Leaf Tableware

Leaf Tableware by Sonya Ceramic Art

My leaf tableware collection is unique and each piece is individually handmade, using the impression from real leaves. You can even commission me to make pieces using your own chosen leaves by posting them to me. An extra feature is to have personal messages inscribed on the base of leaf tableware or vases for special occasions. I make plates, sharing platters, coasters candle holders and cake stands, anything is possible! All pieces are stoneware fired, therefore suitable for everyday use. Explore more about the making process below.

Foraging in Nature

One of my passions is strolling in the grounds of Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire and foraging for leaves. I’m also fortunate to have friends and relatives who are avid gardeners, owning shrubs which bear large and bountiful leaves. This means sourcing my leaves is both easy and a pleasure!

Making Process

My tableware collection is made using a stoneware clay with grog (sand) inclusions which can be fired to 1260 degrees making them durable for functional use.

Over time, I’ve formulated a glaze combination that works perfectly with copper oxide to produce a lovely natural green finish. When this is added on top this specific clay, iron speckles emerge which further enhance the rustic glaze finish.

Each piece is unique, as not only is the leaf impression one of a kind, the way the glaze develops in the kiln produces a unique finish.

Commission Me

I welcome commissions for whole dining sets made from various shaped leaves. I can make all sizes of plates, sharing platters, condiment dishes, coasters, tea light holders, really anything that you desire. If you would like to discuss your options further, please do not hesitate to contact me with your ideas.

Porcelain Leaf Jewellery

Ginkgo Leaf Pendant with Platinum Edges and Texture by Sonya Ceramic Art

My leaf jewellery collection is made using high firing porcelain, using the impression from real leaves. My most popular designs use Acer leaves and Ginkgo leaves. I can also make bespoke pieces from any leaves you post to me. This is particularly poignant for special occasions or garden lovers. The bespoke jewellery I make is fired 3 times and detailed with gold and platinum lustre, giving that extra special finishing touch. I am passionate about this collection, so please do read more below about my inspiration and making process.

Leaf Beauty & Commemoration

My Family planted eight Acer trees at Westonbirt Arboretum over 30 years ago in commemoration for my late Grandfather. So I visit often, appreciating the stunning colours that transform from greens to sunset reds. I then mimic these colours in my ceramic jewellery and tableware.

My Acer Japonica Trees

My father has also entrusted me with three of his prize Acer japonica trees in my garden. Today, these beautiful trees are the source of inspiration for many of the bespoke pieces of ceramic jewellery I create.

Making Process

I use high firing porcelain to produce my jewellery, meaning they are delicate, yet robust. Pieces are fired in three stages, firstly to 1020 degrees biscuit ware; then oxide and glaze is added with a second firing to 1255 degrees. Finally, platinum lustre is added to the edges and fired to 740 degrees.

Jewellery After Care

Each piece of jewellery I make is delicate in form, reflecting the true nature of the leaf. Porcelain is durable, but responds much like glass or Swarovski crystal jewellery. Therefore, I always recommend putting your jewellery on in a carpeted floor to prevent possible breakages.

Trace Back To Your Jewellery’s Origin

When you purchase a unique piece of jewellery from me, I feel it’s imortant you understand the authenticy of the piece. I therefore offer you the chance to trace your unique piece of jewellery ‘back to it’s roots‘. Here you can see where the leaf that helped create your pendant or earrings came from. I include a grid reference, photograph and links to visitor information for National Trust sites so you can even visit the tree itself.

Commissioned Jewellery

I welcome commissions and I love to make bespoke pieces for customers, so please contact me with your ideas and post me your favourite leaves to design from! Many customers send leaves to me when they are moving house and leaving special trees behind. I have even been asked to create Ivy leaf pendants for family members because their middle name is ‘Ivy’ – a lovely way to symbolise the generational connection in a family.

Ceramic Wall Art

Ceramic Wall Art Planters for Air Plants by Sonya Ceramic Art

My ceramic wall art collection is inspired by my love of air plants (Tillandsia). These amazing plants have no root system as such and feed from moisture in the air, occasionally needing a spray. When displayed in a room, they purify and condition the air that we breath, eliminating mild chemicals. So anything that housed such a unique plant, surely needed an equally unique container! Hopefully you will agree that these yet distinctive pieces do just that. Many of my leaf platters also look wonderful as wall art, so I often attach hooks so tableware has a dual purpose.

Contemporary Artisan

I’ve always been attracted to unusual things…why have the same as everyone else! So when I came to design my leaf wall art I decided to retain the natural beauty of leaves but also give the forms a contemporary twist.

Leaf Hammocks

My leaf hammocks are the perfect example of the contemporary twist. They are angled so the leaf appears to extend out of a wall and cleverly support an air plant so it can nestle inside. They look particularly striking in pairs or trios in any home or office interior.

Lily Leaf Wall Planters

Some people prefer something a little more traditional, yet artisan. My lily leaf planters satisfy this perfectly. A carefully selected leaf impression is folded into a calla lily shape, perfect for housing air plants, succulents or cacti. The shape is aesthetically pleasign to the eye and once again these wall planters look lovely as a single signature piece, or in pairs and trios.

Leaf Plaques

Many of my customers choose to hang my leaf platters or plates on their walls, as they happen to make attractive decorative wall art as well as being functional. Consequently, I have designed some plaques with this in mind – purely for decorative use. This is my most recent design in the collection.

Mixed Clay & Porcelain Vases

Porcelain Vase Collections 'Leaf Transitions' by Sonya Ceramic Art

My ceramics degree saw me produce sculptural vessels inspired by landscape and the work of Ewen Henderson. This links beautifully with my leaf inspired ceramics, so I now blend the two modalities creating porcelain and mixed clay vessels. Each piece is thrown on the potter’s wheel with higher handbuilt layers. These layers incorporate leaf impressions, sgraffito marks and some japanese painting techniques with lustres. Each vessel has it’s own unique personality, not one design being the same. Watch this space for a new line of vessels based on skeleton leaves.

Throwing on the Potter’s Wheel

I love throwing on the potter’s wheel because yes, it is a challenge to control the clay, but equally, it offers an opportunity to be more spontaneous. I often consciously throw off centre as this gives a wonderfully organic energy to the form. As we know, nature has order – but it also has flow!

Mixing Clay Bodies

Since my degree days, I have enjoyed layering different clay bodies during the throwing process. This produces a varying texture and creates undulated layers, often with fissures – much like we would see in the geology of rock and soil. This can of course mean some fine cracks appear where different clays meet. This is because they dry at different rates and shrink at different rates in the kiln. The way clays react together brings authenticy to my work, an appreciation of the ‘imperfect’. Often there is much beauty in the unexpected, fragile forms that appear.

Function Versus Ornamental

Because of the fissures that I encourage in my work, some vessels will not be 100% water tight. Instead, they are meant as sculptural pieces and in fact work successfully as ornamental or decorative pieces in the home without the need of flowers. Having said that, dried flowers, willow and honesty can look wonderful displayed in them.

Commission Me

If however, you would prefer a fully functional vessel (that will hold water for flower arrangements), I can adjust the clays I use so they weld together more seamlessley. Various sizes are available and I am always happy to take commissions so please contact me to discuss your ideas – I love a challenge!