By John Linden
Interior design, furniture design, lover of all things chic in home decor.
Mid Century Modern Vases Design
The mid-century period, after all, was a time that focused on manmade surfaces. Cars were becoming glossier, packaging was brightly-colored and people wanted their appliances to be shiny and new.
The modernists working in ceramics, however, did not think that colorful and artificial surfaces necessarily made things better. Instead, they took inspiration from Asian cultures of the past, appreciating the inherent qualities of the clay rather than trying to completely gloss over them.
Similar to the Asian ceramicists they admired, those working during the mid-century period believed that the clay or glass they used contained a kind of “truth” within it and that it was the artist’s job to highlight whatever that truth might be.
While the factory-produced vessels sold in department stores clashed rigid, geometric shapes against nuclear, candy-colored glazes, these artists wanted their work to reflect the organic forms and patterns found within the natural world.
They utilized raku firing, muted tones and shapes which reflect the forest and water to emphasize the vessel’s connection to nature.
A little history of mid century modern vases
Whereas the general public was gravitating toward the exciting and brightly colored ceramics being churned out by factories, a number of experts working with clay retreated to their studios in order to focus on producing quieter, more serene vessels.
While we can see the influence of mass-culture in some mid century modern vases, many artists at the time pulled their inspiration and influence from nature, instead.
Finding vintage mid century ceramics
👍 John’s Rule of Thumb Here, vintage refers to pieces that were made during the midcentury period (1950s).
Finding vintage mid-century ceramics is easy. But, you might have to spend some time searching. After all, these treasures from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s are a bit rarer than the mass-produced jars and vases you see on the shelf at the department store. Ultimately, however, the search is worth it. If you put in enough time and effort, you’ll have some amazing pieces to show for it. Here are some of the best places to find mid-century ceramics:
Chairish. com is one of our favorite online antique marketplaces. Dealers and connoisseurs from all over the world flock to this website to buy and sell mid-century gems. There are chairs, tables, sofas, and nearly every type of furniture you can imagine. The ceramics section, however, is something special.
Obviously, eBay is another favorite among mid-century fanatics. A quick search for “mid-century ceramics” will bring up a plethora of amazing pieces that suit your fancy. All you have to do is find something you like that’s in your price range and start bidding.
It’s important to remember, however, that eBay is an auction website. So, it’s easy to lose out on amazing pieces if someone bids higher than you. When bidding on eBay, always make sure that you know when the auction ends so you don’t miss out.
3. Antique Stores
If you’d prefer to see pieces in person before you buy them, head directly to the nearest antique shop. They should have some ceramics that you like. If they don’t have anything that suits your taste, the owner may have some tips on finding mid-century ceramics in your area, so make sure to ask them.
The goal of mid-century modern design is, “Getting the most of the best to the greatest number of people for the least amount of money”
Ray and Charles Eames
Here are some great mid century modern ceramicists working today
👍 John’s Rule of Thumb Reproduction refers to ceramics done in the same mid century style, just created today.
Even though we’re well into the 21st century, there are still plenty of amazing ceramicists working today. Here are some of the folks that are putting a new twist on the mid-century tradition.
Takuro Kuwata’s work looks as if was made by an extraterrestrial who came to Earth during the 1970’s. He puts a unique spin on traditional mugs and vases by using strange, experimental glazing methods. Although the pieces may look wonky, he’s a true master of the craft with a strong understanding of the history of ceramics.
Fein takes an earthy, organic approach to the medium, creating functional pieces that appear to take their inspiration from the human body. Although much of her work is designed for use (cups, bowls, vases), these ceramics could function just as well as decorative pieces.
Modern and minimal, her collection is a little apart from the MCM tradition, but gorgeous and worth checking out nonetheless!
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