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Black and White Love: Ginger Jars

black and white ginger jars

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

black white chevron ginger jar

Talavera Vazquez’s Mexican ceramics remain some of the most popular in the collection, their bold colors and patterns perfectly fusing modern and traditional aesthetics. Their ginger jars capture this sensibility nicely: traditional shape and ceramic method, glazed with designs that have a contemporary edge. Though the black and white chevron ginger jar is ubiquitous in design blogs and interior designers’ showrooms, the other black and white ginger jars are equally striking.

Talavera Vazquez Ginger Jars

Small ginger jars add a black and white note to desks, bathrooms, and nooks. Larger ginger jars flank staircases, fireplaces, or sit in solitary splendor on shelves and end tables. And for those who want more versatility than the vase/storage/decoration combination a traditional ginger jar brings, there are always ginger jar lamps to shine light on the matter. Orange, yellow, and blue and white ginger jars as well as multicolored pattern extravaganzas make for ginger jars continuing to appear in decorating schemes of every style.

black and white ginger jars

Which of these black and white ginger jars is your favorite? What kind of black and white accents will you add to your own collection in the coming months? Look for more black and white inspiration to come in future posts.

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Your Favorite Ginger Jars From Around the World

ginger jars

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.

ginger jars

Mexican Ginger Jars

black and white ginger jar - extra large

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.

blue_white_chevron_zigzag_urn_ginger_jar_tibor

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.

canister_ginger_jar_italian_ceramics_bartoloni

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.

blue_white_stripe_urn_ginger_jar_talavera

Where do your favorite ginger jars come from?

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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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Favorite DIY Utensil Holder Ideas that Look Fabulous

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

utensil holder

Holders for Cutlery

The easiest small utensil holder is a jar of appropriate size. Dress it up with ribbon or decals. This series of three mason jars attached to reclaimed barn wood is perfect for forks, knives, and spoons and more! I love this idea for a small herb garden that mounts on the wall.

DIY utensil holder

In the garden theme, small painted flower pots also are great DIY holders for an informal party setting. The tags on these add the perfect touch for a bbq or outdoor event.

flower pot utensil holders

Another variation on this theme is to use three tin cans covered in colorful paper. One Creative Momma’s colorful DIY holders are playful and stylish.

You also can make utensil holders for individual servings, showing off your craft genius at the table. This tutorial by House of Rose is fun for picnics or the beach, dressing up plastic utensils with pizzaz.

DIY utensil holder

Holders for Large Kitchen Utensils

Canisters that won’t tip over are essential for these kitchen accessories. You can simply upcycle a large tin, making sure the edges are crimped down for safety. I love the look of a decorated olive oil tin, though large European cookie tins are another possibility.

DIY olive oil tin utensil holder

Another large-format DIY holder is a paint can, decorated to match your other kitchen accessories. This version is painted with chalkboard paint, allowing for quick customization.

DIY holder

You can also avoid a utensil holder all together, going for a hanging bar over the counter or stovetop. This creative solution from Release Me Create uses a tension bar over the stove for quick installation.

DIY hanging utensil holder

Chevron remains a favorite pattern, so why not paint a large flower pot to create a chevron utensil holder? This Full Life transforms a yellow pot with painter’s tape and spray paint, creating a particularly spiky design. Don’t feel like painting? Then check out Talavera Vazquez’s handpainted chevron utensil holder in solid ceramic. Bonus: It also doubles a wine bottle holder.

chevron utensil holder

What are your favorite places to find DIY projects for the home? What other creative DIY utensil holder ideas have you used? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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Channel Your Inner Zebra with Black and White Stripe Decor

fall tablescape ideas

There’s something about black and white that just exudes timeless chic. From stripes to chevrons and zig zags, black and white is definitely the palette for graphic accents that make an impact throughout your home. Instead of repainting a wall or investing in a huge carpet, adding black and white touches with ceramics is an easy way to instantly update any space.

Take black and white vases. These look fabulous displayed empty on a shelf or filled with flowers on a table. Whether a large black and white striped vase or small, choose an interesting shape for an unusual accent. Also think about the kinds of flowers you like. Large vases will dwarf small bouquets but be perfect for large sprays of branches, lilies, sunflowers, and other more sizable bouquets.

Of course, mixing white vases and black vases is another way to add visual interest to a room. A collection of different shapes and sizes instantly transforms a console, especially if some vases have flowers inside. This ivory urn by Poterie Ravel adds some mass to any arrangement and is the perfect base for a lovely spring flower arrangement. I also like pairing a stripe painted vase with a zigzag vase or another pattern. Who says things have to match perfectly? It’s so much more interesting when they don’t.

