless of size. And then there’s our striped wine bottle holder: wine, flowers, utensils, this striped vase does it all.

 Blue and White Striped Vase

Why do you think these striped vases are so popular? Are there any other colors you’d like to see? I am about to introduce a new version of the above shorter striped vase in yellow and burnt orange, which I’m sure will be super popular. Let me know if you have any ideas of how we could expand the striped vase line. Meanwhile, I’ll be dreaming of stripes for days to come…striped vase yellow

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The Real Deal: How to Find Authentic Deruta and Spot Fakes

Deruta ceramics are justly famous. Their rich colors and intricate patterns also make this Italian ceramic style one of the most copied. Today seemingly every store sells Deruta and Italian style dinnerware, but most of it is not actually from Italy. So how can you avoid fake Deruta and get the real stuff?

Deruta ceramics

Buy handmade Italian ceramics

Many of the “Deruta-inspired” ceramics are labeled as such, but not all. Of course there are plenty of beautiful Italian handmade ceramics from other regions than Deruta. If a piece hasn’t been made by hand, it isn’t real Deruta majolica. Price can be an obvious give-away. If the price of a platter or pitcher seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Look for the mark

Genuine handmade Deruta should have a maker’s signature on the bottom of the piece, whether it was made this year or in the 1500s. This mark will often say the country of origin along with the name of the studio. Some pieces will even have the artist’s name or initials.

signature

Check out the glaze

Authentic handpainted ceramics have an unglazed foot at the bottom. This ring will look and feel slightly rough to the touch, like in the photo above. If a ceramic is completely glazed, including the foot, it’s likely been painted by a machine. Handpainted glaze will also have slight variations in thickness that you can feel.

Learn about pattern types

Deruta majolica has a fair number of named, traditional patterns. Some standouts: Raffaellesco (look for the dragon), Galletto (look for the rooster), Arabesco (inspired by Persian calligraphy), and Ricco Deruta (based on stylized wheat-shafts and scrolls used by early Romans).

raffaelesco deruta
All are characterized by intricate details and rich colors. Deruta artists also create their own pattern variations, making for lots of options (sometimes too many!). Get familiar with what’s available, then mix and match to your heart’s content.

Find the brushstrokes and crazing

Even the most experienced artists have visible brushstrokes on their ceramics. Deruta’s intricate patterns can make these a little hard to see, but any large section of color will have visible variations. You’ll also likely see slight variations in the pattern from piece to piece. Any older Italian majolica ceramics will have crazing, little hairlines in the glaze, a natural result of the aging process. Be suspicious of anything that looks too perfect.

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Ask about the artists

Deruta’s artists made the region famous for majolica in the 1600s. If you can find out about the studio where the ceramics were made, you’ll be less likely to end up with something manufactured on an assembly line elsewhere.

 

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The Beautiful Gift of Artful Ceramics – A Look at Sylvie Duriez

I am realizing as I get older, the value of quality over quantity, the importance of beauty in a space and how having a sense of humor brings it all together. The French ceramics artisan, Sylvie Duriez, seems to artfully combine these recent epiphanies in the form of beautifully hand-painted ceramics.

sylvie

Sylvie’s painting technique is whimsical, free-flowing and so artistically crafted, you wonder how she can possibly have enough time in the day to create enough beautiful pieces to share. She does the entire process herself, starting with the selection of clay and throwing each piece on the wheel.

At the first introduction of Sylvies work, I was instantly captivated. Her subjects speak to everyday Provincial life through floral bouquets, free-roaming animals, and reclining French woman. You can’t help but want to jump inside a piece to soak up the countryside along with her.

sylvie duriez

I love her subtle color choice and how the subjects have such a look of content on their faces. Simply following Sylvie’s brush strokes through the process of creativity, brings a sense of peacefulness. There is so much more to a piece crafted by Sylvie – sure, it’s created as a bowl, vase or plate, but each piece is like a magnificent watercolor painting, completely unique and telling its own individual story.

sylvie duriez collage

The gift of artful ceramics, such as the one-of-a-kind pieces by Sylvie, is something every home deserves. Especially yours!

What is your favorite Sylvie Duriez piece?