Our 8 Days of Creativity series highlights the Jewish creators you should know about all year long.
Functionality aside, ceramics serve as eye-catching decor when it comes to the home. There's just something about a handcrafted mug that screams cozy, or a homemade pot that adds a little extra charm to your kitchen. When it comes to upgrading your collection, we think it's essential to directly support the artists creating these beautiful objects.
Just in time for Hanukkah, these Jewish ceramicists have perfected their craft and intertwined their Jewish heritage with design. Some artists hone in more on Judaica, while others generate housewares, but they all bring something alluring to the table — and you're going to want to bookmark their shops ASAP.
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1. Rachael Scharf
Rachael Scharf works out of a studio in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, crafting gracefully made, high-functioning pieces on the potters wheel. From berry bowl dishes to ceramic menorahs, Scharf intends for the pieces to be used and enjoyed.
"My friend recently shared a photo of some of my pieces in her kitchen cabinet, which is all I hope for when making ceramics," Scharf tells Hunker. "It means so much to me that my pottery can be a little spark of joy during someone's daily routine. It's also so meaningful to me when people choose to incorporate my Judaica into their holiday celebrations. These are the objects I grew up using, and it's really special to see my version of them become a part of other people's traditions."
You can explore Scharf 's collection here.
2. Jennifer Wankoff
Jennifer Wankoff's work is deeply inspired by Judaic themes and Israel. The potter began her career after joining a program in Israel in which pottery technique was taught, but also woven with Hebrew, Israeli, and Jewish traditions. Wankoff's art — both throwing on the wheel and hand building — is a a reflection of Jewish culture, honoring the beauty of both Judaica and secular pottery.
"I hope that my pottery brings beauty and intention to people's rituals, whether they are lighting my shabbat candles each week, celebrating Rosh Hashanah with honey in my honey pot, lighting the chanukiah on Hanukkah, or simply enjoying a daily cup of coffee with one of my mugs," shares Wankoff.
Browse Wankoff's work here.
3. Helen Levi
Helen Levi is a born-and-raised New Yorker, currently working out of a studio in Ridgewood, Queens. The ceramicist's work is functional with the exploration of patterns and marbling in small batches. Most recently, Levi launched a tile line after four years of work in collaboration with Ceramica Suro in Guadalajara, Mexico.
"It brings me a lot of joy to know people are reaching for my mug in their cupboard, and using something I made as part of their morning routine," says Levi.
Aside from monthly open studio sales, you can check out Levi's work here.
4. Gidi Zivan
Gidi Zivan has been a potter for over 30 years and currently resides in central Israel in a rural area called Sde Yitzhak, about an hour and a half from Tel Aviv. His art focuses on practicality, as many of the pieces can be used daily around the home, but the potter also likes to keep things colorful and visually appealing.
"I love clay," says Zivan. "It's not a job — it's a way of life. It's an opportunity to see the happiness in the eyes of a stranger who bought an item I made, and that's the true happiness in my life."
Shop Zivan's work here.
5. Ariela Nomi Kuh
Ariela Nomi Kuh has been working with clay since 2009, but has been creating for as long as they can remember. With a studio in Camden, Maine, Kuh's ceramics are both built by hand and on the wheel, with a focus on tableware and Judaica.
"I absolutely love making menorahs," explains Kuh. "Each one is one of a kind. My family is Jewish and though I am not religious, my Jewish identity is important to me and I am so happy to be able to bring this part of myself and my story to my work."
Check out Kuh's work here.