Best of Latvia’s artisan ceramics
Miks Balodis, frontman of Vaidava Ceramics, has brought a potted revolution to the sleepy village of Vaidava where 15 artists handcraft beautiful and functional tableware.
In the six years that Miks Balodis has been running Vaidava Ceramics, what was once a rundown Soviet pottery workshop has blossomed into a high-end brand coveted for its clean, ascetic design.
“The factory was founded in 1980 and it became our family business after Latvia gained independence in 1991,” says Balodis. “In the past three years we have moved beyond flowerpots in a fresh, contemporary direction.”
One thing hasn’t changed, however – Vaidava swears by tradition. All items are handcrafted by artisans using local red clay and ancient Latvian techniques.
True to its name, the Earth Collection combines silky-smooth terracotta bowls with beautiful ash-wood platters. The exterior is unglazed, yet fully dishwasher-proof. The Eclipse Collection designed by Laima Grigone is the clay equivalent of the Little Black Dress – ultra-elegant for any occasion.
“We use the terra sigillata technique to achieve a high satin gloss. Our products are an interesting mix of ancient artisanry, functionality, and fresh design – a rare combination that has put our small
village on the world map,” describes Balodis.
The factory has a design outlet and hosts workshops where visitors can make their own plate to take home as a souvenir. Vaidava items are available in Finland through Artek, Gumbostrand Konst & Form, and Casuarina.
Text Silja Kudel
Photo Liisa Valonen