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Functional Art: Hand-Painted Ceramics by California Artist Rebekah Miles

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Functional Art: Hand-Painted Ceramics by California Artist Rebekah Miles

May 5, 2020

Recently, while compiling Gardenista’s Mother’s Day gift guide, I came across Rebekah Miles’ hand-painted pottery and knew that I had found something unusual. Rebekah is a fifth-generation Californian, currently living in Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara. Her ceramics, emblazoned with natural imagery (whimsical cacti, colorful fishes, or horses), are informed by her heritage: “I grew up in a rural lifestyle surrounded by nature. I’d say I’ve most closely followed in my grandmother’s footsteps as a painter. She created botanical pictures with gouache and watercolors,” she tells us.

“I have been drawn to painting since I was a kid, seeing my grandma’s work and my great great aunts’ paintings, too,” says Rebekah, who went on to major in art in college and focus on painting in graduate school. She prefers to paint on ceramics instead of on canvas: “I like making functional art objects,” she explains.

And tastemakers want to display them. Her work is currently sold at Nickey Kehoe in Los Angeles and John Derian in New York City; she also takes special orders.

Below, a peek at some of her disarmingly charming pieces:

Photography courtesy of Rebekah Miles.

rebekah miles painted ceramics studio
Above: Rebekah’s studio. “I’m making my first teacup and saucer sets as a special order right now, which I painted with flowers inspired by Moon Canyon’s florals. I’ve had requests for mugs, so I’m going to start working on some of those soon,” she shares. Photograph by @arna__.
her ceramic paintings are often inspired by illustrations from vintage everyday 10
Above: Her ceramic paintings are often inspired by illustrations from vintage everyday items like a Mexican bingo set from the 1800s, a seed savers exchange catalogue, or a California native plant identification book. A similar large Protea Vase is $435 at Nickey Kehoe. Photograph by @arna__.
rebekah hand builds her pieces from slab. 11
Above: Rebekah hand-builds her pieces from slab.
pitchers bearing paintings of blooming cacti. 12
Above: Pitchers bearing paintings of blooming cacti.
her nopal soap dishes are \$\1\10 each at nickey kehoe. from the website: & 13
Above: Her Nopal Soap Dishes are $110 each at Nickey Kehoe. From the website: ” She wants to make modern pieces that feel like heirlooms.”
Above: Fish plates that look pretty enough to display.
sold as a pair, her ceramic table lamps are \$\2,800 at nickey kehoe. 16
Above: Sold as a pair, her Ceramic Table Lamps are $2,800 at Nickey Kehoe.

For more ceramics inspiration, see:

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