Words by Jennine Jacob
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and you love ceramics, chances are that you look forward to the biannual mega craft fair known as West Coast Craft. Filled to the brim with a highly curated array of artisans, artists, and delicious food, this fair is a must-see for anyone interested handmade goods. The striking thing about WCC is the number of incredible ceramicists that regularly show their wares there. It has become the place to scout up-and-coming talent as well as some of the more established potters on the West Coast.
Here we talk with WCC’s Co-Founder and Creative Director, Paulina Nassar, about how she chooses which ceramicists to showcase as well as the trends she’s seeing evolve this year. She also talks about her own private collection!
GLAZE: About how many ceramicists apply to West Coast Craft?
PAULINA NASSAR: Anywhere between 100 and 150. It’s a popular category!
G: What do you look for in the ceramicists you accept?
PN: Because we do see a lot of ceramics applications, we are generally looking for 3 things: the person who is making staple pieces in a home (tableware, vases, etc.), very well. Then we are looking for those artists who are taking a particular trend and are putting their own spin on it, making it feel exciting and new. And lastly, we are looking for those artists who are doing something we haven’t seen. From creating ceramic sculptures or using a glaze in a new way, these applications are always particularly exciting.
G: Are there any exciting trends that you see developing in the last year? If so, what are they?
PN: We’re seeing a lot more color in ceramics this past year, which I love! I’ll take colorful and cheerful any day of the week! The more minimalist, neutral trend is still going strong, but I think in general, people are wanting to add those pops of color to their homes and collections. We are also seeing a lot of ceramicists start to add pipes and bongs to their offerings, which is increasing as more and more states here legalize marijuana. They are beautiful and tasteful — not at all things to hide or tuck away.
G: Who are the ceramicists we should keep an eye on?
PN: For rad “stonerware”, I love Summerland Ceramics, Miwak Junior, and Shelby Rosabal. For those household staples, MM Clay and Luvhaus are favorites and are constantly creating timeless pieces. IIIVVVYYY, The Great Escape Studio, and Lucy Michel are creating work that is both functional and beautiful. For more sculptural pieces, I’ve been a longtime fan of Rami Kim‘s work, and also love Jen King‘s pieces. When it comes to color, Pauline Wolstencraft, Jen Kuroki, Zena Segre, and Pawena Studio are all doing fantastic work.
G: Do you have a personal ceramics collection?
PN: What is in it? I do! It’s a mix of pieces inherited from my grandparents who traveled quite and bit and enjoyed collecting ceramic items (like Brena Oaxacan pottery from their travels to Mexico), and pieces I’ve picked up from each WCC. I try to find something a little different at each show: a pipe from Miwak Junior, an egg cup from Eleonor Bostrom, a Rami Kim hanging planter, mugs from Atelier Dion and BTW Ceramics. I recently acquired a pitcher from Sarah Koik whose work I am obsessed with. I’m looking forward to adding more of her pieces to our collection!
GALLERY: Hover on image for the artist’s name.