“It needs more things that hold things!” Those were the exact words I proclaimed to Travis as empty shelves stared back at me in our home. I was on another hunt, this time for beautiful vases and vessels. And I looked no further than once again, Etsy.
There’s a certain draw about those vessels and vases you see in stunning design-forward homes. It almost grabs you instantly when you look at photos on Instagram or as you scroll Pinterest. Maybe it’s a tall and matte-finished clay pot holding a foraged branch. Or a small dark vessel that pops against a white wall. It’s a perfect combination of wabi-sabi and design. For my home, I like to fall somewhere in between those two words. I love the charm of the imperfect but adore great design. Keeping things effortlessly thoughtful when possible is my hope for our home.
I really had a hard time trying to pinpoint the awe in these vases and vessels. After peeling back the layers, I started to see a reoccurring trend. Some patterns and similarities. Things that just made sense as I started to search the trenches of Etsy. It’s one of those rabbit holes that somehow half a day goes by and now you’ve favorited over 30 pieces.
So after looking at it more closely, I wanted to share my guide for sourcing the best vases and vessels on Etsy. I have a few tips for what to look out for, things that make each piece unique to your home, and where I love to place them in my home. Have a look, you may want to grab a coffee or cocktail once you start scrolling.
If you’re looking for more global antiques, check out this weekend market post!
A Guide for Sourcing Vases and Vessels on Etsy
What to Look Out For
Let’s start this whole thing off with — this is your home and let it be unique to you. Be creative, enjoy the hunt that is Etsy, and find pieces that you will treasure. One of the first lessons I’ve learned in designing the interior of our home is how painful it is to try to replicate. It’s nearly impossible to find the exact piece someone else has, especially when it’s an antique. When sourcing antiques or new pieces, I like to think of it as an opportunity to see what catches my attention and how it’s going to fit within my space. Each time I explore, I’m honing in my personal style and design.
Age + Origin
I love new pottery but also adore a vintage piece. For whatever reason, age looks amazing on a piece of clay pottery. It’s imperfect but beautifully patinaed. In an ideal world, we’d be in the brocantes of southern France, digging through a collection of pottery. You’d come back with this piece you found and when placed in your home, you’d have a memory or story attached. But travel is on hold, we can’t always be in southern France, and there are walls and spaces we’d like to fill.
In addition to these older, vintage pieces, I’ve found some incredible artists who have their sculptures and work on Etsy. When it comes to pottery from an artist, I’m always drawn to something that feels sculptural or otherworldly. There is truly some great work on there.
When it comes to antique pieces, I’m interested in origin. Europe has a certain knack for beautiful pottery. And not just western Europe like those Italian jars or French crocks. I’m talking about Turkish and Ukrainian pottery. Each country has something unique to itself, so be open. I’m a huge fan of Japanese pottery — the culture behind the word “wabi-sabi” is a great place to start. So I like to look at these keywords first.
Texture + Material
I love a matte piece. I’ve noticed this was one thing in common in almost all design homes. The pottery was matte-finished and not glossy. It also makes for photographing easier with no light reflections. Pieces that are maybe rougher had something unique to a smooth wall, so I often look for lines and the not-so-smooth piece.
Material is everything. There are so many versions of clay from terracotta to primitive clay. You even have vessels made with a patinaed metal. Look at what draws you in. Personally, I love terracotta and love neutral colors like grey and black.
I’m the queen of purchasing something and not realizing how big or small it is. Measure twice, purchase once! I’d always measure out the piece and the area you’re intending to put it in.
I’m hesitant when purchasing something on the internet, especially when it’s shipping from halfway across the world. So I like to check out the reviews to be certain other shoppers have had good experiences. It’s worth the 5-minute investigation.
Curated Selection of Beautiful Vases + Vessels
*Note: All of these are one of a kind so if you see something that stands out, I’d grab it. I lost out on three pieces last week in just a few hours. I have an asterisk next to the pieces that I have which still have some similar options.
How to Style a Vase or Vessel in Your Home
This is one of my favorite rooms to place these vessels, paired with a book on a mantle or coffee table. Bowls do great on shelves as well as the low depth of field means you can see inside of it. There are a few pieces styled on my floating shelves that mix and match between modern and vintage.
I will also use those pitchers as a vase for fresh flowers. Pitchers are a wonderful for flowers as the often wide opening allows the flowers to fall naturally giving it a more organic look.
We have open shelves so often times pieces of pottery end up here as a way of decorating the space. If you have an empty corner on a kitchen counter, this is another great space to place a vessel.
One thing I learned this last year is that the kitchen can also be decorated — it doesn’t always have to be utilitarian.
Some of My Favorite Shops on Etsy
Trace Aesthetic — art + design studio creating handmade pottery and sculptures made right here in the USA.
Cocobaroco — vintage and rustic pottery coming out of Ukraine.
OmaOmaOpaOpa — vintage vases and vessels coming out of Ukraine. Really impressed with the selection of rustic pieces.
Roger Appleyard — this shop has a wide range of work but I’m mostly drawn to the Turkish and Greek pottery available.
VintageForYoUA — another wonderful shop in Ukraine that has a selection of pots and vases.
Carolyn Powers Designs — I found this artist and fell in love with her concrete vases and vessels.