November 10, 2015

You Love Your Handmade Dishes, But Are They Microwave Safe?

With the growing resurgence of interest in handcrafted dinnerware, a new generation of people who have never experienced the joy of using pottery in their everyday lives suddenly find themselves confronted with new questions. For many, their only experience in dealing with dishes of any kind has involved those machine-crafted plates, bowls, and cups that still fill most cupboards in the West. As a result, there are some very basic issues that these folks often find themselves wondering about.

 

For example, one of the first questions many new owners of handcrafted pottery ask is how they can use these items with their modern technological conveniences. Invariably, that concern boils down to one real worry: can these dishes be placed in the microwave? While that might sound like a relatively unimportant issue, for many modern people it is precisely the type of concern that can make the difference between feeling comfortable with handcrafted dinnerware and deciding that it simply isn’t worth the trouble.

 

First, it’s important to understand why people might be concerned. Remember all those manufacturer’s warnings about how metal can damage your microwave? That warning is the main reason why so many artisan dinnerware owners are concerned about using their pottery pieces in the microwave. They recognize that there are traces of metals used in many common glazes, and are concerned that these metals might damage the microwave.

 

Well, there’s good news on that front, so don’t even think about getting rid of that new collection of handcrafted dishes! The fact is that they are perfectly compatible with the microwave, and can’t damage it in any way. While many do have that metallic content due to the glazes used, the amount of metal is so small that there is no way for it to affect the device’s operations.

 

That’s great news, obviously. Not only does it provide one more reason for you to own and use your beautiful and unique handcrafter dinnerware pieces, but it removes one potential obstacle that might otherwise have prevented you from enjoying the microwave benefits that pottery can make possible. And if you haven’t heard about those benefits, you’ll love these two:

  • First of all, the best handcrafted pottery dishes retain heat much better than many machine-crafted dishes. Your pottery is also less likely to come out of the microwave hotter than the food it contains.

  • Second, that increase in heat retention means that your microwave can use more of its energy heating your food rather than heating the dish. Greater efficiency can make for more rapid heating times and more reliable food preparation – which can help you to avoid those delays when you’re intent on heating up a meal quickly and the food just won’t cooperate!

And now that you know that those lovingly crafted handmade dishes can be safely used in your microwave, you can take advantage of those benefits in your kitchen. Like the items in our Gaia collection, it’s a safe bet that your own artisan pottery is perfect for use in most microwaves.

 

November 07, 2015

Casting Off Sameness: The Simple and Natural Joy of Handmade Dinnerware

As much as we try to act like we’re perfectly at home in this fast-paced modern world, many of us find ourselves in a continuous state of disquiet as we go through our lives. There’s a disconnect that seems to sap much of the natural joy from life, as if we’re all square pegs being pounded into round holes. We just somehow don’t quite fit. And while there have been volumes of psychoanalytical exposition on the subject, the problem doesn’t really seem all that complicated. The fact is that modernity as we now know it is radically different than what humans have experienced throughout all but a tiny sliver of their history. We’re natural beings somehow expected to live our lives in an unnatural environment.

 

 

Even when people recognize this truth, they often fail to realize just how widespread this disconnect from nature really is. They assume that it is their work environment, entertainment options, and technology that have fundamentally worked to sever their ties to the natural world. In reality, modernity has spread to every corner of their lives, touching even the home. For example, consider the dishes in your cupboard.

 

If you’re like the vast majority of people, there’s a good chance that those shelves are stocked with a collection of machine-made dishes that all have the exact same design, shape, and weight. When you examine them, they share all of the same characteristics and – in the absence of cracks, chips, or other damage – are basically indistinguishable from one another. They’re generally inexpensive, easily accessible, and easily replaceable.

 

That sameness is similar to modern architecture, modern furnishings, and other modern amenities. Mass production cannot occur without sacrifice, and when we rely on machines to produce all of our belongings one of the first things sacrificed is uniqueness. Sadly, this is not how mankind has generally lived throughout most of its history. In times past, everything around us was unique and special. Every pot, every plate, and every mug or cup was literally one-of-a-kind.

