Meet 3 Ceramicists Shifting Perspectives on Pottery

Mérida Anderson, YYY Collection

Teapot, cup, and coil by YYY Collection.

For Mérida Anderson, whose grandparents were potters, ceramics was a life force that couldn’t be stopped—the medium simply pulled at the 34-year-old Montrealer’s heart-strings. “I told myself I would get into ceramics when I was retired, because I knew it would consume my whole life, and it did.” Anderson started out in 2011, learning and evolving their techniques while doing a work-trade program at Choplet Ceramic Studio in Brooklyn, NY. Now, their work is sold across North America under the moniker YYY Collection. A focus on strong lines defines the collections, which are punctuated by unexpected colourways of peach, emerald green, and royal blue. “I think about colour all the time,” says Anderson. “When the design is so simple in form, it’s all about the finishes.” Though hand-dipped, these ultra-modern mugs, vases, and objects have a flawless quality that fools the eye until closer inspection reveals an artful imperfection—a glaze line or size differentiation. “It’s gotten me into trouble. Sometimes people don’t think it’s handmade,” Anderson says of their pieces, which possess a beautiful clarity, yet feel lighthearted and fun—something that makes them stand out. These days, Anderson is turning their creative energy toward lighting, more intricate designs, and new glazes, sure to resonate with a love of the craft.

Cody Hoyt

Ceramic vessels by Cody Hoyt.

Amidst the swirls and geometric trompe l’oeil of Cody Hoyt’s ceramic pieces is the craft of pottery itself. The handiwork and labour involved are embedded in each piece, as the arresting patterns and compositions of Hoyt’s works are informed by the very act of making them. “I want full control over the process,” he says. “In pottery, there is the idea that the kiln is the be-all and end-all, that the last thing you do is fire it, but I don’t want to just throw my work into the black box, say a Hail Mary, and hope for the best.” Hoyt, a Florida native who now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, pulls his pieces from the flames, cuts them open, dissects their development, and puts them back together in differing ways. “It opens up possibilities. I never want to be bossed around by the craft or the material,” he says. “The idea is to be as creative as possible with the least amount of hindrance.” Angular and geometric, the resulting panels, vases, and vessels speak to a modern way of approaching craft—not adhering to the status quo, but defining how it can work for the artist and, in turn, the end user. Hoyt is represented by Patrick Parrish gallery in New York.

Forrest Lewinger, Workaday Handmade

Bone cups by Workaday Handmade.

Maker culture and the appreciation of handmade goods have been on the upswing over the past decade, allowing ceramics to connect with a newfound audience that’s design-savvy and informed. With beautiful, tactile, functional, and unique pieces in high demand, a studio like Workaday Handmade out of Brooklyn, NY, shines and delivers. Founder and creator Forrest Lewinger hand-throws mugs, vases, tables, lamps, and vessels with a satisfying heft and a pleasing palette. Some are pared back and au natural, while others gleam with a customized glaze or gold finish. Lewinger started out as a potter for a high-end ceramics company, later going out onhis own after realizing both his passion for the material and a market for his work. With a focus on “rigorous craftsman-ship, singular design and playful, surprising details,” the studio has opened up its oeuvre to include a breadth of looks and products with far-reaching appeal, each more expressive than the last. Lewinger seeks to make the banal and quotidian into something special—and there’s truly nothing more luxurious than a beautiful mug, plate, or planter that you love and use every day. Workaday Handmade makes custom pieces on commission, and is sold at boutiques throughout North America, Asia, and Europe.