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How Do I Choose the Best Pottery Bowls?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2016
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In order to choose the best pottery bowls, you need to consider several factors, including the design, purpose, and cost of the bowls. Pottery is still a living craft, and while it is possible to buy bowls made in factories, handmade bowls can be some of the most beautiful and unique. There are many different styles and eras of pottery design, and looking at pottery catalogs or museum pieces can help you choose styles that fit with your vision. Even so, the practical use of the bowl must also be considered, so looking at the craftsmanship and durability is advisable. In the end, the pottery bowls that stand out to you will likely be the best for your situation.

The first and most important thing to consider when choosing pottery bowls is safety. Bowls that will be used with food need to be made of materials that can withstand this type of use, which may require special glazes. Asking the designer or manufacturer if the bowl is safe for food can clarify the issue if it is not apparent. As a rule, pottery bowls of unknown origin should be used in purely decorative functions.

Durability is also a major concern when choosing pottery bowls. A well-made bowl can be an heirloom piece, but a poorly manufactured item will break almost immediately. Looking at reviews of the product can help determine craftsmanship if it is not available for direct observation.

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Not all pottery bowls are designed to serve the same purpose. Some are very tall and are made for flowers or other thin items, but others are wide and deep and can be used as serving platters. There are also small bowls made for holding jewelry, medium bowls for eating, and even bowls with holes in them for knitting projects. It is not necessary to choose a bowl that directly matches a specific purpose, but keeping purpose in mind can help narrow down choices.

In terms of design, there are many different pottery traditions. Many countries, for example, have unique pottery, including Japan, Poland, and Greece. Different eras are also characterized by highly varied designs, including art deco, Victorian, and art nouveau. Becoming familiar with each of the pottery traditions in these times and areas can help you select a favorite kind of pottery, which may be useful when talking with salespeople or searching for pieces.

If a suitable bowl cannot be found, there are many potters who can make a custom piece. Commissioning a bowl is not always an elaborate affair, and it can allow you to choose the color, shape, and pattern used on the bowl. Pieces like this can be stamped with a name or otherwise personalized and so are often perfect for gifts.

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