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Spring ‘Green-ing’: Designing with the Pantone Color of the Year

green milk pitcher

Near the start of every new calendar year, Pantone – an authority on color – declares a symbolic ‘Pantone Color of the Year.’ According to Pantone, the color of the year serves as a “snapshot of what [we] see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.” A few examples of recent colors of the year include, Cerulean Blue, Mimosa, and Honeysuckle.

Green Hallway
via MFAMB

In December, Pantone announced the 2017 Color as Greenery, (or for those with design prowess: P 15-0343). Representative of life and new beginnings, Pantone Color Institute Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman, speaks about Greenery as denoting the reconnection we seek with nature, each other and our larger purpose.

Whether or not you resonate with the symbolism, you can definitely appreciate the hue. In this post, we help you think through designing with the Pantone color of the year. Below, we’ll explore the color psychology of Pantone’s Greenery, and offer suggestions about how to integrate it into your home.

The Expression

Color psychology is the study of how hues relate to human behavior and the inconspicuous ways they influence perceptions. If you pay attention to your subtle response when you enter a room, you might notice feelings of comfort, excitement, security or any number of other reactions. Believe it or not, the dominant color surrounding you in any space has an effect on your mood or spirit.

emilia-ceramics-greenery-designingPsychologically speaking, the color green is synonymous with liveliness, growth and renewal; not dissimilar to what the color physically represents when it shows up in nature. It is believed that green offers a sense of health, prosperity, tranquility, and even fertility. Being in a predominantly green space could even relieve stress and prompt healing.

Think about the spaces in your home, and consider the rooms that might benefit you, your family, or your guests by your prompting these types of reactions.

Clever Color Combinations

In addition to offering us the official color of the year, Pantone also presents pairings that work well with Greenery. Before you get to designing for this Pantone color of the year, you can reference these recommended hues to determine what room might offer the most opportune palette for incorporating the color green.

To complement the green and yellow mix of this year’s color, look to cooler shades, such as blue-greys in ranging tones. Pantone suggests colors like Periscope, Lead or Nimbus Cloud. You can also look to other colors of nature, such as neutrals and warm creams and beiges, to which Pantone suggests Sheepskin, Brown Rice and Buttercream. See the below suggestions (I’m a fan of the calm it down pallet) or for more color pairings, look here >>

How to Incorporate It

As spring approaches, I’m beginning to take a fresh look at how I can reinvigorate my interior. A color like Greenery, especially at this time of year, can inspire so many ways to integrate green, (and as a result, the feelings of health, prosperity, and tranquility) into the home.

The most significant change for you might be a wall color change. Though if you’re not in the mood to make this type of commitment, consider an accent wall or accent décor. For those with a green thumb, visit a nursery and invest in some living accents for any room in your home.

via DADAA

When it comes to accent décor, why not add some liveliness to your home in the form of green ceramics?! Here are a few of my favorites:

This year I’m looking forward to less spring cleaning and a lot more spring green-ing!

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Part I: This Year’s Fresh Fall Designs

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It’s official – the weather is starting to change and I’m beginning to feel the transition to autumn. Every year around this time, I’m sad to have to say goodbye to the past few months of outdoor activities. The good news is I get to cozy up inside my home. As I do, I look for inspiration in the newest trends in décor.

This year, I’ve noticed a few fresh fall designs worth mentioning. The first…
Continue reading Part I: This Year’s Fresh Fall Designs

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Buying Trip to Mexico, Part 3: Talavera Vázquez

The final visit on my recent trip to Mexico was to the showroom and studio of Talavera Vázquez, located in the small, pottery-centric town of Dolores Hidalgo. Talavera Vázquez is a fourth generation, family-run business focused on marrying Mexican tradition with current day design innovation.

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While owner Roberto Vázquez was not there the day of our visit, his outgoing son Arnold Eduardo Vázquez Cortez was there, using his nearly perfect English and touring us around. Also helping us were Francisco Frausto Valdez, a 20+ year employee of the Vázquez family, and Maria Elvira Lopez Gonzalez, who is my business contact for orders. Maria and I do so much long distance emailing and talking that it’s always fun to see each other in person. I feel lucky to be able to work with such a friendly, helpful, and creative team!

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(From Left: Francisco, Me, Maria, and Arnold)

We had the opportunity to watch some of the artists glazing pieces that were destined for the Emilia Ceramics collection. Below, Carlos is painting a Large Hidalgo Vase.

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Above: Carlos Javier Salmeron

Below, painter Paula carefully decorates a Blue ZigZag Tibor. On the right are three recently-painted Paloma Round Vases.

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Above: Paula Palacios Olvera

Another artist (called the esmaltador) Jose Salvador Godinez demonstrated for us how he bathes each piece in base glaze (esmalte in Spanish). This is the first stage in the glazing process (after the terracotta clay has been fired). I took the two videos below, which show Jose stirring up the glaze to be sure it has consistent thickness and color throughout; And then bathing a ginger jar in the glaze. While he makes this look easy, anyone who has glazed their own pottery knows this is anything but straightforward or foolproof! He must do it at just the right speed and be sure that the entire piece is covered evenly and dries evenly as well.

[quicktime class=”alignnone width=”250″ height=”400″]http://emiliaceramics.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/movie.720.mov[/quicktime] [quicktime class=”alignnone width=”250″ height=”400″]http://emiliaceramics.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/movie_2_720.mov[/quicktime]

Below is a group of the tall vases we call “Especial” – they have been bathed in base glaze and are now drying before being decorated with stripes, zigzags, or a floral motif. See the finished vases here >>

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After hand-painting each piece with its respective design, they are loaded into the kiln for a final firing. I love the rustic way these pieces are all packed tightly, yet safely together to maximize kiln space.

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lamp_closeupBesides reconnecting with the Vázquez team and seeing their artistry in action, I love to visit so that I can pick out new and original pieces for the Emilia Ceramics Collection. This time on my visit, we found some great new small objects, like soap dishes, jewelry boxes, and simple vases for holding pens, pencils, and toothbrushes. We also picked out a few large statement pieces, such as beautiful big vases, a large sunflower serving dish, and the lamp pictured here. I can’t wait to share all the new finds on the website… hopefully we’ll have them all available in the next week or two. The new Gorky pieces are already up.

See all our New Arrivals here >>

While Dolores Hidalgo is known first and foremost for its Talavera Pottery, it is also famous for ice cream. In the town’s main plaza there are at least 6 dueling ice cream stands, competing to sell not only the best tasting ice cream but also the most original flavors. Check out the sign below! I tried the tequila, refused to try the camaron con pulpo (that’s shrimp with octopus!!), and finally settled on beso de angel, which was some sort of combination of caramel, almonds, and vanilla. Que rico!

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Learn more about Talavera Vazquez here!

See Part 1 of our Buying Trip to Mexico >>
See Part 2 of our Buying Trip to Mexico >>

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

 

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Santa Fe Indian Market: Incredible Handmade Pottery and More

I ended up at Santa Fe’s incredible annual Indian Market just the other week purely by chance. But what a feast for the eyes! The entire plaza downtown was covered in booths with art ranging from ceramics to handweavings to paintings. Native American artists bring to the market truly incredible examples of their work, often from multiple generations.

New Mexico landscape

This was my first visit to New Mexico. It was much greener than I expected, thanks to recent rains. Santa Fe was full of cool spots, like the revitalized Santa Fe Railyard that now boasts cafes, restaurants, and weekly market events.

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Walking towards the Plaza we passed a bunch of beautiful doorways, churches, and lots of hanging bunches of peppers. Apparently dried peppers are a New Mexico thing; they were everywhere. We got to the fringes of the market and suddenly there were rows and rows of artist’s booths. I have an unerring eye for locating silver jewelry that’s completely beyond my price range, but looking at the incredible, detailed earrings, I knew they were worth every penny.

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The Indian Market covers 14 blocks, with more than 1,000 artists in over 600 booths. All that art plus all the people browsing made for quite a crowd. I saw ceramic artists with tables full of figurative pottery next to other artists who specialized in black glazed bowls and other decorative-looking vessels. Different pueblos have different clay available for their craft, the secrets of which have passed down from generations. I talked with a family who had an array of shiny, black glazed animal ceramics. The smallest pieces had been done by the 12-year-old daughter, larger pieces by the daughter in her 20’s, and then incredibly intricate, large figures made by their grandfather. It seemed that everything the mother had made was already sold. Lesson: if you got to the Santa Fe Indian Market, go on Saturday. And have cash or checks with you.

Unfortunately the batteries in my phone drained taking this video of a boy doing a traditional hoop dance, so I have no photos of the incredible array of handmade pottery that was there. He had incredible flair and verve; he also can’t be more than 5 years old.

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Although the Indian Market is only once a year, handmade ceramics abound year round. I saw talavera ceramics quite frequently, including these ceramic tiles on the wall outside of a shop.

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It’s like the red sports car phenomenon: when you have one, you can’t help but see them anywhere. Though in my case I can’t help but see majolica-style ceramics. It’s probably no surprise that much of the majolica I saw looks quite similar to traditional Mexican ceramics. After all, these ceramic traditions stretch back before today’s borders.

Have you been to Santa Fe’s Indian Market? What caught your eye? Maybe I’ll see you there next year!

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Your Favorite Ginger Jars From Around the World

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Ginger 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.

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Mexican Ginger Jars

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These tibores combine classic Mexican style with a contemporary twist. People love black and white ginger jars from Talavera Vazquez, whether they feature chevron designs, stripes, or the intricate floral pattern of the Hidalgo tibor. Blue and white ginger jars are another popular category; I particularly love the small chevron tibor from this part of the collection.

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Gorky Gonzalez ginger jars have a different vibe, with a rounder shape and delicate handle detailing. The layered motif of this ginger jar has a distinctly tropical feel, perfect for casual decor.

Italian Ginger Jars

What is the line between canister and ginger jar? I think it has to do with the curve of the vessel’s sides; a canister tends to be straight on the sides, a ginger jar curved. But there are always exceptions to prove the rule. Take this gorgeous vasetto di zenzero from Ceramiche Bartoloni. Used as a vase, shelf decoration, or to hold your stash of ginger, it’s a stunning example of ceramic fusion gone right.

