In the (sled) dog days of winter, when snow blankets the earth and there’s not a bit of bloom to be found in the out-of-doors, we bring growing life inside in the form of fresh flowers, giving a jolt of color and vitality to our lives. Most of the time, however, the vessels that hold those blooms are static and lifeless — and, let’s face it, boring — subtracting from the cheer the blossoms provide.
But recently, a new crop of vases that celebrate the life they contain emerged, all designed by well-known artists or architects. For Helen Vaughan, a South African ceramicist and textile artist, the natural world has long served as the muse for her curvaceous pieces. “Nature is an endless source of inspiration, to be revisited time and time again,” she says. “Treasures of the windswept coast and offerings of our fertile soil are celebrated and reincarnated into designs for clay, cloth, paper, and metal.” Her latest collection, a series of black-and-white hourglass-shape vessels, was influenced “by the sensuality of fruits, pods, and eggs, as symbols of fertile earth,” she says.
Similarly, starkly beautiful sculptural vases by bold-faced names like Carlo Scarpa, Stephan Jaklitsch, and Thaddeus Wolfe complement brightly colored flora and recall natural forms. Varied in shape (and price point), these black-and-white pieces, though modern, embrace the natural as a reminder of the life that lies ahead.
Left: Helen Vaughan's nature-inspired ceramics are available at Amaridian, a New York-based showroom of sub-Saharan African art, decor, and furniture.