 

That characteristic of uniqueness is found throughout nature, where no two flowers or trees are the same. No two handfuls of dirt, buckets of water, or gusts of air are ever identical. We too are unique, and even twins have their own thoughts and emotions and desires. As a result, we find ourselves uncomfortable amid the sterile sameness of the modern world.

 

Now consider that handmade dinnerware that you see in many restaurants these days. Each piece is completely distinct in every way from every other piece that has been or ever will be created. It’s unique, and as a result it has its own unique weight and texture. When you eat from a handmade plate, you’re eating from something designed and crafted by another human being and made from the elements of nature. That’s a connection to the natural world that is soothing, and joyful in every way.

 

The Gaia Collection was designed to help you meet that need for natural joy. Every piece is lovingly crafted and prepared for you by hand, just as human potters have been doing for many thousands of years. You need more of the natural world in your life, and handmade dinnerware is the ideal place to begin the process of reclaiming your home from the sameness of modernity.

November 05, 2015

Home Decor and a Return to the Natural World

Does your house feel like a home? When you walk into it after a long day at work, does it have that feeling of warmth and security that most of us associate with hominess? For millions of people, the answer to those questions is probably a resounding “no.” The fact is that many of us have allowed ourselves to be so separated from the natural world by the allure of modern furnishings and other commercial goods that our connection to our world has suffered mightily.

 

We exist in a world that is as cold as the graveyard, as sterile as any massive parking lot and almost as uninviting as the surface of the Moon. In our mad dash for technological gain and commercial bounty, we’ve sacrificed much of what connected us to our natural surroundings – and oftentimes destroyed those surroundings in the process. This has occurred on almost every level, both small and large. Even seemingly sacrosanct staples of culture like handmade pottery had, for a time, all but vanished in our quest for modernism.

 

That’s all changing, however! A new spirit of longing for the natural world is spreading, and with it a desire for those most ancient cultural traditions. Handcrafted pottery is making a comeback, as restaurants are casting aside their stale machine-made dinnerware in favor of artisan dishes that bring the comfort of the home to the tables of the finest dining establishments.

 

Everyday homeowners are picking up on the trend as well. As people spend less and less time in their homes, the quality of that time becomes ever more critical. We want our homes to feel as they did in those days before mass consumerism. We need our homes to feel warm and inviting. And we are doing what we must to achieve those wants and needs.

 

Home décor is the place to begin, and handmade pottery items are the perfect way to bring the natural back inside your abode. Start with the kitchen. Those porcelain or glass dishes in your cupboard are a great first step on your journey back to the natural world. Imagine replacing them with a fine set of individually crafted plates, cups, bowls, and other pieces.

 

That glazed and fired clay has a special natural feel to it, and it’s not just something that changes the way you think about dining. Indeed, every artisan piece is literally a work of art as well. That’s why so many people now go beyond just owning these handmade dishes for use as dinnerware, and have now taken to decorating their homes with the same theme. Handcrafted pots, vases, and planters can restore any home to a more natural state.

 

Of course, this may all seem very new to you, and that can be a little disorienting. If you haven’t had the chance to really catch up on all that the new pottery artisans have to offer, that’s okay too. Just take a quick look at our Gaia Collection and you’ll instantly understand exactly why the natural world of ancient times is beginning to once again play an important role in the décor of the modern home.

November 02, 2015

Handmade Pottery: Regaining the Connection between People

When was the last time you held a piece of artisan pottery in your hand? Do you remember how it felt – the weight, the texture, the earthiness of it all? Chances are that your mind not only contemplated its curves, glazing, and subtle imperfections, but its origins as well. You can’t help but wonder how a piece came into existence when you touch it. Stay in contact with it long enough and you can almost feel the emotions of the potter who shaped it, lovingly colored it, and kiln-fired it before letting it loose in the world.