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Spanish Ginger Jars

A recent addition to the collection, this búcaro by Ceramica Valenciana is deceptively simple. People can’t seem get enough of its pure white glaze or graceful lines, let alone its three curving handles. It’s one of my new personal favorites too.

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Where do your favorite ginger jars come from?

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Why Talavera Vazquez Ginger Jars Remain Irresistible


Ginger jars
are a perpetual favorite for home accents. They range in size, color, and shape (and offer built in secret storage!)—what is there not to love? I particularly fancy the ginger jars by Talavera Vazquez. Their flair and verve definitely stand out from the rest. Stripes, chevrons, flowers, bold patterns… there’s something for everyone.

Need a reason to add ginger jars to your home? Why not try a ginger jar or two as:

Outdoor decor

Sturdy ginger jars work wonderfully on a patio or deck. Keep them empty or fill with cut flowers.

ginger jars on patio

Stylish bookends

Small ginger jars corral books and add color, especially bold Talavera Vazquez tibores.

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ginger jars

Secret storage

In the past, ginger jars were used to transport ginger and other spices. You can use them to organize your desk or kitchen counter.

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Dramatic flower vases

Large ginger jars perfectly accent long stemmed flowers, branches, and major arrangements.

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 ginger jar with hydrangeas

Need more ginger jar inspiration? Check out the Emilia Ceramics ginger jar Pinterest board as well as the Talavera Vazquez collection, then join the ginger jar fun yourself. You won’t be able to resist.

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Fancy a Striped Vase #DIY?

Striped vases seem to be everywhere on DIY sites as people look for a quick and chic way to craft home accessories that fit their style. Dwellings by Devore transformed a glass vase with electrical tape (it looks pretty amazing). On Two Twenty One, vases mix with painter’s tape and gold spray paint for horizontal, vertical, and swirling stripes that really stand out. And anyone looking for inspiration for how to incorporate a striped vase (or two! or three!) need look no further than Houzz. There are striped vases of every shape, size, and color palette.

I completely understand why people love the handmade look of a DIY striped vase. Manufactured, printed vases seem too perfect, too sterile. Handpainting lets for a little variation and true personality. Plus you can really experiment with colors and spacing for a unique look that fits your own style. I think that’s why so many people love the striped vases by Talavera Vazquez. Solid ceramic, the variety of sizes, shapes, and colors makes them a wonderful, authentic addition to a home. A large striped vase by a fireplace or as a centerpiece stands out; a collection of vases in mixed patterns looks modern instead of fussy.

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No matter if you’re making your own vases or leaving their creation to expert artists, stripes are an excellent way to play with shapes. Tall and thin, wide, round, curved, fluted: there’s no shortage of striking vases that add a chic finishing touch to a room. I think that’s why there are so many striped vases around online—they have timeless appeal and always feel modern.

Blue Striped Round Vase Do you have a striped vase DIY success story? Favorite shapes or sizes? Other tips for using them to decorate? Leave a comment below to share! We’ll add our favorites to our Pinterest boards for stripes and vases.

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Holiday Hours, New Arrivals, and Ginger Jars

Emilia Ceramics holiday hours

Christmas is next week, and our Boulder Showroom has been busy with people trying to find the perfect gift for people on their lists. Luckily I have a few gifts of my own for Emilia Ceramics customers: two brand new artists for the collection and some new arrivals from old favorites. Here’s the run down of what’s going on:

Holiday Hours

We have extended hours in our Boulder Showroom for easy holiday shopping. Stop by and check out new arrivals not yet on the website, unique non-ceramic gifts (including these gorgeous handmade ornaments from Mexico — 100% of the profits go to supporting the community from which they come), and plenty of gift ideas from ginger jars to serving platters to salt and pepper sets. If you’re not in Boulder, call us at 303.442.0180 before Friday for express shipping options so that gifts will arrive in time for Christmas.

New Artists

Ceramica Valenciana’s modern Spanish ceramics are already a hit, and I’ve been working hard at getting even more of their mugs, pitchers, ginger jars, and serving ware on the website.

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We also have a new artist from Italy, Ceramiche Gialletti Giulio, a third generation majolica studio in Deruta. Their unique jewelry boxes, table accessories, and serving platters are truly stunning with intricate patterns and an array of rich colors. Stay tuned as we add their elegant place settings to the website over the next few days! Again, there are even more pieces in our Boulder Showroom, so stop by and see these beautiful Italian ceramics in person before anyone else.

handmade Italian jewelry box

 Italian salt and pepper set

Ginger Jars

Talavera Vazquez fans are all-about this Mexican studio’s gorgeous ginger jars, but I’m in love with their smaller pieces this holiday season. The small round striped vases make a great gift, as do their candleholders.

Mexican candleholdersOf course, ginger jars large and small remain favorites for traditional and modern homes alike. Mexican ceramics are ideal for people who love to entertain with causal elegance, making the Vazquez and Gorky collections popular year round, not just for the holidays.

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The Perfect Mexican Ceramics to Celebrate the Day of the Dead

Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) was last week, so it’s no surprise that I have had Mexico and Mexican ceramics made by my favorite Mexican artists—Talavera Vazquez, Gorky Gonzalez, and Capelo—on my mind.

day of the dead skullsThe Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1 and 2, right after Halloween. The purpose of Día de los Muertos is to remember and celebrate one’s ancestors and friends who have died. The celebration has ancient roots in Aztec, Purepechas, and Totonacs traditions as well as links to the Catholic All Souls Day. Its two days of celebration are full of feasting, traditional foods, and lots of skulls. You’ve probably seen the joyful skeletons, especially the iconic couple of Catrina and Catrin. These dandy skeletons have a long tradition in their own right and are found in all kinds of art from sculptures and dolls to Mexican ceramics.

Mexican ceramicsOne of my favorite expressions of the Catrin figure is on this tile hot plate by Gorky Gonzalez. This smoking skeletons might be associated with the Day of the Dead, but he will bring Mexican charm to your kitchen all year round.

hot_plate_smoking_skeletonThe sugar skulls, cookies, and chocolates made for Day of the Dead celebrations are more than just eye-catching. By eating these sweets, people take a symbolic “bite of death” to rid themselves of the fear of death. Intricate altars are another important part of the holiday, decked in yellow and orange marigolds or chrysanthemums, food, sweets, photos, and religious amulets. Traditionally people also journey to their relatives’ graves on November 1 to decorate them with flowers and candles, then picnic there in celebration of the dead.

Day of the Dead skullsAll parts of this Mexican holiday blend the dead with the living. Maybe next year I’ll host my own Day of the Dead celebration… Invite people over to feast on my favorite Mexican dishes and share our memories of loved ones who are no longer alive. A playful Mexican ceramic skeleton bowl or trivet adds the perfect Day of the Dead touch. I especially love the effect of mixing these special Mexican ceramics with more oridinary dip bowls, serving platters, and pitchers of drinks. Felicidades!

skeleton bowlCandy skulls image courtesy of Glen Van Etten.

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

I love working with couples on their registries, seeing how excited they get about picking out beautiful ceramics together and then hearing about how they use their pieces after the wedding. Couples like Bethany and Martin use their ceramics daily, whether it’s a vase holding fresh flowers on the kitchen table, a pottery wall planter gracing the back deck, or one of Richard Esteban’s playful polka dot bowls filled with yogurt for breakfast.

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jennie's_gogoAlong the same line, I recently visited my cousin’s house and loved seeing the collection of colorful Gorky mugs and bowls (photo on the right) she received from her Emilia Ceramics Gift Registry. She and her husband use these everyday, thinking of the friends who gave them and the event they celebrated — that’s what I consider the perfect wedding gift!

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.

Sheena and Blake love blue and white as well as statement pieces with Tuscan charm. Their choices of serving platters and a wine bottle holder point to people who love to entertain. Blair and Christopher have a broad ceramic selection that ranges from big to small: an extra large casserole by Richard Esteban, long rooster platter by Gorky Gonzalez, intricate spoon rest, and even a colorful mini plate.

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extra large casserole dishJen and Kristina love rustic white pieces from France and striped planters. The white pitcher below (sorry — it was one-of-a-kind and has already been purchased for them : ) and serving dishes contrast beautifully with the orange and yellow of their other favorite ceramics.

chalk white pitcher

Most registries contain serving pieces for entertaining – platters, pitchers, bowls – as well as practical statement pieces like vases and utensil holders. For those with a green thumb, a blue and white planter usually is on the list, and if the happy couple has any kind of yard, pottery wall planters as well. And pieces like the Amor platter are perfect for celebrating love. The range of big to small pieces also is perfect for helping guests pick the right gift for their price range.

blue and white planter

What ceramics do you think should be on every registry? Leave a comment and let us know!

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The Guide to Going “Off Registry”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s unfortunate, but not every engaged couple knows about the Emilia Ceramics Gift Registry. They don’t realize they could register for functional, beautiful ceramics that their guests will love to buy for them and they will love to use… for years and years and years to come. Now I understand that not everyone feels quite so passionately about the fact that Emilia Ceramics make the best wedding gifts, but I’m also not the only one who thinks they do. I know more than a few other die-hard Emilia Ceramics fans (you know who you are) who always buy Emilia Ceramics wedding gifts even when the engaged couple has not registered with us.

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.

1. Lovers of White. They’ve registered for plain white plates, bowls, and mugs. But you know these people and they aren’t boring, so you want to give them a gift that’s simple and sophisticated, with a touch of color that will really show up in that sea of white. How about the Limoni 2 Liter Pitcher or Oval Platter? One of my new favorites is the Large Serving Bowl – Flores y Frutas. Another great, grown-up gift is Tuscia’s Blue Leaf Vase. These pieces all compliment a white palette really well, without overwhelming it.

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2. Moving into a New Home. It used to be that marriage was synonymous with making a new home together. Of course that’s not always the case anymore, but when it is, take advantage and give a statement piece that the couple can put in just the right place and build a whole room around. Of course, if you go this route you really should know their style and not just be choosing your favorite statement piece. Some great examples of striking gifts with tons of personality are the Extra Large Blue Floral Tibor, the Pablo Picasso Vase, the Palermo Lamp, and the Frutta Venezia Canister.

