Sweet as Candy

Eliana Bernard Ceramics

Words by Jess Hagemann Photos by Eric Morales

Candy-striping isn’t only for Christmas candy-canes anymore. Mango, blue raspberry, and bubblegum-pink swirls decorate ceramicist Eliana Bernard’s latest collection of slip-cast vases, plates, and serving trays. They’re sweet enough to stand alone or accent any designer’s dream space, and she makes pieces that fit every budget, too.

Setting Eliana’s work apart from other potters’ pieces is her unusual method. Instead of throwing clay on the wheel, she works from pre-formed plaster molds, which she says create “a more uniform product.” Each vase or plate is then slip-cast in liquid clay and marbled in different-colored porcelains. The final touch is a hand-painted gold trim, brushed on between the second and third firings.

“My marbling patterns, which can’t be replicated, make every piece one-of-a-kind,” explains Eliana. Combined with the gold trim, they also make every piece feel delicate, clean, and elegant: a minimalist aesthetic that appeals to many wedding planners. “Lately, I’ve been lending out dinnerware for wedding photo shoots and getting lots of requests for wedding gifts, like large serving trays … so that market will be my focus going forward.”

Eliana earned her BFA in Studio Art from UT-Austin four years ago. Since then, she’s completed several internships and apprenticeships with other local ceramicists, managing their studios and continuing to learn the craft. Near the end of 2016, Eliana finally amassed enough wholesale orders to take her business full-time, and 2017 has been a banner year for the 27-year-old, whose work now stocks the shelves of 15 retailers in four states.
Studio at Canopy, elianabernard.com

This winter, Eliana Bernard Ceramics will participate in the East Austin Studio Tour at Canopy, where the artist plans to debut a brand new limited edition color release. Watch her website (maintained by Eliana’s sister and fellow graphic artist) for a first look at upcoming collections.

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