 

It’s true. Pottery lovers have always understood that there is something deep and almost mystical about handcrafted items and their impact on both creator and user. Woodcrafts have that same appeal. You examine each piece, marveling at the attention to detail that the artisan mustered as he created an object that is and always will be completely unique. Knitted sweaters, handmade dresses and other apparel, and even custom leatherworks: they all have that same wonderful mystery about them that you can sense in pottery.

 

Part of that appeal has to do with these handmade creations’ ability to connect and bind people. You know this from your own experience. When someone makes something for you by hand, there is an undeniable connection formed in the instant custody is transferred to you. That’s why so many of our most beloved keepsakes are things that were made by loved ones: that ashtray your child made in grade school – despite the fact that you don’t smoke, that wooden toolbox or metal mailbox the kids made when they got a little older.

 

Handcrafted binds user and creator in ways that neither ever really understands. And when it comes to pottery, that effect is magnified by the sheer history involved in the craft. For thousands of years, the potter provided the dinnerware, pots, and other ceramic items society needed. His work was a staple of civilization in every culture, and across every span of time. Then the age of the machines came, and that previously unbroken connection between people was strained.

 

Strained, but not broken. Thankfully, the craft survived. Today, its revival is once again enabling homeowners to decorate their homes and fill their cupboards with the handcrafted pottery items that form these deep and powerfully connective societal bonds. You may even have some of them now. If so, then you no doubt understand just how meaningful they are, and how important that craftsmanship is for both creator and user.

 

Our Gaia collection is but one more strand in that web of connections between people all around the world and all throughout history. The machines have sway over much of the world, but there remain places where people still make things for people – with their own human hands and without the cold touch of the metallic steel that rules over the din of the mechanized factories. Pottery in all its glorious forms remains something that still binds mankind together, defiantly maintaining the connections that really matter: the ones between people.

October 31, 2015

A Touch of Elegance: Entertaining with Handcrafted Dinnerware

When it comes to entertaining guests at your home, presentation can be critical. While your choice of refreshments and meal elements are certainly important, how they are delivered to your guests can often make all the difference in the world. And face it: even your finest machine-made dishes still offer little more than monotony and sameness of the sort that any guest could find in the cheap diner across town. To truly dazzle your guests, you need something that can provide a more unique and elegant experience.

 

You need handcrafted dinnerware. That’s right; one of your very best options for providing your guests with a truly innovative and memorable experience is the same type of handmade plates, serving dishes, bowls, and cups that your ancestors relied on throughout most of history. Those dishes had real weight and a sense of value that far exceeded their rustic appearance. In those days, artisan craftsmanship was present at every table. So why would modern people find them so elegant today?

 

 

Part of the appeal is a natural reaction to the extreme sanitization that has characterized dinnerware trends for many decades now. The precision created by machine manufacturing has helped to make various types of dinnerware more accessible to the masses than at any time in history. Mass production does tend to have that effect, after all. There’s always a price to be paid for such things, however, and in this case that price has involved the loss of character.

 

Handmade dinnerware has the type of character that helps connect people to the food they eat. There is something natural and soothingly simple about eating from a dish that has been lovingly crafted by human hands. The materials used by potters are of the earth, in much the same way that we are of the earth. Clay and water; water and clay – humanity and its pottery have always shared that bond.

 

There’s uniqueness about handcrafted dishes that can’t be duplicated by machines. Each piece is its own entity, different from all others. A subtly difference in shape, an imperfection here, a slight change in color there; all of these unique characteristics provide the character that machined porcelain lacks. Oh sure, those mass-produced items look pretty. And they’re certainly uniform in every way. What they lack, however, is that feeling of import. They just feel disposable, even when their price tag reveals them to be anything but thruway items.

 

When your guests dine from handcrafted dinnerware, they can feel just how important each dish actually is. They can sense that each item has a story to tell – a love story between potter and clay that stretches backwards through history to that first moment when man’s hand touched potter’s clay.

So, yes, you need handcrafted dishes like those you can review in our Gaia Collection if you want to achieve a sense of elegance while still maintaining the warmth of hearth and home that sterile machine-wrought porcelain can never hope to match. Your guests will love it!

