7 Ceramicists You’re About To See Everywhere

Meet the freshmen class from this year’s Mugs52 collab.

November  5, 2021
Photo by Ty Mecham

As professional homebodies and amateur makers, we don't think there are many hard-and-fast design and decor rules to follow. Well, except one—you can never have too many mugs. Whether their appeal lies in a fun memory with your favorite person or a beautiful design, there’s something to be said for a cabinet full of well-loved pieces. That’s why, for the fourth year in a row, we’ve asked 52 pottery studios around the country to create a limited-edition batch of handmade mugs.

Seven are new to the crew this year, others have been part of Mugs52 for a while. But one thing that stays constant is that the mugs represent each studio's ethos, and the collection features pieces with all different types of techniques, forms, glazes, and colors with the same end goal—heirloom-worthy pieces from small businesses and creatives who make the world—and our morning routines—a little bit more beautiful.

All 52 designs launch on Monday, November 8 for $45 each, so you can grab one for yourself and for your favorite person. In the meantime, we chatted with the seven new ceramicists joining our Mugs52 family who are on track to become household names by this time next year—if not, sooner.

Taylor Suchy of Carved Color Ceramics

The Maker: Taylor Suchy
Her Studio: Carved Color Ceramics in Orange County, California
Her Instagram: @CarvedColor

With an aesthetic based in bold hues and graphic shapes, Taylor Suchy creates mugs, cups, vases, and more that bring an energetic pop of personality to every corner of the home. She relies on her background in graphic design to inform her modern vibe and is a huge fan of clean lines and balance. “Just because the lines are clean doesn't mean they have to be straight,” says Suchy, who explored that very notion with her mug—a vibrant white mug that features playful squiggles in teal, orange, blush, and mustard.

What is the home decor product you can't live without?
I am in love with my Pond Mirror from Ferm Living. It's such a unique shape and every time I look at it, it makes me smile. Why get a normal mirror when you can get a funky one?

What's your go-to treat for the 3 p.m. slump?
My all-time favorite sweet is Terry's Chocolate Orange. I know that's very specific, but sometimes I feel like I didn't choose the orange, it chose me.

Who is your favorite Instagram follow and why?
Hands down it's gotta be @floretflower! It's a woman-run flower farm in Washington's Skagit Valley that’s focused on getting more flowers out into the world and educating people on how to do it. You've been warned—once you start, there's no stopping.

Joanne Lee of Sunday Studio

The Maker: Joanne Lee
Her Studio: Sunday Studio in Brooklyn, New York
Her Instagram: @jleehello

Don’t be fooled by Joanne Lee’s quiet and unfussy aesthetic—each item packs enough thoughtful consideration into a small vessel to be regarded as heirloom-worthy pieces of art. With a respect for minimalism and focus on function, each wheel-thrown piece feels straight out of the cupboard of your chicest friend’s home—which is exactly the type of approachable beauty Lee is after. “During the pandemic, I really started leaning into more organic sculptural forms and letting imperfections live,” she says. “At the heart of my work is the desire to make something that I hope you think is nice, too.” Her piece for the Mugs52 collection can only be described as extremely nice, featuring a unique knob handle, speckled white glaze, and an unglazed base that marries rustic appeal with timeless aesthetics.

What was your best pandemic purchase?
After 20 years of using a cheap set of super-dull knives, I finally upgraded to a beautiful grown-up set from Material Kitchen that changed my life. I also got a combo air fryer/toaster oven that I use almost exclusively for all of my non-stove cooking/heating needs.

What piece have you been proudest of throughout your career?
I made my first ever hand-built vase last year and it kind of reminded me of a duck. It was made from recycled mystery clay with a glaze I'd never used before, so it was quite a pleasant surprise.

What spot is up next on your travel bucket list?
I'd love to go to India and Greece next, but that would be a longer trip that would need a bit of planning. I did just book a trip to Paris and Berlin for Thanksgiving week to visit some friends, my first trip outside of the U.S. since 2019!

