Crevices: Elizabeth Cohen is a self-taught studio potter who also teaches high-school English and is a mother of three. Working in porcelain, Cohen creates objects, like this Round Wall Piece, that are both functional and sculptural, drawing inspiration from organic elements in nature. 12″W. $1,200. Wellesley, Mass., (781) 431-8851, elizabethcohenpottery.com
Knots: Michele Quan, of MQuan Studio, designs and sculpts handmade ceramic art and objects for the home and garden, like this ten-strand wall hanging. 48″ × 48″ (not including the 26" adjustable rope ties). $1,650. Templeton General, Boston, (857) 362-7289, front-online.com, and Sugar Tools, Camden, Maine, (207) 706-4016
Droplets: Originally designed in 1964 by Oiva Toikka for the Finnish glass company iittala, the Kastehelmi dewdrop pattern was reintroduced in 2010. The Kastehelmi Footed Bowl, shown here in clear, is the newest addition to a collection that includes a variety of colors. 11.8 oz. capacity. $25-$65, depending on color. Didriks, Cambridge, Mass., (617) 354-5700, didriks.com
Crinkles: Take notes, make lists, record thoughts in this chic, handmade, metallic leather journal from London-based Barbara Wiggins. 5″ × 7″. $72. Gift at the Gardner, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, (617) 566-1401, gift.gardnermuseum.org
Twists: Inspired by the Giardino di Boboli in Florence, where mythical figures merge with the landscape, the Herculite Grotto Lamp is sculpted in clay and cast in plaster. 10″W × 24″H (to the top of the harp). $1,875 (shade not included). Webster & Company, Boston Design Center, (617) 261-9660, webstercompany.com
Bumps: Shaped like an exotic fruit, this cast-metal footed box makes a perfect receptacle for those small, easy-to-lose objects. 6½″L × 3½″W × 3″H. $38. Pod, Cambridge Mass., (617) 576-1600, shop-pod.com
Perforations: Filled with fruit or left empty, this sculptural, pierced resin bowl makes a dramatic statement. Approx. 22″W. $850. Delicious Designs, Hingham, Mass., (781) 556-5269, deliciousdesignshome.com
Hairs: The ultimate security blanket, the Luxe Faux Fur Throw keeps you warm while it wraps you in mindful luxury. Shown here in Wolf, it is also available in four other faux furs. 50″ × 60″. $100. Restoration Hardware, Boston, Wrentham, Mass., and Providence, restorationhardware.com
Stitches: Using an industrial sewing machine in his Brooklyn, New York, studio, Doug Johnston creates hand-formed receptacles by coiling and stitching one continuous piece of cord. Approx. 10″D × 5″H. $100. Edgewater Gallery, Middlebury, Vt., (802) 458-0098, edgewatergallery-vt.com, and Lekker, Boston, (617) 542-6464, lekkerhome.com
Cables: As sophisticated as this textured, two-seater ottoman may appear, it’s as user-friendly as a favorite sweater. The woven, 100 percent wool ottoman is filled with silicone beads for a comfortable sit. 44″L × 24″W × 18″H. $650. Artefact Home/Garden, Belmont Mass., (617) 993-3347, artefacthome.com
Consider the curve, the crevice, the cavity, the cable. Ruminate on the rocky, the rough, the rustic, the ever-so-slightly ruined. Seems there’s a sudden interest in objects whose surfaces are anything but unruffled.
It would be too obvious—and old news—to suggest that this fascination with tactile experience is in response to a technological world rife with the sleek and the smooth. Instead, might it symbolize the messy, sometimes unpredictable nature of everyday life? Whatever the reason, inherent in the pieces we’ve assembled here is a sense of spirit and style that inevitably rises to the surface.
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