 

October 28, 2015

Why Homemade Beats Machine Manufacturing

Modern society has a whole host of wonders that make life very comfortable and exciting for a larger share of the world’s population than most people can imagine. Consumer goods are plentiful, thanks in large measure to modern machine manufacturing techniques that are designed to produce as many copies of any individual product as the markets can bear. And yet, for all that plenty, the people of the world often seem as miserable as they’ve always been.

 

A large part of that may have something to do with the very nature of those products we use. Take pottery, for example. As mass production and modern materials began to replace the more traditional handmade plates, bowls, pots, and other assorted dinnerware, the warmth and natural feel of those items became less and less prominent in the average person’s home. You can see it today when you walk into almost any modern setting: cold, sanitary dinnerware, furnishings, and décor.

 

It’s as though we’ve driven nature from our lives to such an extent that we are now interfaced more with machines than with the environment in which we live. When we dine on plates that all look the same, and feel the same, and sound the same, there should be little wonder about why the very nature of the dining experience has been so sanitized in recent decades. There is no connection to life in those dining implements. There is no evidence of human imagination. There is only the cold sterility of the machine.

 

For a variety of reasons, there is a definite advantage to a return to the use of those homemade dinnerware products – and indeed, greater reliance on handcrafted items of every kind. With pottery, however, those advantages are often easier to immediately understand.

 

A great piece of artisan dinnerware is not just something you eat from; it is art. Few people ever look at a bland, machine-manufactured plate and think about the process used to make it. When you hold that handmade plate in your hand, however, you feel the texture and the weight and the energy of the artist who crafted it.

 

There’s also the timelessness aspect of it all. How many people do you know who have dinnerware heirlooms that were originally made by machines? Probably not many, right? In contrast, handmade plates, vases, pots, and the like are things that have a timeless appeal. They are decorative, functional, and meaningful enough in the life of any family to warrant saving from generation to generation. Handcrafted offers a form of permanence that mass-production does not.

 

Now, we’re not suggesting that you throw away all of your machine-made products and rush out to replace them with artisan pieces tomorrow. Obviously, that might be difficult for most people to manage even under the best of circumstances. However, there are so many benefits to incorporating handcrafted products into your life that it’s well worth the effort to at least being to make some of those changes. Just check out our Gaia Collection and you’ll see just how easy it can be to add the finest artisan dinnerware pieces to your home ensemble.

October 25, 2015

Why Handmade Home Decor Creates a Truly Unique Environment

When you’re thinking about ways to decorate your home, there are so many different options that the whole decision-making process can be overwhelming. Should you go with a more modern look – with that cold, Spartan look that is fashionable in many upscale neighborhoods? How about the type of soft, traditional decor favored by so many in Middle America? Then again, if you’re a traditionalist, then why not go for that more rustic ambiance that only handcrafted decorations can create?

 

Handmade pottery items – pots, plates, bowls, vases, and similar choices – are about as traditional as any décor can possibly get. The fact is that the crafting of pottery has been a key characteristic of human civilization since men and women first appeared on the planet. That’s why pottery remnants are discovered in the ruins of every previous society. Handcrafted dinnerware and other pottery items have always been a key part of life for most cultures.

 

Our modern society had departed from that tradition for a time. With the advent of new manufacturing techniques, increased wealth and buying power for consumers, and new types of raw materials, companies began to mass-produce those items. That use of new technologies all but extinguished the craft of pottery-making, as cheap replicas of those fine handmade items flooded store shelves. Thankfully, however, the art of making pottery survived.

 

These days, that art is making a strong comeback, as artisan potters have stepped up their efforts to produce the type of fine pottery items that today’s consumers demand. What does that mean for you? It means that you don’t have to scour antique shops or online portals to find items that were made a century ago. You can find the fine crafted pottery items you need, made by skilled modern hands!

