In her ceramics studio in picturesque Stratford, Ontario, artist Jennifer Graham creates home décor and lighting products from hand-molded clay. It is interesting to note that artisans have been shaping clay into building materials, sculpture, and art pieces for thousands of years, and the word “ceramic” actually comes from the Greek word for pottery.
Graham successfully brings this ancient art form into the twenty-first century with her creations.
The “Cylinder” series focuses on vases and votives of various heights, done in a black and white colour scheme. The pieces include gestural forms that are variants on the classic cylinder shape. The soft edges recall the pliable nature of clay before it is hardened, bringing energy and warmth to the now solid pieces.
The votive candleholders (as seen below) are particularly sweet and look almost unfinished with their raw edges. Graham uses textured fabric to press the delicate flower patterns into the surface of the ceramics.
Dipped vases in multiple heights are perfect for displaying flowers – the simple colours and gently curvy shapes are a soft and organic interpretation of the geometric cylinder that the collection is named for.
In the “Gravity” series, stacking monochromatic bowls are decorated with lines, floral patterns, and even polka dots, as in the “Footed Dot Bowl” (pictured below).
The entire collection of ceramic (art) pieces feels comfortable and intimate – these are not just pieces to be placed on a shelf and admired, but rather enjoyed, used, and lived with.
Graham also designs beautiful and unique ceramic chandeliers, floor lamps, and pendant lighting. The interplay between the layers of clay and the inner light source creates an ethereal glow. Below, the “Totem” lamps’ organic shape reminds me of a chrysalis.
The shell-like components of the “Strand Chandelier” hang off of a salvaged metal frame. The ceramic pieces are textured similarly to the votive candleholders from the "Cylinder" line.
The “Cylinder Lights” (pictured below) are some of the most gorgeous pendant lights that I have seen. The ceramic’s texture and slight translucency add a roughness and warmth to this fixture. You can tell that time and skill went into hand-creating this piece.
The familiar objects that we use and view on a day-to-day basis can truly elevate a house to a home. When these décor items are handmade like Jennifer Graham’s, a certain personality inhabits the pieces that can be lost in machine made goods.
Jennifer Graham Ceramics has created pieces that are not only touchable and functional, but can be viewed as beautiful art too!
To view (or purchase) items from this collection, visit Jennifer Graham Ceramics online!
Photos Courtesy of Jennifer Graham Ceramics.
Researched and Written by Leah Komishon, Faculty of Architecture, Environmental Design, University of Manitoba