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3. Entertainers. You know this couple loves to entertain and while they registered for cooking, baking, and barbecuing supplies, they seemed to miss the serving platters and bowls that make a party work. Hone in on their color pallet… Blue and white? Choose one of these great Mexican bowls and platters: La Azteca Oval Serving Dish, El Mar Serving Plate, or the Large Round Platter – Flores Azules.

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blue and white platterAre they more into the earthy, jewel tones? Richard Esteban has them covered with the Large Petal Platter in Butter Yellow, Fish Platter in Burnt Honey, or the Large Cheese Plate in Barn Red.

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4. Who knows?! Whether it’s an old friend you haven’t seen in years or a coworker you just met, sometimes you have to buy a wedding gift for a couple you really don’t know very well. These gift ideas are sure bets for just about anyone. It’s still a good idea to look at what else they’ve registered for so you can match colors, styles, and get a sense of their needs. But in general, you can’t go wrong with these 5 gift ideas:

  1. Amor Platter: The name says it all. This platter evokes love and it’s shape makes it great for serving appetizers or dessert.
  2. Burnt Orange Striped Vase – Especial: Everyone loves this vase. Everyone.
  3. Tuscan Fruit Oval Platter: An Italian classic that can be hung on the wall or used to serve appetizers and main dishes.
  4. Large Love Birds Bowl: Yup, Love Birds… need I say more?!
  5. Small Cherry Pitcher: The voluptuous shape of this pitcher and beautifully painted pattern make it unique, yet universally loved. Great for serving drinks, displaying fresh cut flowers, or just plain looking good.

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tuscan_fruit_oval_platterlove_birds_bowl_1little_cherry_pitcherWhat’s your favorite, go-to wedding gift from Emilia Ceramics? Leave us a comment below to let us know.

Also, if you’re ever having trouble finding the right gift, don’t hesitate to call or email us with questions. We’re here to help and love the challenge of finding just the right gift!

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5 Top Tips for Where to Register: The Ultimate Registry Guide

wedding giftsThere are so many wedding registry options these days that it can be overwhelming to know where to even begin! Sometimes it’s clear where a couple should register – Enjoy the outdoors? Register at REI. Love handmade ceramics? Register at Emilia Ceramics. Can’t get enough of traveling? Try one of the many honeymoon registries that allows your guests to help you take the trip of your dreams.

I’ve dealt with lots of wedding registries over the years and often the same questions come up again and again. Trying to figure out where to register? Here’s some time-tested advice to get you started.

1. Think about what you like and what you need. These days, many people have already lived on their own as adults when they get married, so they already own essentials like sheets, towels, and kitchen equipment. Talk with your partner about what you both like and what you’d like to upgrade. Perhaps this is the time to get matching pots and pans or luggage, ask for those ginger jars from Talavera Vazquez you’ve been coveting, or even some camping equipment for your favorite weekend activity. It can also be helpful to make a short list of what you don’t want to help you narrow down the possibilities of where you want to register.Gorky Gonzalez Plates

2. Diversify your registries. Have a mix of big box stores and smaller, local spots. Many retailers have online registries, making it easy to manage your list and keep track of what’s been purchased. By having a range of options, your guests can shop where they feel most comfortable, whether that’s online or in-person.

3. Have at least one wedding registry. People want to help you celebrate, so help guide them to what’s most fitting for you. With no registry at all, it’s likely you’ll end up with four toasters (none of which you like) and no receipts, making exchanging a nightmare. Trust me on this one… people will buy you gifts. The only question is, will you like them?

4. Stop at five wedding registries. Too many registries quickly gets overwhelming for both you and your guests. Some people like sites like myregistry.com that allow you to build a registry from any store you choose, keeping everything in one spot. Armed with the list of what you’d like to receive and where you like to shop, keep things simple by figuring out where the best fit will be, then register there.

5. Register for a wide range of items and prices. This allows your friends and family to have a chance to give in whatever amount they like. Many people like to build a gift out of several less expensive items, like a Talavera Vazquez butter dish and trivet, while others will splurge for one statement piece like a full set of luggage. Bonus for after the wedding: many places offer a completion discount if you buy items yourself.

Talavera Vazquez butter dishes
Remember: Be yourselves!
Don’t register for china just because it’s traditional or copper-bottom pots if you don’t like to cook. The best registry offers a reflection of the couple’s personality instead of a standard list of bed linens, knives, silver, and decorative ware. Avoid registering at a store you dislike because you’ll have to deal with them for a long period of time.

Where do you recommend registering for a wedding? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Wedding gift image courtesy of messycupcakes.

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New Showroom in Boulder, CO!

We’re finally open for business — By appointment, 7 days a week. Call or email and then come visit!

2232 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: 303.442.0180

It’s been an exciting (and exhausting) summer for Emilia Ceramics. After months of finding the right space, moving hundreds of boxes across country, unpacking, painting, and setting up, we’re ready for visitors! Here’s a photo journal of all the work we’ve done, as well as a little peak at what’s in-store…

May, 3013: My mom and I visited Boulder to find a new location for Emilia Ceramics. After 2 full days of looking at warehouses, shops, and even some dentist offices (which would have required lots of construction), we found the perfect space: 2232 Pearl Street. It’s the green building in the middle. How amazing are the clouds in Boulder?!
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Below: The inside before we moved anything in.

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Of course, before we could make any headway in Colorado, we had to pack up the entire business back in California. Luckily, we had the best 3 packers/movers/helpers imaginable — Thank you Edgar, Thomas, and Estuardo! (If anyone in the Bay Area ever needs any sort of help, from painting and construction to moving, these are your guys. Contact me and I will hook you up!)

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We filled the biggest U-Haul truck there is, a 26 footer! Once full, this truck was expertly driven across 4 states and over some huge mountain passes by the most reliable (and reasonably priced) truck driver I could find: my dad! Miraculously, he arrived in Boulder in one piece and still smiling. IMG_3321IMG_3324
Our next job was unpacking this monstrosity, which proved more difficult than you’d imagine because of how well-packed it was. But “The Brown Family Moving Co.” managed it and pretty soon that nice open space was so filled with boxes you could barely move.

IMG_3337IMG_3368 IMG_3371Somehow, over the last month, we’ve found space for everything. In addition to unpacking, we have painted the inside a soft butter yellow, set up furniture, displayed ceramics representative of all the artists we work with, and most recently, painted the outside of the building a Tuscan yellow with blue trim. Next steps include blue window boxes and a new door to match, plus new Emilia Ceramics signs. Needless to say, it’s been a lot of work… but somehow, it seems to finally be coming together.
IMG_3428IMG_3507IMG_3511Mexican ceramicsMexican ceramicsrooster and owl creamersItalian ceramicsIMG_3557IMG_3558I am so excited to finally be open for business! There’s no way I could have done all of this without the help of my family and friends… most especially my parents who have helped every step of the way. THANK YOU!

So if you’re in the Boulder, Colorado area, please come visit! You can set up an appointment to view the space 7 days a week. Just call — 303.442.0180 — or email me at [email protected].

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Favorite Vases for Summer Blooms


August flowers range depending on where you live, but late summer means that baby’s breath, carnations, freesias, gardenias, chrysanthemums, and camellias are adding color to gardens across the country. Of course, these blossoms look great indoors as well as outdoors. But what vases look best with which blooms? This is the question.

Recently flower, a magazine dedicated to all things floral, covered the coolness and lasting appeal of blue and white vases. Inspired by their findings, here are some of my go-to vases as summer winds down.

Long and lean vases

tall vase

Lilies look lovely in a long, narrow vase. Set off their vivid colors with a deceptively simple vase that supports their long stalks. The striking purple of monkshood would look stunning in the patterned black and white vase by Talavera Vazquez. This vase shape is also essential for a rose bouquet or an arrangement of snapdragons.

Short and round vases

striped blue vase

Better suited for smaller flowers and spilling displays, round vases look great with chrysanthemums, camellias, or even a bunch of carnations. I like how they hold a mixed bouquet or just a few flowers with equal grace.

Black and white striped vases

black and white striped vaseBlack and white vases are a long-standing classic. No wonder they look lovely with late summer blooms, the stripes adding a touch of contemporary style. A tall black and white striped vase also is ideal for sunflowers or a simple dried arrangement of greenery that will last all season long. When empty, mix a black and white striped vase with other patterned vases for a stunning sideboard arrangement.

Patterned and colorful vases

colorful vase

These vases look beautiful with or without flowers. A large colorful vase adds personality to a mantel, side table, or shelf. In the fall, use a colorful vase to set off a monochromatic flower arrangement; white blooms look particularly gorgeous. For a simpler color scheme, a striped blue vase effortlessly compliments most bouquets. Smaller patterned vases also are excellent as a small room accent, whether the bathroom or living room.

patterned vase

What are your favorite vase shapes for late summer flowers? And for those with and without gardens of their own, what flowers do you use in your home this time of year?

Flower image courtesy of nosha.

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Pinterest Finds: Mexican Ceramics

Love Pinterest? The new look is pretty great, making it easy to find all kinds of incredible things. I’ve been exploring Mexican ceramics to add to the Emilia Ceramics Mexico board and wanted to share some of my favorite findings with you.  The new Pinterest doesn’t have the incredibly easy sharing feature it used to, so simply click on images to take you to the original pin, complete with credentials.

We’ll start with Mexico City.

I love these colorful Mexican ceramic plates, but the majolica toilet might be a bit much.

Mexican ceramics pair beautifully with Mexican food (no surprise, right?). Just check out this salsa set up. And a blue and white plate is the perfect compliment for mole.

Of course, some of my favorite Mexican ceramics are those made by Gorky Gonzalez.

Gorky Gonzalez PlatesGorky Gonzalez Pottery

Mexico itself is a stunningly beautiful place.

I think Capelo‘s unique Mexican ceramics are just as beautiful as the views from his studio!

