Rich, warm hues and nature’s colors characterize the works of potter Joey de Castro. A renegade for choosing to keep his studio in Manila while his contemporaries have all moved out of the city, de Castro creates pieces that are nothing less of being art pieces. They’re filled with character—speckled and accentuated by swooshes in all the right places. His pieces, wood-fired and glazed and smoothened to perfection, are used by one of Manila’s top restaurants and a slew of Japanese diners.
CLAY AVE POTTERY STUDIO
Nature greatly inspires the one-of-a-kind pieces of Mia Casal. Moving her studio to Zambales has moved the artisan to take inspiration from her everyday environment. Her rustic, mismatched pieces feature muted shades with sudden bursts of color: the green from the fields, the blues from the nearby beach. And just like the unpredictability of nature, they can be as whimsical, too. The wares strike a balance between grit and precision, making them a regular among cafes and Manila’s top omakase spot.
CORNERSTONE POTTERY FARM
A seafood entree would look amazing on any of EJ and Eva Espiritu’s pieces. There’s a lot of blue in them, and when collectively observed, they form a beauteous image of a coral reef. Actually, any dish would transform into a masterpiece when transposed on a Cornerstone ceramic. The couple’s studio in Silang, Cavite is awash with gallery-grade pieces that range from matte and delicate to mismatched and unfinished with crumpled edges. Many of these pieces have also found a home in a Spanish outlet down south of the metro.
LANELLE ABUEVA-FERNANDO STUDIO POTTERY
Lanelle has been in the stoneware business for over 20 years, and her experience has gained her a loyal clientele ranging from Asia’s best female chefs to the locally developed katsu restaurant. Her subtly colored pieces promise art and function, as each is lead free, non-toxic, and oven-safe. There is an undeniable sleekness and smoothness in all of the pieces, whether patterned or simply adorned with clean lines. Lanelle has also mastered matching pieces that are tailored to every client’s need.
UGU BIGYAN’S POTTERY GARDEN
Nature inspires Quezon province-based Ugu Bigyan just as much as his fellow artisans, but it is in his works that it is most obvious. His pieces are a direct representation of earth—from muted colors of greens, blues, and browns to the deliberate use of leaves and twigs in his designs. The wares are thick and heavy and almost always with a matte finish, making them the vessels of choice for a couple of local Thai restaurants.
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