Restaurants across the country are in various states of re-opening, but most of us are still spending a lot of time in the kitchen, MICHELIN inspectors and chefs included. Whether you’re cooking at home or getting take-away or delivery from a MICHELIN-recommended restaurant, elevate your meals (and snacks and coffee) with handmade ceramics from artists in and around four of MICHELIN’s North American cities—New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Don't forget to share your plating online with the hashtag #MichelinGuideAtHome.
In her backyard studio in the foothills of the Angeles National Forest in northern LA, Angela Chvarak makes planters, bowls, mugs, and tumblers in clean, simple shapes painted in vibrant colors . Chvarak honed her craft at Clemson, where she majored in painting and ceramics. She and her photographer husband love the outdoors, road tripping and camping through the West and Southwest, and Chvarak draws her inspiration from nature, landscapes, and the beautiful colors of plants and flowers. The pieces are categorically California: a beautiful sunset, abstract forms like fruit, brushstrokes in ocean shades of blue. Her favorite pieces to make are mugs because it combines handbuilding and throwing on the pottery wheel. Chvarak says, “I love looking at objects and art with lots of color which makes me feel alive, at peace, and happy, and that's what I hope my pots do for people who use them.”
Camille Beckles — Camille at the WheelNew York
Beckles says her collection of bowls, plates, cups, planters, and vases has a “bent towards beautiful utility,” ideal for heavy rotation in the kitchen. Her dishware has a warm, homey look; the bowls beg to be filled with a tower of fruit or pasta and the mugs with tea and coffee. Beckles sees ceramics “as a chance to make something out of nothing” and takes a focused but not too intense approach to her craft, saying “At the end of the day, it’s just mud, after all.” When she’s not molding and throwing in her Queens studio space, Beckles works as the senior program manager at Center for Policing Equity, which collects data to help law enforcement agencies work better with their communities.
Ekua Ceramics ‑ Sara Ekua ToddLos Angeles
Growing up in the Belgian countryside with a German chef mother and a Ghanaian musician father, Sara Todd’s house was “always full of energy and creativity.” She went to an art high school in Liege and studied videography and photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Liege and then in Antwerp years later. When it comes to ceramics she’s self-taught, her practice starting five years ago at Long Beach studio Clay on First. Todd is always inspired by music, nature, and sea creatures. She finds throwing simple cups with straight lines to be the most satisfying, and plates and vases with narrow lips the most difficult, saying, “Plates just take so much strength; I’m truly exhausted after.” Mug handles can also be tricky; from hers, she likes to drink coffee, usually black, and sencha and buckwheat tea.
Melissa J. Chin — Grey Remedy
In Pilsen ceramicist Melissa J. Chin’s Grey Remedy, her collection of bowls and mugs are elegantly minimalist: low profile, clean lines, in chic black, bright white, or cherry-blossom pink. For Chin, pottery began in January 2016 as a hobby; she majored in international relations at Brown, then completed a Master’s at Cambridge before working in international education. In 2017 she made the jump from hobbyist to practicing artist, starting her ceramics business, Grey Remedy.
*Current inventory may be sold out, but Chin is currently creating new pieces for a re-stock soon.
Ricky Kwong — Bowl Cut Ceramics
Ricky Kwong went to school for graphic design but has been doing some kind of art his entire life. He never worked with clay until four years ago, when he walked past Russian Hill school Clay by the Bay, where he now has his studio. When designing his line Bowl Cut Ceramics, Kwong went for functional pieces, saying, “I like to think about what will feel good in your hands and make you smile, so I start with function/use first, and then add a whimsical touch to it.” He drinks black coffee from his mugs every morning but says uniform mugs are definitely the hardest thing to make, since anything made by hand will never be exactly the same.
Sarah Hussaini — Not Work Related
Not having access to her studio earlier this year didn’t stop Sarah Hussaini from working on her ceramics line Not Work Related. The Brooklynite lugged home everything she could and set up in her tiny bathroom, where she threw, trimmed, and glazed for four months, releasing a Bathroom Edition collection at the end to commemorate the experience. Hussaini did some ceramics work in high school, but it was after she got her master’s in architecture from Columbia that she says she felt “restless, creatively unsatisfied, [and] really disconnected from the process of making.” Starting Not Work Related brought her “that tactile control” she was seeking. Her bright, punchy mugs, cups, and planters are inspired by artists like Josef Albers, Sol Lewitt, and Karel Martens, Ettore Sottsass and Memphis Group and others of that period. Her favorite thing to make are the shape mugs and planters, for which she uses 3-D printed stencils; the most difficult are her hand painted striped pieces. Hussaini uses her mugs for milk and cookies at the end of the day.
*Current inventory may be sold out, but Hussaini is planning a re-stock at the end of the month!
Hero Image: Angela Chvarak's Golden Hour Rainbow Tumblers © Nikolaus Jung.