Capelo Ceramics

Capelo Mexican ceramics

Then there are Talavera Vazquez’s ginger jars

And, of course, there’s always the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) full of colorful and almost friendly-seeming skulls.

Have some Mexican-themed pins of your own? Share the link in a comment below to your favorite pins or boards so we can check them out. And follow Emilia Ceramics for the latest new Mexican ceramics, decorating ideas, and more!

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The New Home of Emilia Ceramics: Boulder, CO

IMG_3312As I mentioned in my last post, moving a bunch of ceramics is a tough job. I’ve dealt with large orders before, sometimes getting a few different shipments from my artists at the same time. It can get pretty chaotic unpacking, sorting, taking inventory, and photographing all the new pieces. But unpacking a huge moving truck is quite different from a crate or two of ceramics. My team of helpers (pictured on the left) had done such a good job squeezing all the ceramics and furniture into the uHaul that extracting it all from the truck-puzzle took some major effort.

Now that the dust has settled a bit—shelves built and organization well underway—I wanted to share some photos of the new Emilia Ceramics showroom. Building all the shelves needed took more time, but the results are exciting… I am looking forward to being much better organized with a much more streamlined process of fulfilling orders than I ever had in CA. Of course, in a few months I’ll have the addition of all my new pieces from France and Italy to think about, so things are sure to stay exciting!

Talavera Vazquez ceramicsIMG_3371

Whew. Unlike Emilia Ceramics San Francisco, our new location on Pearl Street in downtown Boulder will be regularly accessible to the public. No more having to wait for the holiday pop-up shop when the desire for gorgeous handmade ceramics strikes! I’m looking forward to decorating my front windows and having a more flexible space instead of the former warehouse.

Having everything in one place should also streamline how quickly new pieces get onto the website once I receive them. Look for some new ceramics to post soon, like yellow chevron lamps by Talavera Vazquez. Their lamps are some of our most popular pieces, so I’m excited to expand the collection to include more colors and sizes.

I should get back to organizing, but look forward to getting settled into my new town after all the unpacking is over. Here’s thinking of you, San Francisco!

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Why are Ginger Jars so Popular as Decor?

Ginger jars may seem like the latest decorating trend, but these ceramics are truly steeped in history. Ginger jars originally were a way to ship and store spices, herbs, oil, and, yes, ginger, in China. While their exact origins are shrouded in mystery, the vessel became popular during the Qin Dynasty (221 BC–207 BC), Imperial China’s first ruling dynasty. Ginger jars became widely popular in the West in the 19th century, though their purpose changed from a functional shipping vessel to a decorative one for fine homes.

Somewhere along the way, ginger jars also became popular in Mexican ceramics. The gentle curves and playful designs differentiate these tibores (their Mexican name) from their Asian counterparts. Today few people use ginger jars to store dry goods or spices, turning these ceramics into decorative elements throughout the home instead. Dina at Honey + Fitz loves their statement piece appeal, particularly with bold chevrons. Natasha at My Luscious Life recently recommended ginger jars as a way to add timeless elegance to a room; with the wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors available they remain a popular choice for decoration.

However, ginger jars can be more than just decorative. Just take ginger jar lamps as one example. I’ll admit it, I’m currently a little obsessed with the decorative possibilities of ceramic ginger jar lamps, given our new arrivals. But I’m definitely not alone! Small accent lamps or large ginger jar lamps are ideal for bedrooms, offices, and living rooms alike.

Ginger jars also function well as vases, anchoring large bouquets beautifully. Bridelicious recommends using ginger jars as blue and white wedding décor, which I think is a great way to incorporate some stylish history on the big day. Ginger jars also work well to store potentially unsightly items out in plain sight. For example, a friend has a large ginger jar in her entryway that keeps a collection of plastic bags handy for when she walks her dog. I’ve also seen ginger jars lining kitchen counters holding flours, sugar, and other dry goods with style, just as they have for hundreds of years. Some design never gets old I suppose.

No matter where you use your ginger jars, you are sure to enjoy the results. What’s your take on these historic ceramics? Leave a comment and let us know.

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This Just In: New Ginger Jar Lamps

small blue zigzag lamp

small blue zigzag lampThe new website is launched and the new ginger jar lamps are here! How’s that for timing? Due to the ever-increasing popularity of Talavera Vazquez’s ginger jar lamps I’ve been working with the artists to expand our ceramic lamp offerings at Emilia Ceramics. The results are even better than I had imagined, perfect as a bedroom lamp or accent lighting elsewhere in the home.

The new ceramic lamps feature the graphic zig zag chevron design in black or blue. The smaller size of these lamps makes them ideal for a desk, bedside table, or eye-catching accent in the living room or entryway. The chevrons playfully emphasize the curves of the ginger jar shape, giving a completely different feel than the black and white stripe lamp or blue and white paloma lamp.

 

While these new lamps look great on their own, they also pair well with the larger table lamps or ginger jars from Talavera Vazquez. With blue, black, and burnt orange lamps to choose from, the colors are modern without being too trendy.

Lamps are a practical way to update a space while also improving the light in the room. Of course, these lamps look great even when not being used for lighting purposes. I like to think of them as functional decoration at its best. Paired with the right lampshade, these small ginger jar lamps modernize an office or enliven a guest room; just make sure that your shade is large enough to compliment the lamp’s shape and cover the socket and switch area.

I’ll admit I’ve been looking around my house to find the perfect place for one of these new ginger jar lamps. Maybe even two, I like them so much. What do you think of these these new lamps? Have any ideas for other patterns you’d like to see by the talented artists at Talavera Vazquez? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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The Irresistible Charm of Blue and White Mexican Pottery

Blue and white pottery is steeped in tradition, going back centuries in China and the Middle East. Cobalt came from Persia to China in the 14th century, combining beautifully with the translucent white of porcelain. Just look at this plate from 13th century China; it looks like something you might find handpainted by a ceramic artist today.

Today’s blue and white serving ware is just as striking as the ceramics from the past. Though the antique feel of blue and white pottery continues to be popular for interior decorating, modern pieces also abound. Jonathan Alder, for example, creates playful designs on stacking porcelain platters with distinctly modern blue and white appeal.

With blue and white Mexican pottery, rustic charm meets modern aesthetics in the work of artists like Gorky Gonzalez. The playful patterns of these unique serving dishes mix well with other pottery platters, making your next meal or appetizer tray look even more appealing. The sloping sides of the El Mar oval serving dish are useful and the rounded corners of the rectangular Las Flores platter are unique.

These Mexican ceramics pair nicely with other pieces with the same border design or complement plain blue or white platters with ease.

Blue and white Mexican pottery by Gorky or Talavera Vazquez also plays with shapes. For example, the handles on Talavera’s blue and white serving dish make it simple to pass a roast. The curves on the end of this blue and white serving platter make it a piece that looks wonderful at the dinner table or decorating a console in the living room. Blue and white might be classic, but it is definitely still fresh in its appeal.

White on its own also gets updated in Mexican ceramics. Take our new chalk white square serving plate, part of the Gogo collection. This white platter is stunning in its deceptive simplicity. Other pieces in the same warm white – the long platter, oval serving dish, and dinner plate – further demonstrate how white platters can be anything but boring. Paired with deep blue dishware or another favored color, it’s easy to see how these unique serving dishes can steal the show!

Whether ancient or modern, intricately patterned or deceptively simple, blue and white is sure to please. What kind of blue and white serving platters do you love?

Chinese 13th century plate image courtesy of World Imaging.

Stacked tray image courtesy of jonathanadler.com via Emilia on Pinterest.

 

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

One 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.

While the blue and white Mexican pottery (like striped vases and zig zag ginger jars) might be some of my more popular Talavera Vazquez offerings, the workshop itself is an explosion of vibrant color. Juan Vazquez is the fourth generation of the Vazquez family to run this family business and his son Roberto is certainly poised to be the fifth when the time arrives. Not all members of the management team are related, but they still feel like a family. For example, Francisco, who is in charge of all the artwork and my liaison with the designers and artists, has worked with the Vazquez family for over 20 years.

The small team of artists at Talavera Vazquez takes care of all aspects of the ceramic process, from measuring the distance for the stripes on a wine bottle holder to loading the kiln with pieces for the final firing. The motto of this prolific studio is “Nuestros productos se fabrican y decoran a mano, la irregularidad que presentan acentúa su belleza,” (roughly translated as “Our products are made and decorated by hand, the irregularities present accent their beauty”). Every piece is formed by hand, then dipped into a “bath” of base glaze that turns creamy white after firing. When the base glaze has dried, the artists paint the vibrant geometric designs with crisp edges. Watching them work, I’m always amazed at the precision – there’s no way to erase a mistake or a drip of the brush. The results are unique serving dishes, pottery planters, and other Mexican ceramics that truly stand out.

Talavera Vazquez continues to flawlessly combine traditional techniques with modern design. I’m excited to have new zigzag tibores in yellow and gray, as well as more blue and white pottery planters. With all their wonderful Mexican ceramics, I’m never sure what new discoveries I’ll make on my next visit. But I’m always thrilled to be able to share them with you!

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The Best Places for a Ginger Jar Lamp in Your Home

I’ve been working with Talavera Vazquez to turn their sleek, modern ginger jars into functional lighting for several years now. Stripes, zig zags, and intricate floral prints all make a great lamp, whether used as a table lamp or decorative accent. With the arrival of the new gray and yellow zig zag ginger jars, I’ve also been thinking these colors would make great lamps to join the others in my collection. It’s definitely a possibility – stay tuned for updates.