 

For home décor, that resurgence in the art of pottery-making has been a tremendous boon. If there is one thing that has irked many homeowners more than any other, it has been the difficulty they face when they try to identify a unique theme for their home décor. Face it: manufactured dinnerware and decorations all come out looking the same. They lack that individual touch that each handcrafted item inherits from its maker.

 

When you want to design a truly unique interior, handcrafted pottery items are the ideal choice. Since they’re literally made by hand, they all come with the type of minor imperfections that ensure that they are anything but identical. Those differences are a key component for the creation of a truly rustic décor that will be unlike any other home.

 

At Gaia, our collection of handmade dinnerware and vases can be just the type of creative touch your home needs to give it that unique rustic feel you’re attempting to create. Best of all, the dinnerware products are suitable not only for decorations, but are made with such fine attention to detail that they will easily be the most impressive dining set you own. Visit us today and start planning your unique home décor!

October 23, 2015

The Timeless Art of Pottery Making: A Connection to The Past

If, like many millions of other people around the world, you continually find yourself drawn to fine pottery pieces, then you’re in good company, the fact is that pottery is an ancient craft that has always been a key characteristic of human societies. In fact, pottery can be considered the first material synthesized by man – thus marking it as one of humankind’s earliest inventions. More than that, though, it has been an art form that has fostered and served culture for thousands of years.

 

Your zeal for these handcrafted works is one that has been shared by billions of people throughout history. The evidence of that can be found at any archeological site, where pottery items of all kinds remain one of the most common artifacts archeologists recover in any dig. Often times, these ancient remains provide us with a large portion of what we know about those ancient societies.

 

Your affinity for handcrafted pottery is not merely a love for those natural products that have been made with human hands, but it’s also a connecting tether that unites you across the vastness of time with all those who came before us. There are actually few things that have that capacity for demonstrating the continuity of the species. The spoken language is a primary example, of course. So too is the construction of cities. Given its important role in most human societies over the course of history, pottery ranks among those aspects of human culture that mankind has carried with him to every corner of the globe.

 

Even the methods of craftsmanship used by today’s artisans would be familiar to human pottery makers who lived thousands of years ago. The kiln has been around in one form or another since those ancient times, having replaced open pit firing and other less heat-intensive techniques. Decorative art, engravings, and other techniques used by modern pottery craftsmen would also spark wry smiles from those ancient potters if they could somehow see how those skills have been passed down over the centuries.

 

There is something natural and almost primal about holing a handcrafted piece of pottery in your hand. And it doesn’t really matter what it is – a plate, a cup, a vase, or some delicate decoration; the end effect is the same. When we make human contact with things made by humans, there is a warmth and sense of tranquility that comes with that sensation. It is as if there is a connection between the craftsman and the user. It is as though the clay itself bonds those two people together in ways that reflect our shared humanity and the timeless continuity of our most basic tenets of culture.

 

That’s the sensation you experience when you hold in your hands a piece from our Gaia Collection. Each piece connects the artisan with the end user and at the same time connects both to a shared history that is larger than any of us. Pottery is, at its core, a uniquely human creation. Perhaps that, more than anything else, helps to explain your affection for those handmade dinnerware items - an affection that we share as well!

October 21, 2015

How Restaurants Have Sparked Consumer Desire for Handmade Dinnerware

Anyone who appreciates the beauty and rustic appeal of homemade pottery just has to be thrilled at the recent resurgence in its popularity.Handcrafted dinnerware is at the forefront of this renaissance, as more and more people are moving away from the sterile machine-made décor they’ve been saddled with for decades, and opting for more traditional earthenware options.And while there are many who deserve credit for helping to spark this renewal of interest in these traditional pieces, perhaps none deserve more acknowledgment than restaurateurs.

 

The last decade has seen a notable shift in dinnerware choices from many more upscale restaurants, as well as many of the eateries that most would consider to be in the mainstream of the dining industry. Where it was once almost universally common to see machine-made porcelain dishes adorn the tables of the finer restaurants, things have changed dramatically. Many of those restaurants have made the conscious decision to incorporate handmade dinnerware in an attempt to create a more rustic environment.

