Minimalism Art Deco Defines Amy Hamley Ceramics

The East Bay transplant with a talent for porcelain dishes, serving ware, and planters makes the ceramics functional and pretty.


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Photo by Janelle Bendycki

Minimal with a touch of art deco, the tabletop and garden collection by Amy Hamley Ceramics features elegant, handmade pieces designed to be both functional and beautiful. For example, the best-selling planters (both hanging and standing) aren’t considered complete unless they include greenery. The starburst stash jars are designed to house herbs and spices, jewelry — or even your favorite bud. The dishes and serving bowls are meant for everyday use, not just when company comes over. The entire collection is available in a carefully selected palette inspired by the desert landscape of Palm Springs — white, blush, black, and speckle that is accented with 22-karat gold art deco patterns.

The artist behind the work is originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., and moved to the East Bay three years ago with her husband and their doted-upon Shih Tzu. “I’ve always been intrigued by the West and wanted to live here since I was a kid,” Hamley explained. She first worked in a shared maker space in North Oakland but recently moved to a larger studio in Berkeley, only a 15-minute walk from home. The move to California also introduced Hamley to the longstanding ceramics and clay community in Berkeley, anchored by the art department at UC Berkeley and outlets like the Potters’ Studio.

In Pittsburgh, Hamley built a successful ceramics business but became overwhelmed and eventually burned-out by the burden of answering to over 200 wholesalers. “I’m working smarter in California,” she admits. The transition to the West Coast resulted in a new, more modern style and a more viable business model where she can focus more on product development and design. In the past year Hamley has forged a collaboration with Magenta, a Berkeley home décor and ceramics manufacturer, where her new Palm Desert collection of tabletop and garden items will be unveiled in July. 

The freedom to focus on new work is her ultimate goal. “I’d love to experiment and find the perfect white glaze,” the hardworking artist explains. “And have time for some self-care.”

Find Amy Hamley Ceramics online at AmyHamley.com or at Crimson in Temescal.

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