Joey de Castro Pottery

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 stoneware 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, glazed, and smoothened to perfection, are used by one of Manila’s top restaurants and a slew of Japanese diners. 

Joey de Castro's stoneware are characterized by their warm hues and rich tones

Clay Avenue Zambales

Nature greatly inspires the one-of-a-kind pieces of Mia Casal. Moving her studio to Zambales has allowed 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.

Mia Casal's rustic, mismatched stoneware feature muted shades with sudden bursts of color

Cornerstone Pottery Farm

A seafood entree would look amazing on any of EJ and Eva Espiritu’s stoneware. There’s a lot of blue in them and when collectively observed, they form a beauteous image of a coral reef. 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.

There’s a lot of blue in Cornerstone Pottery Farm's stoneware and when collectively observed, they form a beauteous image of a coral reef

Lanelle Abueva-Fernando Studio Pottery

Lanelle Abueva-Fernando 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 a 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. Abueva-Fernando has also mastered matching pieces that are tailored to every client’s need.

Lanelle Abueva-Fernando's subtly colored stoneware promise art and function

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 direct representations 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.

Ugu Bigyan's stoneware are direct representations of earth

Originally published in F&B Report Vol. 15 No. 5