But no matter how much you might love a ceramic lamp, you need a place to put it. So where are good places to use a ginger jar lamp in your home? Here are three surefire winners:

  1. Living Room: Use lighting as another décor element with ceramic lamps in graphic prints. A large ginger jar lamp (or two) look great on a shelf or console table, adding accent lighting and personality. Black and white chevrons make this ceramic lamp really stand out in a contemporary style living room while the blue and white floral print of this ginger jar lamp gives a softer touch that’s great for traditional decorating.
  2. Office: Whether at a home office or your workplace, good lighting is essential in an office setting. Use a small ceramic lamp for a touch of color and light where you need it most at your desk. The playful burnt orange stripes of this small ginger jar lamp enliven, especially when paired with a stunning lampshade. For a more organic feel, try a small table lamp with leaves or other floral motifs, like this blue leaf lamp. The bonus for adding lamps and other personal touches to your office? You’ll be more comfortable and thus more productive at work.
  3. Bedroom: A popular way to use ginger jar lamps is to have a pair flanking the bed. This is an equally great look for a master suite or guest room, pulling together your space with clear focal points. My personal favorite lamp for this pairing is the burnt orange ginger jar lamp with chevrons as it warms any space, though restful blue lamps would be another solid choice.
  4. Places to not use ceramic lamps? I’d say kids’ rooms, where they might fall and break during active play, and bathrooms, where often a ginger jar lamp is too big to fit in easily with the rest of your décor.

Regardless of where you use your ceramic lamps, make sure to get the right shade. It should be large enough to balance the lamp body and cover the socket and switch from view. It pays to know what kind of fitting you need as well as choose a shade that compliments other lamps in your home. I’m always surprised at how easy it is to change a room’s look just by changing the shade on floor lamps and other lighting.

Where do you use ginger jar lamps in your home? Have any other lighting tips? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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On Trend Design: Ginger Jar Lamps and Ginger Jars

As those of you who follow Emilia Ceramics on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest know, we’ve finally gotten in the new ginger jars (or tibores) from Talavera Vazquez! With new shapes and colors, I know that you’ll love these ginger jars and ginger jar lamps just as much as I do. Here’s a roundup of their fabulous designs.

Statement pieces: Whether it’s for a patio, porch, or the foot of a staircase, the extra large ginger jar is the perfect fit. The new extra large blue and white ginger jar joins the collection with a bold chevron pattern that’s striking and modern.

New colors: Our recent arrivals of ginger jars also feature new designs and colors: the gray and white ginger jar has a cool sophistication that feels subtle and subdued, while the yellow and white ginger jar is fun and fresh. Both of these chevron-patterned ginger jars look great on a shelf or end table.

You can also take off the top and turn any of these ginger jars into an oversized vase for even more functionality.

Small ginger jars: Sometimes you just need a small ginger jar to fit into your room design, providing the perfect accent. The new zig zag burnt orange and blue ginger jars join the striped burnt orange and black ginger jars, all with a contemporary twist on traditional Mexican design.

Ginger jar lamps: I’ve been working with Talavera Vazquez to create these functional ginger jar lamps for many years now. A large ginger jar lamp adds light and design to any space, and is easy to customize depending on the shade type you choose. I’ve got a particular fondness for the small ginger jar lamps as well. The stripes are playful and chic at the same time. This black and white small ginger jar lamp is an ideal accent for an office, side table, or even as a reading light. With more and more focus on lighting design that looks great as well as illuminates your home, ginger jar lamps are definitely a smart choice to make.

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Serve It Right with Blue and White Mexican Pottery

Whether it’s a white serving bowl or a white platter, everyone needs a few pieces of go-to serving ware that can adapt to any occasion from causal to formal. When it comes to pieces that are clean and crisp, you can’t do better than white pottery platters. They really show off your food without taking up too much attention, whether canapés during cocktail hour, scones at brunch, or a succulent side dish at dinner.

Of course, there are lots of stark white platters out there, like those mass-produced in China. To me, the feel of these pieces is impersonal and almost clinical. And who wants to serve their food on something that seems like it belongs in a hospital? White serving ware that uses natural glazes has a warmer tone, giving an authentic, at times rustic look, which is a much better compliment for your home-cooked meals. Pieces like the Gogo oval platter, long serving platter, or round white platter are just some examples of white platters that really showcase your cooking.

White all the time can get a bit monotone, however. That’s why the blue and white combo of Mexican pottery is a surefire winner. It’s a simple equation: blue and white Mexican pottery has the crisp neatness of white, along with the rich contrast of blue. There aren’t many blue foods out there, so most items will really pop on blue serving ware. The end result? Food that looks even tastier, no matter the meal or occasion. Blue and white Mexican pottery like Gorky’s oval serving dishes or Talavera Vazquez’s blue and white serving platter will enliven any table. They’re also sturdy enough to be used everyday for family dinners, not just special occasions.

Want to add some unique serving dishes to your collection of blue and white Mexican pottery? When it comes to blue and white platters, I love the unexpected shape of El Mar and Las Flores pottery platters.

Not quite rectangle, not quite oval, these unique serving dishes are a fantastic example of what makes blue and white Mexican pottery appealing to so many people. The border detail isn’t overpowering, but it makes the perfect frame for your desserts, appetizers, or cheeses.

Do you have favorite pieces of blue and white Mexican pottery? Let us know about your go-to serving ware pieces by leaving a comment below.

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Decorating Trend Alert! Stripe Painted Vases for Every Style

With stripes as a big fashion trend, it’s no surprise that housewares have followed suit. Stripe painted vases, tea towels, glassware, and other accessories have popped up seemingly everywhere. Whether thick or thin, this is a decorating trend that can adapt to any home style. Let’s look at some examples from Talavera Vazquez to DIY projects; what fits your aesthetic the best?

Large shapes, small stripes

Playing with mixed patterns is a way to keep a room playful and lively. This apartment featured on House Crush shows personality and style; the large multicolored stripe painted vase anchors an eclectic living room with bold magenta carpet and patterned pillows galore. Even when empty on a shelf next to a stack of books (bonus points for complimenting colors), like in fashion designer Liz Lange’s living room, interesting shapes with fine stripes draw the eye.

Blue and white

Nautical? Yes. Serene? Yes. Graphic, bold, and eye-catching? Yes, yes, and yes! The stripe painted vases by Talavera Vazquez are all these things, whether it’s the large blue and white striped Especial vase or a smaller cylinder shaped stripe painted vase. I love the rich cobalt and how the handpainted stripes have deep and lighter bands, giving these vases unexpected dimensionality. (Talavera Vazquez also has these stripe painted vases in black and white if that’s your color scheme of choice.) Designer Samantha Todhunter also features a spectacular blue and white vase on the styling section of her site, which she dubs “Morocco Modern.”

Glass

Shape, color, transparency – with glass, it’s easy to have options. Narrow and frosted at the top, striped in the middle, and dark at the bottom, this vase by D.L. & Co. is perfect for a single bloom. Other straight-sided vases by this company featured on Fashions and Home play with jewel tones and stripes that run up and down, not around the vase.

Mixed materials

Of course, stripe painted vases don’t just have to be glass or ceramic. Why not something like this creative stucco on glass combo with stripes in grey, white, and yellow featured on Nook & Sea? Other ideas might be ribbon-wrapped or even vases made entirely from recycled paper, leading us to the last category…

DIY

Have some neon spray paint, a glass vase, and some masking tape? Then you’re ready for this great stripe painted neon vase DIY from Refinery29. Even if you don’t like neon colors, this project would be fun in silver, gold, or really any color that strikes your fancy. It’s a great way to reuse a blah glass vase that you never use anymore.

What kind of stripe painted vase do you love? Talavera Vazquez blue and white? Glass patterns? Or is there something missing from this list? Leave a comment and let us know.

Grey, white, and yellow vase image courtesy of Nook & Sea.

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Summertime Zig Zag Pattern Love

There’s something very summery about the zig zag, especially blue and white zig zags, which remind me of the ocean (like waves) and Mexico itself (where it always feels like summer). While I was visiting Talavera Vazquez recently, I couldn’t help noticing all the zig zags: From tall vases to pieces destined to become ceramic table lamps, chevrons are one of their favorite patterns to paint… And I couldn’t be happier. So in addition to all the other fun patterns and designs I couldn’t resist, I added even more blue and white, orange and white, as well as black and white zig zag ginger jars to my stock! Perhaps it’s because Talavera Vazquez was my last stop in Mexico, but I still can’t seem to get their creative zig zags out of my head!

The classic and popular large blue and white ginger jars are an obviously place to start. With the addition of extra large blue and white ginger jars that measure 21 inches tall, these are statement pieces that work well indoors or outdoors. The artists at Talavera Vazquez make even taller ginger jars, which are truly massive (not to mention heavy). Customers regularly buy black and white zig zag jars, and I think it’s because the clean lines and bold pattern make them elegantly modern.

These ginger jars (or tibores in Spanish) are so popular that I started working with the artists to turn them into ceramic table lamps a few years ago. The blue and white lamp (whether stripe or zig zag) sheds light beautifully next to a bed or as a living room accent. One of my personal favorites is the burnt orange and white zig zag pattern lamp. The contemporary color adds warmth (along with the glow of the light itself) to any space, large or small.

But while blue and white ginger jars and lamps are popular, I think zig zags add something unexpected to plants. From tall vases with stunning blooms to a playful planter, these bright and bold ceramics are great indoor accents. Looking at all the vases in the studio, it’s difficult to narrow in on the ideal blue vase. There’s the blue striped vase and the intricately patterned blue and white Cristina vase, both with graceful curves. Another tall vase is the narrow Paloma, a blue vase with slim elegance. All of these look fantastic filled with flowers or empty on a shelf or table, no matter the season. I’ve given up trying to choose the perfect one, enjoying the personality of each.

With planters, the round zig zag pattern has returned, along with a charming sunflower pattern, stripes, and other geometric patterns. Drainage holes ensure function, not just fun with these planters, giving your porch, window, patio, or garden a special kick this summer. Why not make your plants as fashionable as you are?

What zig zag pattern uses are your favorites? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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Stay Tuned for New Ginger Jars Coming Soon!

Ginger jars are everywhere now and it’s not hard to see why. Called tibores in Mexico and sometimes referred to as urns in the U.S., these traditional ceramics are a stylish way to add visual interest to any space. The ginger jars by Talavera Vazquez are so popular that I’m often afraid of running out of stock. With the graphic stripes and zig zag chevrons, these are definitely pieces that look good in a variety of spaces.

