Simple Clean


Matte White "Lotus" Vase with Vertical Ribbing by Haeger (LEO Design)

I cannot have too many nice, matte white vases.  The simplicity of the coloration really focuses the eye upon the form—and the form, good or bad, has nowhere to hide.  A collection of matte white vases always makes a strong, clean impact.  And the utility of the vessels is another plus.  I have a grouping of matte white vases on the wide window ledge behind my kitchen sink; I am often grabbing a vase to suit a large or small handful of roses clipped from our garden.  Every time I add a new piece to the window ledge, a re-shuffle is required (which gives me a good excuse to wipe-down the quartz slab).

Every ceramics-maker had its own distinct and secret glazing.  While a competitor could easily steal another workshop's form, glaze masters never revealed the proprietary recipe to their "special sauce."  One of the perennial questions I hear from customers (as they build a collection of matte white vases) is, "Does each vase need to be the same shade of white?"  I always answer, "That depends on how many pieces you intend to group together."  If one intends to only cluster three pieces together, the more obvious will be that one vase glazed in a different shade of white.  But, the larger one's collection, the more "forgiving" it seems to be about diversifying the different shades of glazing.  If you have a broad collection of several pieces (in varying sizes and shapes), having a "palette" of differing whites can create a nice, soft and sophisticated impression.  A grouping with a controlled range of whites creates a sense of subtle spontaneity.  If every piece were exactly the same color, the effect could look rather contrived—perhaps "trying too hard."  Furthermore, since different makers always had different glazes, any attempt to narrow the color to one, specific shade will probably result in a collection from just one maker—which could then limit the variety of shapes and the visual interest of the collection.  A quick glance at your collection will reveal those one or two "glazing oddballs" which just don't fit into the group.  Pull them out and put them somewhere else.  There will always be a good spot in your home for a nice, matte white vase.  Or, possibly, it would make a great gift—filled with fresh, seasonal flowers.  When it comes to aesthetics, it's good to remember: beauty will always be in the eye of the beholder.  Often, I find great beauty in unexpected or uncontrolled "imperfection."  

This vase, simple though it is, bears a very attractive, perhaps sophisticated form.  It has a stylized "lotus" shape, reminiscent of an Egyptian Revival Art Deco capital (atop a column) or, perhaps, having a subtle East Asian influence, like a temple bell.  Note the delicate outward curve of the lip along the top.  And the crisp "foot" at the bottom of the vessel—which really punctuates the form.  Add scored, vertical ribbing—spaced just the right distance apart—and you have a sublime piece of simple (and functional) handcraft.  It would sit beautifully on your Holiday dining table (with green and red holly) or with a Springtime bouquet of tulips.  Or, perhaps, on my kitchen windowsill—with the rest of my matte white collection.  Click on the photo above to learn more about it.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248