 

The change makes sense from virtually every perspective. Chefs seem to prefer plating onto handmade dishes, as the more earthen canvas presented by those pieces offers the opportunity for truly spectacular presentations. Face it: even the best food presentation is less than stellar on a plain white porcelain canvas. Moreover, the handmade option provides an even greater variety of dish styles, all in those soothing earth tones that diners associate with home.

 

That home-based feeling is important to customers. While most fine dining establishments have long sought to create an idyllic environment that offered something so different than the diners’ home that it created a truly unique experience, many are realizing that times have changed. When that ideal was established, the average person’s life was still centered on hearth and home. Those diners wanted something different than that home environment when they went out. Today’s busier schedules have changed that dynamic. Many of those diners now want that feeling of home when they dine out, because they seldom have the chance to dine that way at home.

 

As exciting as that is, the real renewal of interest in these pieces has come from customers who find their imaginations stoked from their experiences at these restaurants. Savvy consumers have searched the restaurant dinnerware for clues about the artist who designed the pieces. And yes, they can generally find the artisan information they’re seeking. That has helped many diners to contact these artisans and order their own handmade dinnerware sets for home.

 

It’s a trend that’s growing with each passing month, as more and more restaurants move from those monotonous porcelain collections to the more rustic handmade options. Obviously, it’s a trend that is beginning to spark and even broader revival of interest in pottery making as well – as new demand always requires artisans to step up and fulfill that need. With our Gaia Collection, we’re doing our part to keep the fires of this revival burning strongly as well. Check out our collection for yourself, and see for yourself the type of quality handmade dinnerware the best pottery artisans in the world are crafting these days!

October 19, 2015

Handmade Decor and the Union of Form and Function

 

In the universe of options for home décor, there is no style choice more unique in every way than the use of handcrafted pottery. The fact of the matter is that the modern age tendency to manufacture everything in factories that spew out one product after another, each one identical to and indistinguishable from the one before it, has created an unfortunate situation for many homeowners. They have few options when they are seeking a truly one-of-a-kind interior decoration theme.

 

No matter what manufactured style they select, they can rest assured that their décor selection is anything but unique. For each product they include in their design, there are thousands and thousands of identical items adorning other homes throughout the world. Manufacturing offers nothing unique except the unique sameness that comes from mass-producing items in factories. Obviously, it is futile to use common decoration items and still expect to achieve a totally unique interior design.

 

And as utterly commonplace as those themes can become, the effect is worsened when you consider that manufactured items typically have little fusion of form and function when it comes to decor. For example, when you purchase machine-crafted dinnerware, those pieces are generally designed either for use in the dining setting or for decorative purposes. Form and function never seem to come together in a way that makes a functional dinnerware piece suitable for display even when it is not in use.

 

Now consider handcrafted pottery items. Because they are each made by hand, and without the benefit of manufacturing molding processes or factory mass-production techniques, no two pieces ever come out exactly the same. Oh, sure – you can obtain whole sets that have similar shapes, design, and coloring. But when you examine those pieces with any degree of care, you’ll quickly learn that each is truly unique. Each has some difference from all the others.

 

That provides the uniqueness most people look for in any piece to consider it worthy of being displayed. And that’s the thing about handmade pottery” those plates, vases, cups, and bowls that you use for dining can be prominently displayed in the home as well. They’re not just functional as dinnerware, but also have the type of form that elevates them above mere dining tools into the more rarified heights of what can only be called art.

 

You can even take your handcrafted theme to the next level and incorporate other handmade pottery items into your décor. Flower pots, serving trays, and pitchers can all make wonderful additions to any rustic and earthy ambiance. Combined with your fine collection of artisan dinnerware, these other pottery pieces can provide the elements you need for any unified theme.

 

Our Gaia Collection can be a perfect place to start when you’re looking for quality artisan pottery that is made with the highest attention to detail. Our pottery artisans do more than just craft dinnerware; they create artistic pieces that will add just the type of rich ambiance your rustic décor needs.