Unlike plastic, the mineral bodies in ceramic clay are sourced from the earth and produce less waste.
From bowls to planters, beautifully designed ceramics are incredibly versatile and can serve as utilitarian homewares or striking home décor pieces. They also function as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic items, since the mineral bodies in ceramic clay are abundant, sourced from the earth, and produce minimal waste. As the popularity of ceramics continues to rise, there are a growing number of Black artists are emerging with modern, artisanal products that will enhance your home and are durable enough to last for decades.
The switch from plastic to clay may seem inconvenient, since lab-created PVC cups and disposable plates are typically cheap, easily accessible and convenient. However, the harmful impact of plastic products pollutes the eco-system we interact with daily. According to a report from the United Nations Environment Program, “Very little of the plastic we discard every day is recycled or incinerated in waste-to-energy facilities. Much of it ends up in landfills, where it may take up to 1,000 years to decompose, leaching potentially toxic substances into the soil and water.” This pollution ultimately makes its way into our food chain threatening the health of plants, animals and humans.
From a style perspective, ceramics are a timeless material that never goes out of style. You can go with an earthy, natural vibe or opt for a sleek, glossier option; either way you're guaranteed to add visual impact to any room. If you’re ready to stock your home with some bold, environmentally-friendly ceramics, look no further. We’ve rounded up a range of chic options, from functional storage vessels to decorative home accents, all handmade by Black artists.
Sequoyah “Coy” Johnson, The Coy Collection
The Coy Collection Tiny Vases $75 each, thecoycollection.com
Sequoyah Johnson is all about living out loud: all you have to do is take a peek at her work to know that. The artist hailing from Austin, Texas is most known for The Coy Collection, a series of ceramic wares created with the intent to “make you feel good” in a variety of bright and colorful colors, shapes, and forms. Choose a fun vase or trinket tray from a variety of joyful shades for a purposeful place to store your keys.
Sara Ekua Todd, Ekua Ceramics
Ekua Ceramics Porcelain Teapot - 05 $130, ekuaceramics.com
Founder of Ekua Ceramics, Todd is an artist who draws inspiration from her multi-ethnic background. Raised in Belgium and now residing in Los Angeles, Todd’s clayware has been heavily influenced by her time living in abroad. If you're a coffee or tea enthusiast, the brand makes a beautiful assortment of modern teapots, matcha and coffee cups that by making your caffeinated drink at home feel like a treat.
Lalese Stamps, Lolly Lolly Ceramics
Lolly Lolly Ceramics 12/100 Mug $72, lollylollyceramics.com
CEO and Founder of Lolly Lolly, Stamps created the brand in 2017 to focus on objects that are unique and handmade to last. During quarantine, she embarked on a 100 Day Project where she made 100 mugs with 100 different handles for each day! Her abundance of creativity is most notable in her whimsically designed to take everyday tasks like coffee time to the next level.
Ronaldo Wiltshire, Motions of Clay
Motions of Clay Black Splash Bowls $34, motionsofclay.co.uk
As the son of two potters, Wiltshire spent a great deal of time surrounded by art. He draws much of his inspiration from “the colours of the countryside” of Barbados, the country he calls home. Now living in London, Wiltshire runs classes and workshops through his very own pottery studio Motions of Clay. If you were considering bringing home a new plant for Earth Month, give it a stylish new home with one of his succulent pots or stock up on some of his dinner wares for your kitchen.
Marissa Y Alexander, Marissa Y Alexander
Marissa Y Alexander Shallow Raspberry Blossom Bowl $244, marissaya.com
Marissa Y Alexander resides in Hamilton, Ontario where she “makes things that engage [herself] and other people” through clay. Her one-of-a-kind stoneware is teeming with dips, ridges, and grooves that make you feel like every piece was uniquely crafted for you. Use one of her Soft Colour Wash Bowls to nourish yourself or your guests, knowing that this creation was handmade with love.
Sherród Faulks, Deep Black
Deep Black Orbita Planters $15-30, deepblack.design
Faulks strives to create luxury products with accessibility and quality in mind. Describing DEEP BLACK, he proclaims: “This is a color, a mood, a movement, and a community.” Based in Portsmouth, Virginia, Faulks spends his time making modern home items for your everyday needs. Try these abstract planters or the Stoneware Pourer Bowl to store leftover sauces, soups and dips after your next gathering — his products are dishwasher and microwave safe.
Aleisha Ellis, Utility Objects
Utility Objects Ikebana Bowl & Bulb $85-112, utility-objects.com
Atlanta-based artist, Ellis has been creating ceramic products under the brand Utility Objects since 2018. The inspiration behind her work comes from a range of global influences (“from Japanese wabi sabi to Scandinavian designs”), but all of her pieces carry a throughline of monochromatic colors and functional updates. Most notable are her design-driven bowls. Her simple but chic ceramic dog bowl will seamlessly fit in with the rest of your home’s aesthetic.
Kyle Scott Lee, The Ceramic Meltdown Studio
Kyle Scott Lee Colorburst Vase $350, companiongallery.com
Brooklyn-based artist and instructor Lee creates colorful expressions of joy in the form of housewares, crafting spotted plates and vases in an array of rainbow colors. Owner of The Ceramic Meltdown Studio, Lee teaches open-wheel classes and is currently making efforts to reduce his carbon footprint with technology that allows for even more sustainability with the materials he uses for his ceramics. Consider bringing a set of his gorgeous plates for your next potluck or picnic this Spring!
Chris Bramble, Chris Bramble Ceramics
Chris Bramble Ceramics Turquoise Dome Jar $157, chrisbrambleceramics.com
Bramble channels his love for African craftsmanship into his work, resulting in powerful imagery throughout his collections. The artist currently runs workshops in London, using a range of techniques and different clays in his teachings. His evocative ceramic bowls are perfect for storing jewelry in your home.