Whitney Simpkins of Personal Best Ceramics

The Maker: Whitney Simpkins
Her Studio: Personal Best Ceramics in Baltimore, Maryland
Her Instagram: @personalbestceramics

For Whitney Simpkins, inspiration can be found in the most everyday moments, like the way you pour your coffee or the spot where you sip your evening tea. “I make mostly functional pieces, so I’m very inspired by the way people use or appreciate ceramics in their daily lives,” she says. That doesn’t mean she sacrifices beauty at the altar of functionality, though—rather, the two find a happy harmony in her work, which includes everything from everyday dishware and occasion pieces to pearlescent vases just awaiting garden blooms. A former painter, Simpkins also pays close attention to trendy colors, so it’s no surprise that her mug utilizes of-the-moment pastels to bring dimension and personality to oversized stoneware.

What songs or artists help get you to get in a creative headspace?
I listen to a lot of Blood Orange in the studio while working. Dev Hynes has such an amazing catalog.

What's your go-to treat for the 3 p.m. slump?
A local bakery makes these crispy rice squares with dried edible flowers and sea salt. The colors, the flavors, the shape—it’s a little sculpture you can eat.

What's your go-to holiday gift?
I try to tailor my gifts to the recipient, but when I’m out of ideas, a big batch of caramels usually does the trick.

Marian Bull of Marian Bull Ceramics

The Maker: Marian Bull
Her Studio: Marian Bull Ceramics in Brooklyn, NY
Her Instagram: @mariantoro

Ceramicist and columnist Marian Bull’s motto? More is more is more. “I like things that are a little silly and a little messy,” she says of her funky-fresh outlook on handmade ceramics. “I prefer a process where I can layer color, texture, and motifs on top of each other.” Her considered pieces inspire creativity and imagination, with bold hues and an unapologetically maximalist attitude—some statement makers are even covered with beads reminiscent of a summer camp project gone very right. Here, Bull infused a classic diner mug shape with a New York City edge, washing the exterior in a blend of neutral-but-better glazes to create an effect somewhat evocative of a tortoiseshell.

What piece have you been proudest of throughout your career?
I really like this clock I made for myself a few years ago (and now stock), especially because now I can sit in my apartment and know what time it is.

What was your best pandemic purchase?
Last spring, I bought a used copy of Caroline Blackwood’s excellent novel Great Granny Webster from my favorite online bookstore. Honor Moore’s introduction offered up my new favorite bit of literary history: After Lady Blackwood separated from her third husband, poet Robert Lowell, he returned to New York to live with his previous wife, writer Elizabeth Hardwick, whom he had divorced after getting Blackwood pregnant. In the cab from the airport to Hardwick’s apartment, Lowell died of congestive heart failure while clutching a portrait of Blackwood painted by her first husband, Lucien Freud.

What's your favorite form of self-care?
Every time I wake up foggy from a nap, I like to eat a little bit of ice cream, preferably Håagen-Dazs Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. It’s sweet, it’s cold, it’s a gentler wake-up agent than caffeine, and it makes you happy to be awake.

Melissa Chin of Grey Remedy Ceramics

The Maker: Melissa Chin
Her Studio: Grey Remedy Ceramics in Chicago, Illinois
Her Instagram: @greyremedyco

Like her studio name suggests, Melissa Chin’s work is all about exploring form and function in a timeless black, white, and grey palette. “I love to create pieces that are minimalist yet visually striking with clean lines and unique proportions,” she explains. “I prefer to use a simple color palette, mostly black and white, so that my work fits into any setting.” Still, simple doesn’t have to mean basic—and it definitely doesn’t to Chin. Her work is nuanced and expressive with a distinct handmade feel that lends a feeling of history to each piece. For her mug, Chin combined a matte inky-black glaze with a form unique in its subtleties—slightly squat, slightly angular, and oh-so-cool. “My goal is to create functional objects that also act as statement pieces,” she explains. Mission achieved.

What artists or songs help you to get into a creative headspace?
My favorite album to listen to in the studio is Lianne La Havas’ "Is Your Love Big Enough?." I find that I create my best work when I take things slow and her music creates easy, cozy vibes that keep me focused and relaxed.

What is your favorite form of self-care?
After a long day at the wheel, nothing beats a hot bubble bath complete with candles, wine, and "Law & Order: SVU".

Who is your favorite Instagram follow and why?
I could look at @alicegao’s and @heyfranhey’s Instagram stories all day. Alice has a dreamy aesthetic that makes common objects look like art, and Fran’s stories are full of inspirational reminders to practice gratitude and prioritize personal growth and joy.