Emilia Ceramics ginger jars are so popular, in fact, that I’m working with Talavera Vazquez to introduce some new colors (coming soon to the website). Look for neutral tones like gray and yellow zig-zags to join the existing cobalt blue, black, and burnt orange. I cannot wait to see the new ginger jars myself, let alone offer them to my customers in a wider color range.

Talking with the artists, I was reminded of when we began to work together to make the ginger jar table lamps. These bold ceramics are extremely popular and I think it’s because ginger jar table lamps combine style with function in an original way.

One of my favorite things about these pieces are how customizable they are. A blue and white ceramic lamp takes on a new look when paired with a large blue or small white shade (or anything in between). The shade brings personal style to the ceramic and makes for a truly personal statement.

The different patterns on these ginger jar lamps also create a variety of effects. The striking chevrons of this blue and white ginger jar lamp are bold and eye-catching. The blue and white striped ceramic lamp makes a softer graphic statement while smaller blue and white ginger jar lamp features organic motifs and a playful feel. Same color combination, three totally different blue and white ginger jar lamps that all bring sophistication to your home.

I love all the flexibility and fun that ginger jars and ginger jar lamps represent, whether it’s flanking a staircase, acting as a bedside lamp, or making a statement on the patio. So here’s to the new Vazquez ginger jar collection… coming soon!

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Blog Round Up: Ceramic Lamps

Lamps in general are a necessity, but ceramic lamps add light to a space and decorate it simultaneously. What’s there not to love about that? Functional and stylish, a ceramic table lamp makes the perfect accent lighting for a room with only overhead lighting. As any designer will tell you, the best lighting comes from multiple places, not just one. Also, what’s more cozy than curling up in bed or a favorite chair with the glow of a nearby lamp as your main source of light?

So what kind of ceramic lamps fit your lifestyle best? I did a little blog-research and found a surprising number of people discussing how they use this decorating trend. Here are some of my favorite posts discussing ceramic lamps of all shapes and sizes.

DIY: People certainly get creative when it comes to decorating. If you like a lamp’s shape but not its color, take a page from Clotheshorse NYC and reach for the paint. The transformation is amazing with this before and after.

Be Blue: Just look at Modern Mobile Design for some monochromatic blue design inspiration from lamps to rugs to vases. Another lover of blue is House of Turquoise with a post detailing a fabulous blue and white bedroom and living room. I feel like one of my favorite ceramic lamps, a little blue table lamp by Tuscia d’Arte would be a great fit in either space. It is refined, yet full of personality. When designing a room, pairing is a good strategy with table lamps, whether for the bedside or on a dresser top.

Go Bold: To the Tens suggests using ginger jar lamps for accent on a console or desk. Graphic colors and patterns make these ceramic lamps really stand out and get noticed. Decor Dose especially loves ginger jar lamps by Talavera Vazquez with stripes and chevrons.

Given that ginger jars have become such a popular trend, making them into functioning lamps seems a natural extension. Both Chicago Interiors and Kelly Market are huge fans of ginger jars… It’s only natural then that they’d love these bold ginger jar lamps just as much.

Regardless of your home decor, there seems to be a table lamp that will enhance the glow of your favorite room. Here’s to discovering the ceramic lamp that you love!

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Everyone’s Favorite Striped Vase: The Especial

I’ve recently joined Pinterest and am amazed at how many people love the stripe painted vases of Talavera Vazquez just as much as I do. The biggest stand-out is the Especial stripe vase in blue and white. Completely modern, yet with a timeless curve, what is it about this vase that makes everyone love it?

The colors of this stripe painted vase are definitely a strong point. With crisp black and white, rich blue and white, or warm burnt orange and white, there’s an Especial vase to fit every decorating scheme. The stripes are actually a continuous hand painted spiral that wraps around the vase, giving it a wonderfully smooth line that looks good from all angles.

The shape of the vase also plays a big part in its allure. The gentle curves that flair up at the top lend both functionality and style to the vase. In fact, the sculptural appeal makes the Especial stripe painted vase striking even without flowers; it’s an eye-catching accent on a bookcase or side table.

Of course, the narrowing at the top is perfect for keeping bouquets aligned just the way you want them. The large format of the Especial vase means it looks lovely with big flowers. Sunflowers and tulips are some of my favorites. Yellow forsythia or pussy willow branches are another great fit since this vase won’t easily topple over and it’s tall enough to balance long branches.

Sometimes though, a smaller stripe-painted vase is needed. Talavera Vazquez makes a whole range of smaller vases with this striking spiral pattern. Small flower arrangements look stunning in the blue and white round vase or a small stripe painted vase. The classic cylinder shape of the striped simple vase is perfect for flowers, toothbrushes, or pens on a desktop.

Large or small, stripe painted vases are easy to love with the range of shapes and colors by Talavera Vazquez. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

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Chevrons and Zig Zags: Designs with Staying Power

Lilies on Chevron
Bold, graphic, and classy, the zig zag pattern and chevron craze is definitely not just a 2011 phenomenon. From shower curtains to rugs, and pillows to chevron ceramics, (like lamps and flower vases), there are many ways to incorporate this great print into your life and home in a way that doesn’t feel trendy. Here are some of my favorites:

Chevrons in your hands: The many iPhone cases out there are truly staggering, but these great zig zag, stripe, and other patterned cases featured on Look Linger Love are a class above. You can even get them personalized! How’s that for stylish and unique?

Zig Zags on the wall: I saw this clever chevron wall treatment featured on Made By Girl as Jen transitions to apartment living. Even if it’s a rental, why not invest in a statement with great wallpaper (there are so many removable options on the market now) or a stunning accent wall? Green Your Decor has a fabulous list of other places to make chevrons vertical: curtains, shower curtains, and even paintings are flexible ways to enliven a space large or small.

Chevrons good enough to eat: That’s right, edible zig zags are here. This pattern looks stunning on a modern wedding cake by My Sweet and Saucy. The grey on white is subtle, the overall effect clean.

Illuminating zig zags: Why let the walls have all the fun? A zig zag ceramic table lamp, like this black and white lamp by Talavera Vazquez, is a fun and practical piece. Whether by the bed or in the living room, you’ll literally enlighten your current décor. If chevrons are too much, try a striped ceramic table lamp or a patterned blue and white lamp.

DIY chevrons: My newest blog discovery, The House of the Smiths has a lot of great DIY tutorials, and I love this one about making a chevron rug perfect for spring. Who knew zig zags could be “beachy”?! Like to knit? This Missoni-inspired chevron pattern by Zakka Life is fun for a scarf or blanket. With a stencil or tape, you can make almost anything chevron.

Zig zag patterned home décor: Whether a large blue zig zag ginger jar or chevron blue vase, I love combining the boldness of zig zags with the subtlety of blue and white. Chevron pillows, chairs, and rugs represent great textile versions of this combination, like these examples by Platinum Blonde Life. Chevron tall vases, zig zag wine bottle holders, ceramic canisters, and even planters are all ways big and small to join the fun.

What’s your favorite way to use chevron or zig zag patterns? Leave a comment and let us know.

Yellow chevron image courtesy of maureen lunn.

iPhone case image courtesy of Look Linger Love.

Chevron cake image courtesy of My Sweet and Saucy.

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Ginger Jar Lamps: Illuminating Design and Functionality

Ginger jars are a decorating staple I’m seeing in more and more chic interiors. Great lines and a definite presence along with the wide variety of designs and bold colors makes ginger jars (known as tibores in Mexico) perfect for a console table, shelf, or even flanking entryways and staircases. The Pajaro Tibor, an extra large ginger jar by Talavera Vazquez is particularly striking on a patio — adding instant and festive flair.

But sometimes you need pieces that are both functional and beautiful, like ginger jar table lamps. Bold and bright, ceramic ginger jar lamps literally light up a room. It’s no surprise that people are talking about how much they love them. To The Tens mentioned ceramic ginger jar lamps in a recent post as a great accent or gift (for a hostess or yourself) and I couldn’t agree more. Fun and functional, ginger jar table lamps help make a room feel cozy with accent lighting that creates depth and warmth perfect for a living room or bedroom.

The current trend is a pair of ginger jar lamps flanking a bed. I got an email from Carol, a customer in Kentucky, who got a pair of the burnt orange zigzag lamps. “They are just beautiful. I e-mailed a picture to Krisia, my architect. She said, ‘They make me happy, do they make you happy?’ … We are all about fun, and we’re having it, for sure.”

There’s nothing better than hearing from people who love their ceramics enough to write and tell me about it! I love the idea of helping people make their homes truly their own.

Want some more reasons to add a ginger jar lamp (or two) to your home? Try the Las Flores lamp for festive yet relaxed sophistication. This ceramic ginger jar lamp with its blue and white is popular for living rooms: its charm is hard to beat, particularly on a stylish side table.

Size matters too, so if regular ginger jar table lamps are too big for your space, try a small blue and white ginger jar lamp instead. Same design power, smaller footprint in your decor. Don’t forget to top off ginger jar lamps with a stylish shade that compliments your style as well as the lamp itself. With so many different colors and designs, here’s to seeing more and more ginger jar lamps in 2012.

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Countdown to Holiday Parties with Mexican Ceramics

Can you believe it’s already December? After the shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, now we hit the fun part of this time of year: holiday entertaining. Cocktail parties, sit-down dinners, and cookie swaps vie for the round of work and family parties, leaving us ready to put our feet up come January.

Here, we’ve put together some original ideas to help you entertain with style. Plus, we have suggestions for memorable host gifts to bring to events outside your home. Here’s a countdown of Mexican ceramics with flair – they’re perfect for holiday entertaining, whether an intimate dinner or blow out bash.

5. Platters. Start off a party right with delicious appetizers arranged on ceramic serving platters. Having food stations spread throughout your home keeps the party from clumping around a central food table and makes food easier to replenish when items get low. Use a rectangular serving tray to keep two-part foods (like spreads and dips) together visually and physically. Large serving platters are great for a spread of meats and cheeses next to fresh bread. Try a rectangular serving tray for vegetable crudities or to showcase sweet treats at meal’s end.

