Ceramics were the world's first handicraft and, like many of humankind's greatest accomplishments, sprung from pure necessity. When the formerly nomadic Neolithic people of the Middle East and Africa began to plant roots and become farmers, they needed a way to carry water from its source to their crops. The solution was to line their woven baskets with the clay they found along rivers and streams. When the clay dried, it hardened and pulled from the basket sides, creating a sturdy pot-shaped vessel. These early farmers soon discovered that firing these pieces in hot ash made them even more durable, thus ceramics were born.
Though ceramics as decorative pieces have also been around for thousands of years, their most notable contribution to history and society has long been one of utility - for cooking, holding, carrying, storing, and building. Ceramics, therefore, can be serious business... but it's when fun meets functional that the real beauty of this ancient art form comes into focus.
Barruntando, based in Avilés, Spain, was founded by a group of women brought together by their common love of ceramics, with the goal to make useful pieces with a twist. Their quirky, carefree designs have that distinct handmade quality - beautiful, but not perfect, with just the right amount of rustic. Looking for a baby sloth to hold your yarn? Got it. A bowl shaped like a platypus? Check. A cloud spoon rest? Done. If you can dream it, Barruntando's made it.
What's more adorable than two polar bears just hanging out in their favorite sweaters? Nothing. The answer is nothing.
I wish I knew more people who knitted so I could give this to them. It's a baby sloth and he's holding your yarn. Polite!
This hedgehog needs to be on your windowsill stuffed with spiky things.
I bet you didn't know you needed a platypus bowl until you saw this.
This sweet little guy with his sweet little smile is pure ceramic happiness.
Who wouldn't want to rest on a cloud? Now your spoons can.
All images via Barruntando