 

 

 

But why stop at black and white vases? Black and white throw pillows update sofas and chairs; if you want a bigger change think about some elegant black and white slipcovers for your larger furniture pieces. Curtains, throw rugs, or black and white photographs are all great ways to inject some zebra-inspired style into a room (of course, you don’t need to think about zebras when you think about black and white stripes). Talavera Vazquez’s black and white ceramic planters, bowls, and ginger jars are other ways to add a modern touch.

What do you love about black and white? Have a favorite flower that looks great in black and white striped vases? 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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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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Blog Round Up: Ceramic Vases

There’s nothing like a bouquet of fresh flowers to instantly brighten a room. Of course, choosing the right vase can make or break a floral arrangement, from a dramatic centerpiece vase to small accents with bud vases. The best vases also hold their own when empty, adding a decorative punch to any room in the home.

Since everyone’s talking about the holidays, let’s not forget that vases make great gifts — people can always use another interesting shape or size in their collection. Colorful vases or plain, they are definitely a design staple. So to continue our blog round up series on great design in 2011, let’s look at who else loves vases in all their gorgeous forms.

Stripes. Black and white stripes are definitely a hallmark of 2011, coming off the runway and into the home. Design Muse called it “jailbird chic,” while The Swell Life suggested using black and white striped accents to decorate for Halloween (love it!). Of course, stripes don’t have to just be black and white – one of my favorite pieces is the blue striped vase by Talavera Vazquez. It’s definitely a centerpiece vase, holding its own whether empty or full of sunflowers, tulips, or roses.

Shape. Curved, linear, or squat, the variety of vase shapes is matched only by the variety of flowers to put in them. DesignLike featured both short and tall ceramic vases in their review of the best handmade pieces to use at home and give as gifts. Elle Decor loved the simplicity of the blue striped simple vase – it’s great for a small bouquet and doubles beautifully as a toothbrush or pen holder. If you’re into interestingly shaped vases, the round Paloma vase is a great addition to any vase collection. This blue ceramic vase lends itself well to flowers that spill out over the rim, like daisies or mixed wildflowers.

Decorative Prowess. Of course, vase centerpieces have long been a decorating staple. Use bold pieces like tall ceramic vases to create an attractive table for a dinner party or everyday sophistication. Atmosphere Interior Design talks about vases as a stylish kind of “chachka”, something worth displaying or collecting. The Morsel Designs loves blue as a dominating decorating color, featuring blue and white vases filled with blue hyacinths.

Speaking of blue and white, I couldn’t agree more with guest writer Mackenzie from Design Darling when she talked on Look Linger Love about the great combination of navy blue and hot pink — not to mention the fact that she featured the Emilia Ceramics blue zigzag vase and blue striped vase as the perfect additions to this decorating scheme.

I know that I’ll be giving some gorgeous vases this year as gifts, now just to decide which ones!

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Ceramic Table Lamps = Great Home Design

Scanning design blogs and magazines regularly, I find that a great lighting fixture is a common statement piece when it comes time to decorate… and also one that is often difficult to find. Function and beauty combined is definitely appealing. In fact, it’s an essential part of what makes good room design and lighting is a key factor for creating atmosphere: you can create a wide variety of effects all with clever and deliberate lighting choices. So what about ceramic table lamps for the bedroom or living room? They’re definitely an easy way to add a touch of color and class to any space. Let’s look at some factors when it comes to choosing ceramic table lamps.

Placement: When choosing a ceramic table lamp, it’s important to think about the room and where the lamp would fit in best withing the existing space. The great thing about choosing multiple light sources instead of a single overhead light is the flexibility it creates in terms of mood. Recessed and track lighting are popular because you can target where the overhead light goes. I like floor and table lamps as they add interesting depth to living room design since the light comes from different angles.

Size: Influenced by placement, it’s important to choose ceramic table lamps for a bedroom or living room that match your lighting needs. A tiny desk lamp won’t work well for ambient lighting, while overheads don’t function for tasks that require focused lighting, like reading or writing. I like how ceramic table lamps like this blue striped lamp are large enough to be a versatile light source, but don’t dominate a room design.

Style: I’m a sucker for blue and white, so the ceramic table lamps for my bedroom follow suit. I particularly love the Las Flores lamp for festive yet relaxed sophistication. People love it too as a ceramic lamp for their living rooms: its charm is hard to beat, particularly on a stylish side table.

Shades: Like accessories for an outfit, choosing the right shade really makes any ceramic table lamp shine. Bedrooms call for reading lights that don’t shine directly into your eyes, so experiment with placement as you choose the right shade for a bedside table. Double check too that ceramic table lamps for the living room have shades that allow for the brightness and color of light you want.