4. Mugs. Warm drinks need the proper equipment, so have festive Mexican ceramic mugs on hand. They’re both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Whether it’s a gran taza filled with hot chocolate as you prepare the night’s meal or mugs filled with spiked coffee after dinner, a mix of mugs means your guests won’t get confused as to whose drink is whose. Mugs also make a great host gift since everyone can find a use for them, no matter their hot drink of choice.

3. Serving dishes. If you’ve been slaving over a gorgeous roast, show it off with the proper ceramic serving dish. An oval serving dish is perfect for meats and the handles make it easy to get it to the table. Ceramic serving platters and dishes are also perfect for centerpieces; this Vazquez serving dish looks fabulous on the table, whether filled with fruit or left empty.

2. Ceramic salad bowls. You need something cool and crisp to compliment a hearty meal, so fill ceramic salad bowls with a mix of greens that goes with everything. A substantial salad bowl can double as the perfect place for chips before dinner or cookies afterwards.

I love this ceramic salad bowl with barely visible handles that make it easy to pass. Because it’s so versatile, this is another Mexican ceramic piece that’s great for gift giving.

1. Trivets. Protect your surfaces in style with colorful Mexican ceramic trivets. These spice up an empty table even before the meal begins; you can mix and match the variety of colors for holiday cheer. Small and portable, these trivets have quickly become a favorite small gift for anyone who loves Mexican ceramics, entertaining, or cooking.

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Blog Round Up: Ginger Jars

Why do so many people love ginger jars? Also called a ceramic urn or tibor (in Spanish), these timeless vessels have definitely been making a splash in the decorating world lately. I love the versatility of ginger jars with a lid when it comes to decorating possibilities: take off the lid and it’s a vase for a stunning bouquet; put the lid back on and it looks perfect on a shelf, end table, or in a favorite nook.

But I’m not the only one who loves ginger jars. Perusing recent posts on design blogs, I’m amazed how many people are talking about ginger jars — from antique Chinese ginger jars to modern tibores by Talavera Vazquez. Here’s a quick roundup of great ginger jar finds; it’s fantastic how they can really work with so many different kinds of home décor. What’s your favorite?

Color. Curated by Color and Love Design are into blue and white. Cooper Grey loves the striking qualities of black and white. Both these combinations feel clean and fresh, no matter the setting from living room to bathroom, entryway to kitchen (or even on the patio). Blue and white can be nautical or sophisticated, black and white minimalist or causal, and ginger jars blend into both of these arresting color schemes easily.

Shape. Is there a difference between temple jars or ginger jars? Houzz explains the subtle difference in these shapes as well as their various uses. What we often call ginger jars have been used to keep the ashes of loved ones, ginger, salt, and other spices. Seaside Style talks about her mother’s collection that started her own obsession with traditional ginger jars. She’s mixed a Chinese ginger jar with seashore-inspired accents as well as more modern piece with antique furniture. I’d also agree with Dressing Rooms about the “timeless elegance” of ginger jars both old and new.

Graphics. Stripes, zig-zags, chevrons, and other organic inspired designs makes for ginger jars that feel modern yet not too edgy or minimalist. Shop Sweet Things loves the variety of patterns available in modern ginger jars. California Home and Design adores chevrons and mentions pottery ginger jars as an easy way to incorporate this pattern into your home without being overwhelming. And Jen Ramos of Made By Girl keeps one on her office bookshelf as a stylish graphic counterpoint to her collection of bookends, vases, and other great art work. So many uses for ginger jars, so little time!

Look for more blog roundups as we finish up 2011, definitely a year of great design.

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Feliz Día de los Muertos!

I love visiting Mexico. The people are so friendly, the food is delicious, I get to use my Spanish, and on top of all that, I can see Mexican artists make ceramics, weave all manner of gorgeous cloth, work metal or leather, and create other beautiful traditional crafts. With Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) starting today, my mind is wandering both to Mexico and my favorite Mexican artists — Talavera Vazquez, Gorky González, Capelo, and Angélica Escarcega. I have heard so much about the colorful festivities surrounding Day of the Dead and have always wanted to experience the nation-wide celebration in person!

What is the Day of the Dead exactly? First off, it’s actually two days (November 1 and 2) during which people remember and celebrate ancestors and friends who have passed away. This celebration has roots in Aztec, Purepechas, and Totonacs traditions as well as the Catholic practice of All Souls Day. People visit their relatives’ graves on the first day, decorating them with flowers and candles. It’s a sort of picnic in the cemetery, with friends and family sharing stories about their loved ones buried there. It’s a celebration of the dead, as well as a celebration of the community they helped create.

These graveside picnics usually feature tamales and pan de muerto, a special bread. Bakers hide a toy skeleton inside (usually plastic) and it’s good luck if you bite into it. Sweets are another important tradition, with cookies, chocolate and sugar skulls. By biting into the skull shapes, people symbolically “take a bite of death” and inoculate themselves against the fear of death.

Another important aspect of the Day of the Dead are the intricate altars constructed and dedicated to deceased relatives. These are often decorated with yellow and orange marigolds and/or chrysanthemums; yellow is the Aztec color for autumn as it’s the season when nature begins to die. There are both home and public altars, where people leave offerings of favorite foods of their loved ones who have passed (candy skulls are a popular choice), photographs, and religious amulets. The altars show the cycle of life and death as part of the human experience. Day of the Dead celebrations also can include processions (like this one in San Francisco), music, or dancing; but the main idea is to celebrate life and death together.

While I won’t be in Mexico to celebrate the Day of the Dead this year, I will be surrounded by the festive pottery of Talavera Vazquez. I’m especially inspired to bring out my Vazquez pottery this time of year — the bold beauty reflects traditional Mexican decorations and the bright colors evoke the change of seasons. While you might decorate for many different fall events (Halloween, the Day of the Dead, and Thanksgiving come to mind), putting Mexican artist ceramics like a Vazquez pottery vase or ginger jar into the mix makes for the perfect fall touch. Felicidades!

Day of the Dead altar image courtesy of Ute Hagen.

Candy skulls image courtesy of Glen Van Etten.

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Gifts 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.

So what do you get an oenophile? It sounds like an easy question – wine. But what kind? From where? If you’re like me and don’t know a lot about wine yourself, picking out wine for an expert can be daunting.

However, help is on the way. Here are a few great wine gift ideas to fit any budget and occasion. I hope they help you fill your oenophile gift needs!

  • A tasting trip: When you want to celebrate something truly special, like an engagement or important wedding anniversary, why not treat your wine aficionado to a tasting in a region they love? A trip to taste Bordeaux in France or Malbec in Argentina would definitely be memorable. If that’s a stretch, investigate regional possibilities; there are more and more wineries throughout the US that produce delicious bottles (not just Napa Valley either). You can make this gift extra lux with overnight stays, dinners, and guided tours along with tasting opportunities.
  • A home tasting package: Brix26 has saved me on more than one occasion with a great selection of California wines. I love their wine gifts: you can buy 2, 4, 6, or 12 bottles and they’ll ship their latest discoveries direct to your wine loving friend. It’s a great way to try new bottles that have been recommended by an expert.
  • Useful wine accessories: Here you have a range of choices. A ceramic wine bottle holder is stylish and practical, keeping whites cool on the table with ease. I also like how ceramic wine bottle holders complete a table’s look when it comes time for a dinner party. Also consider decorative wine corks, an aerator (it helps wine breathe quickly), or charms/tags for wine glasses.

black striped wine holder  paloma wine holder

Of course the easiest way to learn more about wine for yourself is to taste. Why not organize a home tasting with some friends? Everyone can bring a different bottle (perhaps based on a theme or region) and talk about what they have in their glass. Ceramic wine bottle holders easily mask labels for blind tasting possibilities, letting you discover what you truly enjoy… and have fun while you do it.

Wine bottles image (top) courtesy of Procsilas Moscas.

Wine gift image courtesy of Brix26.

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Creative Gardening with Blue and White Planters

For those of you with a green thumb, fall brings a whole new phase for gardening. If you live in a cold winter climate, it’s time to tuck everything in that will winter over as well as bring inside your outdoor planters. Fall is also the time to plant bulbs, like daffodils, tulips, crocuses, and hyacinths. One method is to just push as many bulbs into the ground as possible, says The Vancouver Sun Blog In the Garden. By March and April, these colorful flowers will show up, making any garden bright and Spring-ready.

But what if you don’t have space outdoors for a bulb garden? I love this article’s ideas about bulb novelty planting – suggesting decorative and creative ways to showcase bulbs, like putting them in shoes, blue and white planters, even designer shopping bags!

Bulbs in planters let you move them around as well as make unexpected accents on your patio or porch. All you need for container gardening is adequate drainage and enough room for the plant to grow, so bulbs really are just the beginning of your imaginative gardening. I’ve seen red, green, blue, and white planters used to add contrast to roses, ferns, even vegetables! I like how planters work in all kinds of environments, from apartment window boxes to accenting a sprawling home garden.

Ready to make your own bulb planter? Plant bulbs pointy side up and make sure to put them deep enough in the ground. You can choose a wide variety of flowers, either filling your blue and white planter with only bright scarlet tulips or mixing different colors, sizes, and types. Miniature varieties would work well in a hanging or wall planter. Think too about planting tall flowers in the center of a round or square planter, with shorter ones around the edges for maximum appeal.

I’ve talked before about some different ideas for blue and white planters; it’s a color combination I can’t get enough of. My herb garden is still going strong, but why not think about creating a living spring bouquet in a favorite blue and white planter of your own? Happy fall planting!

Tulip image courtesy of Duncan Harris.

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A Closer Look at Mexican Ceramic Art

There’s such a rich history of Mexican ceramic art: Like how Talavera Vázquez started a revolution that continues today, how Mata Ortiz pottery was first developed by Juan Quezada, and how Gorky Gonzalez revitalized the Mexican tradition of majolica. There’s always something more to learn about and while Mexican ceramic art has been around for thousands of years, you can see striking similarities between what archeologists have found and the ceramics being produced in Mexico today. Let’s take a closer look at some additional examples…

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Oaxaca

Located in the south of Mexico, Oaxaca ceramics are distinct because of the black clay found in the region. The “barro negro” (black clay) pieces have a beautiful black finish that started out matte but have been polished to an almost metallic sheen, a technique created by potter Doña Rosa in the 1950s. The other striking ceramics of this region are the green-glazed pieces from Santa María Atzompa, another tradition that started after the Spanish conquest.