Jennifer Waverek, Gustav Hamilton, Sarah Allwine of BKLYN CLAY| Made

The Makers: Jennifer Waverek, Gustav Hamilton, Sarah Allwine
Their Studio: BKLYN CLAY| Made
Their Instagram: @bklynclaymade

There are dream teams, and then there’s the BKLYN CLAY team of Jennifer Waverek, Gustav Hamilton, and Sarah Allwine. The artisan collective from New York City focuses on designing thoughtful and unique ceramics while simultaneously hosting classes in their Brooklyn studio. Their pieces are classic with a twist—think utilitarian shapes with just enough edge to keep things interesting and one of a kind. From everyday dishware to special collabs, they put care and a signature Brooklyn edge into every piece of homeware they construct. Here, the trio of ceramicists crafted a mug with a generous base that’s “safe to set on your mattress while you’re still half asleep.” (They get us.) The deliciously saturated blue glaze features just a hit of speckle for a vibe reminiscent of a classic enamel campfire mug.

What songs or artists help get you to get in a creative headspace?
"Can’t Turn Back the Years" by Phil Collins has our award for greatest song of all time. The backstage version of "Wild Heart" by Stevie Nicks is a close second, but it’s hard to do much work with tears welling up in our eyes.

What's your go-to treat for the 3 p.m. slump?
Candy. Often sour gummies or sometimes chocolate (preferably pretzel or peanut butter M&Ms). It’s also our treat to get through the high noon slump and the 5 p.m. slump—pretty much any slump we find ourselves in.

Who is your favorite Instagram to follow?
@Weedcraft2.0 shares tons of great ceramics and pretty much nothing else.

Dubhe Carreño of This Quiet Dust Ceramics

The Maker: Dubhe Carreño
Her Studio: This Quiet Dust Ceramics in Lake Forest, Illinois
Her Instagram: @dubhecarreno

Ceramicist Dubhe Carreño has inspirations, sure, but she relies most heavily on her materials to show her the way. “I create handmade porcelain dinnerware with a minimalist aesthetic and am always inspired by clay's ability to respond to my every interaction with it,” she says. With a creative approach driven by an appreciation for nature’s beauty and simplicity, Carreño infuses each piece with considered restraint, stopping short of overworking any one piece or form so that her collections feel timeless and approachable. For her mug, Carreño created a bulbous yet petite cup form, awash in an eye-catching ochre glaze not unlike the vibrant foliage of fall. “I’m inspired by nature's essence and how it always offers beauty effortlessly to every single moment. That's my intention as an artist with every object I make—offer a moment of beauty where your senses are engaged as you hold a warm cup of tea, set your dinner table, or arrange vegetables in a bowl.”

What is your favorite form of self-care?
Getting up at 4:30 a.m. and starting my day with a yoga practice.

Who is your favorite Instagram follow?
Sheil Shukla at @plantbasedartist. I follow a vegan lifestyle and love Indian food! One of my hobbies is finding and cooking new vegan recipes, and he always posts the most amazing Indian plant-based recipes that are so beautiful and delicious.

What spot is up next on your travel bucket list?
I would love to travel to the Philippines. My partner is from there, and we want our two sons to know the place where they're from and experience the culture now that they are older (9 and 7 years old).

Which ceramicist is speaking to your soul? Let us know below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Erin
  • Elizabeth Weigand
    Elizabeth Weigand
  • jgazurian
Writer, Editor and Stylist


Erin November 12, 2021 is another for ceramicist appreciators to check out! true sweetie out of Knoxville, TN making hand painted mugs and tumblers <3
Elizabeth W. November 12, 2021
Thanks for showing how the vision of a creative person lets them take a lump of clay and turn it into functional art! Pottery lovers should also check out - an artistic couple creating unique pieces out in Colorado!
Erin November 12, 2021
Hah, came here to say this!!! Lovely people making lovely vessels at See Saw Ceramics <3 minimalist? but so striking and colorful it's hard to say that!
jgazurian November 7, 2021
Every one of those mugs but one has an absolutely wretched rim, useless for bringing to your lips and drinking, especially the one with a squared rim. Really!! Who would want to put their mouth around something like that? All the handles but one are useless for holding. A cylindrical handle gives you nothing of substance to grip, no way to stabilize your hold. And every one of them looks like they came from a production line.