Art: Just like any other kind of ceramics, table lamps are functional art for any room. Ceramic table lamps in the living room are a great conversation piece, adding sophistication and originality.

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The “Science” Behind Buying for Business

Recently, a friend asked me how I decide which pieces to buy for the Emilia Ceramics Collection. I had trouble with a concrete answer because the reality is most of my decisions are based more on gut reactions than a set of rules. There are however, a few guidelines (listed below) that definitely impact my decisions. As with every part of my business, I am still learning… but lucky for me, traveling to meet artists and pick from their work is a pretty fantastic way to learn!

1. Classic Shapes. People gravitate to the shapes they are accustomed to seeing and using, such as oval serving platters, deep salad bowls, and full-bodied pitchers for drinks or flower arrangements. These classic ceramic pieces make fantastic gifts as they are universally useful and can be added to any existing collection. For that very reason I like buying these functional shapes in multiple color schemes and styles… so they can fit into any aesthetic.

2. Original Shapes. The counter-effect to classic shapes, these pieces surprise and challenge the norm… and that’s why I love them. Squared edges are a great way to add originality to a utilitarian piece. My favorites are pictured below: The square platter by Tuscia d’Arte is perfect for serving cheese and crackers, Gorky’s octagonal bowls inspire Mexican fiestas, and finally Vazquez’s square planter adds dimension to the garden or patio.

3. Blue and White. Simply put, people will always love this classic color combination. I definitely gravitate to other colors as well, like warm earth-tones and fresh greens and yellows. But when blue and white ceramics is an option, I buy it. It is the closest thing I’ve found to a sure thing.

4. Functionality. Probably my biggest buying mistakes have come when I just fall in love with a design or piece that is not actually functional. While it may be exceptional artwork, that’s not always enough. To appeal to a larger audience a piece needs to be both beautiful and functional. Examples? Vases that look just as stately with or without a floral arrangement, plates that can be hung on the wall or used to serve dinner, lamps that add color and sophistication to the bedside table, and of course, probably my best seller of all-time, Gorky’s darling salt and pepper shakers!

5. Pure je ne sais quoi. When I am lucky enough to come across an artist that is creating original works of art that are striking, fun, thought-provoking, and useful, I know I’ve hit the jackpot. Prime examples are Angélica Escarcega in Guanajuato and Sylvie Duriez in Provence. These two women are talented, creative artists who work in their own personal styles to craft artwork that is imbued with personality and character. There is no rhyme or reason behind my purchasing their work… it’s just something I know is right. And my customers seem to agree.

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Will You Light My Candle? Why Candle Holders aren’t Simply a Thing of the Past

Mimi’s need for light in La Boheme became the beginning of a tragic love story, but these days, candle holders can seem like quaint relics of the past. That’s because today, candles are considered occasional accessories or backup lighting for when the power fails.

But it’s still true that candles create instant ambiance and the candle holder itself only adds to that. Whether an intimate candlelit dinner for two or a soft lighting source for a soirée, their warmth and scent invoke comfort and closeness. Anyone who loves candles knows that giving them the perfect setting is important.  To this end, you may want to pair them with Italian ceramic candle holders or Mexican votive holders.

Candle holders really do so much more than just hold candles. They’re a great household accessory, like jewelry for your table or shelf. This Italian ceramic candle holder, by Ceramiche Bartoloni, adds a splash of color to a bedside table or dresser. Prepare your patio for an outdoor fiesta with a unique blue and white candlestick holder like this large hurricane lamp by Gorky Gonzalez. Regardless of size or quantity, these timeless classics compliment all kinds of decorating styles and do so much more than hold candles.

The versatility of candle holders makes them ideal for gifts, especially for people who are hard to buy for (my mother springs to mind – it was just her birthday recently). For friends, coworkers, or family members, a candle holder makes a great housewarming, birthday, or hostess gift. Personalize your gift by finding a fabulous candle holder that matches their personality! Funky and festive candle holders are great for a fiesta feel, though they also look fantastic in more minimalist settings. For rustic authenticity, these Mexican candle holders are sure to please. And for the quirky friend who love a unique piece, you can’t beat this whimsical candle holder from Provence.

And of course there’s the classic combination of  blue and white, which is great for making a subtle statement in a more subdued color palette. Try a blue and white candlestick holder alone or in a pair, either way it will make the perfect addition to your home décor.

So whether you like a traditional Italian ceramic candle holders or prefer a contemporary blue and white candlestick holder, try this great gift idea: Fill a basket with one or more candle holders and candles that fit inside. Be sure to give multiple candles (maybe in a variety of colors or scents), so the recipient can get the most out of their candle holder gift. It’s original, useful, and very personable.