Jalisco

This tradition of Mexican ceramic art also goes back thousands of years, but modern production uses high temperature firing techniques to create both ceramic and stoneware pieces. The Jalisco “bruñido” style is characterized by a piece that is burnished (rather than glazed) to make it shine. These are often jugs or jars with slender necks. Traditional designs are quite detailed and multicolored, though the antique pieces are faded because of not being fired after painting. Modern stoneware ceramics are brightly colored with a variety of global influences, making Jalisco another rich contributor to Mexican ceramic art.

Majolica

While not a region in Mexico like the others, this technique is widespread in the artistic cities of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, and San Miguel de Allende. A versatile form decorated with rich glazes, and continually incorporating modern influences, I think this is the most timeless of all Mexican ceramic art. The thick glaze looks and feels super inviting, whether it’s a vase or a coffee mug!

No matter the origin, Mexican ceramic art is traditionally made by hand, often in family-run workshops. The wide range of cultures and mix of traditions present in Mexico truly sets its ceramics apart. I believe it is an art form that is always worth further exploration.

Oaxaca image and Jalisco image both courtesy of AlejandroLinaresGarcia.

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Quick Design Tips: Bold Stripes, Prints, and Chevron Patterns

From chevrons to zebra prints and paisley to checks, bold patterns are definitely making a splash these days in home design. It is not surprising that these fun patterns have become the most popular among the Emilia Ceramics collection — they are everywhere! Curious about incorporating bold patterns and shapes into your home? Here are three suggestions of ways to add a bit more punch to your current design aesthetic.

Chevrons

Their are many different ways to bring the graphic zigzag quality of a chevron pattern into your home design. In fact, here’s a great list of ideas I just found. Subtle touches such as tile or wood flooring give a bit more visual depth to any space, but aren’t overwhelming. But if you’re looking to fully embrace the audacious possibilities of chevron patterns, there’s nothing like a bold zigzag ginger jar or vase to liven up your dining room, kitchen or workspace. Blogger Jen Ramos bought the black and white zigzag tibor a while back and keeps it displayed on a bookshelf next to her desk.  I think it creates the perfect contrast with her books, magazines and other unique artwork. Another look I love is this one in my friend’s living room (photo on right). She has combined the striking burnt orange zigzag ginger jar with a matching striped vase to create an eye-pleasing focal point amidst rich solid colors.

Stripes

Horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, there are endless possibilities when it comes to decorating with stripes. Thick and thin stripes add visual interest to a wall (paint them using chalk lines and tape for crisp edges), either in contrasting colors or in subtle tones of the same hue. Stripes also make for a classy accent; look for pillows and rugs with wide bands or discreet pin striping.

With my new arrivals from Talavera Vazquez unpacked, I’m more into stripes than ever… striped vases of all sizes, striped coffee mugs, striped wine bottle holders, striped planters, and striped ginger jars… I can’t get enough of these stripes! The best part about these pieces is that they go with everything but have enough personality not to fade into the background and be overlooked.

Prints

Leopard print, polka dots, fleur de lis… there are more patterns and motifs out there than I have space to name. For an extreme example, check out this room that combines a blue zebra print rug, palm tree wallpaper, and floral patterned drapes. It is at once overwhelming and arresting. When playing with patterns, staying in the same color is key to preventing a cluttered or messy effect. Blue and white is a subtle color combination, enabling a mixture of patterns, textures, and styles to coexist with ease. For example, adding one of our large blue and white ginger jars to an already blue-themed entryway or living room makes a strong, yet stylish statement.

Layering prints is a great way to make a personal statement, but don’t forget to add some solids to the mix to give visual anchors to a room. So go ahead and take the plunge… you might be pleasantly surprised by a little decoration daring!

Chevron image courtesy of Steve & Jemma Copley.

Print image courtesy of Douglas LeMoine.

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Be Fashion-Forward with Black and White Home Decor

I know it came out in March, but I just heard about the documentary Bill Cunningham New York — it looks super interesting for anyone who loves fashion. The valiant New York Times fashion photographer combs the streets taking photos of what people are actually wearing right now. “I’ve said many times that we all get dressed for Bill,” says Anna Wintour, editor in chief of American Vogue, and just by looking at the body of his work, this isn’t an outrageous claim at all. The New York Times review of the film likens him to a war photographer, running to get the shot and capture a little slice of humanity.

Cunningham’s “On the Street” photo presentations are fantastic — just check out this one about black and white stripes taking over summer streets. The graphic nature of this summer’s popular black and white, he says, is “marvelous to photograph.” And with the resulting montage of black and white umbrellas, maxi dresses, long skirts, and accessories, it’s easy to see why.

Crisp, clean, and always eye-catching, black and white is a classic in both fashion and home decorating. So how can you incorporate this trendy-yet-timeless look into your personal style?When it comes to decorating, I love black and white vases and ginger jars. Bold graphic prints that pop, like these black and white vases by Talavera Vazquez, make a perfect addition to any room. I recommend displaying black and white vases in a room with strong reds or blues around it. They also make a striking gift, perhaps complete with a bouquet.

As Cunningham says, black and white stripes have been building for the past few years, and now have reached a crescendo. So why keep all the style inside? Black and white planters compliment the vibrant colors and textures of plants with a touch of elegance. If black and white stripes or zigzags are a little too eye-catching for your patio or porch, try the softness of a traditional floral design like this black and white planter.

Of course, sleek lines and crisp edges are hallmarks of black and white. That’s one of the things I love about the shapes of my black and white collection with its vases, lamps, planters, and platters. And unlike clothing with bold black and white horizontal stripes, you don’t have to worry about how your ceramics will look on your hips; they’re always flattering!

Movie poster image courtesy of Alejandro De La Cruz.

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We’re Loving Ceramic Wine Bottle Holders

Summer brings with it many things: long sun-filled days, picnics, trips to the beach, and barbeques. It also seems to bring out the white wine drinker in all of us – on a hot day there’s nothing like a cool glass of crisp pinot grigio or chardonnay before and during a leisurely dinner.

But with the heat comes another age-old problem: how to keep things cool? Icy champagne buckets are heavy and messy. Not only does the bottle drip all over the place, the ice becomes just a pool of water by evening’s end. But keeping the bottle in the fridge means multiple trips back and forth to replenish glasses, which is inconvenient whether you’re sitting outside or in. However, I’ve come across another solution for this quandary: try a ceramic wine bottle holder. It keeps a chilled bottle cold on the table, there’s no mess, and it looks great the whole time!

I wrote about giving a ceramic wine bottle holder as a gift, along with a special bottle of wine back in May. They make a great gift because bottle holders fall in that category of items that you may not think to buy, but use constantly once you have.

What makes a ceramic wine bottle holder so handy? It gives instant charm to any table setting, whether a romantic dinner for two or a full-scale dinner party. Even plain table wine seems a little more special when presented thoughtfully. The ceramic wine bottle holders above from Ceramiche Bartoloni give a delicious touch to your place setting, with hand-painted grapes, lemons and olives. Choose whichever fits your (or your friend’s) décor best.

Of course, a ceramic wine bottle holder can do more than just hold wine. Use it for cooking utensils like spoons and spatulas near the stove. Or add flowers to this ceramic wine bottle holder by Talavera Vazquez with its bold black and white chevron pattern.

Whether it’s a gift for your wine-enthusiast friend or for yourself, a ceramic wine bottle holder is a practical way to add elegance to the table throughout the year. Care for another glass?

Wine glass image courtesy of Robert S. Donovan.

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The Inspiring Design of Talavera Vazquez Pottery

My Spanish is definitely rusty these days, but that didn’t keep me from reading this blog post talking about Talavera Vazquez. While exploring the town of Dolores Hidalgo, the writer visits the Talavera Vazquez studio and is captivated by all the beautiful things there. Pottery lines the shelves and is hung on walls and from the ceilings. Plates, dishes, lamps, vases, jewelry boxes, sinks, tiles… a seemingly endless array of Mexican artist ceramics dazzle the eye.

I was immediately taken back to my first visit to Dolores Hidalgo and Talavera Vazquez. Tucked within a town renowned for its ceramics, this vibrant workshop continues to innovate on the traditional methods of Mexican artist ceramics, producing appealing pieces large and small. The motto of this prolific studio is “Nuestros productos se fabrican y decoran a mano, la irregularidad que presentan acentúa su belleza.” (roughly translated as “Our products are made and decorated by hand, the irregularities present accent their beauty.”). I couldn’t agree more. Talavera Vazquez definitely sums up my attitudes about the beauty of hand made ceramics; you can truly see the pieces come to life under the talented hands of the artists that work here.

Of course, I’m not alone in my love of Vazquez pottery. Casasugar thinks it’s a great addition for festive Cinco de Mayo décor (but why wait until next year for a fiesta? See if you can find a reason to throw one this weekend!). Kristina, who writes the blog My Heart Behaves, says she needs a Talavera Vazquez piece… And, truth be told, how can great design not be inspiring, regardless of its origin?

So what’s there to inspire you in terms of Vazquez pottery this week? Why not brighten things up with a statement-making lamp? The shape is that of the ever-popular tibor (or ginger jar), but made even more functional as a lamp.

I’ve mentioned before that Talavera Vazquez does both large and small equally well. I’m a sucker when it comes to sets, so I love this pair of votive candle holders. Not only do they brighten any table’s feel, you can use them as small serving dishes for dips, for spices on the table, or even to hold sugar packets. Other candle holders serve a dual brightening purpose, adding a lively note even when candles aren’t lit.

Finally, with summer flowers bursting into bloom, show them off with a gorgeous vase. This one in green and white invokes lush greenery no matter what time of year. Vazquez pottery makes a variety of shapes and sizes, so there’s sure to be a vase that’s perfect for your favorite blossoms.