If you have ever been to our studio/store you may have noticed that I have a thing for repurposing old and broken things. A scrap piece of wood can become a display, old wine racks into mug racks. Thanks to Pinterest and HGTV, this trend of rethinking old items has exploded in the last few years – much to my delight! I love saving items that are destined for landfills and giving them new life. Seriously, I love it.
This desire to rescue unwanted or seemingly useless items ended up winning out over my need to hide all of our shameful pottery that was less-than-perfect. When we first opened our business, Carvel and I only wanted ‘the best’ items to be floating around in the world. Blame art school instruction or naivety, but we really believed that not allowing imperfects into the world was for the best.
Now 3 years into owning a studio that creates a large amount of pottery per year, we realize how silly of a notion this was. Not only does it create waste and an excess amount of storage, but it deprives our customers of a chance of a really great deal, and the piece of pottery a chance at a life outside of a storage box.
So as our 3rd Annual Oopsies & Oldies Sale approaches, I wanted to share a few ways to repurpose broken, damaged or imperfect pottery – or just use some pots in a new way. Some of these ideas use our own pottery, and some ideas have been sourced from the internet, but they all of them can inspire you into giving life into a misfit pot.
ONE: Colander planters
8 Innovative Ways to Repurpose Your Pots
This one is probably my favorite; using an imperfect colander as a small planter! This year we have been growing herbs in two colanders on our terrace. They also serve double duty as a quick centerpiece when company comes over, and the herbs are obviously edible. Win – win – win.
Additionally, a pour over top (pictured in blue) could be used in the same way! I would put a coffee filter in the vessel, fill it with soil, and plant a few seeds. It is eye catching and one-of-a-kind herb planter with built-on drainage.
TWO: Mosaic Stones
When you have a few broken pots, or find some cheap enough that you don’t mind breaking them, using the bits for a few stepping stones is a great go-to for repurposing. Check out this article from Intimate Weddings to see a how-to guide! (Photo from Intimate Weddings)
THREE: Clock - from broken pieces to full work
Go ahead and plan on seeing this project appear at our studio in the future. Using bits of pottery as markers for a clock creates a really unique and creative wall piece. But, to use full on mug and saucer sets…. Talk about leveling up! And it is a great idea for some of our cheap CHEAP seconds that have major issues that we sell at Oopsies and Oldies. (Photos found online)
FOUR: Wall Art
This is a similar thought to the stepping stone, but completely different outcome. We have a large mosaic KY in our studio, and we love it. We used broken pottery that had been smashed into smaller pieces (use safety glasses, gloves and a hammer for this – also, put the pottery in a pillowcase to be broken). You can purchase tile mastiff from your local hardware store (ours is D&S in Winchester) and simply press the pieces into place. The other photos I found online, but seem to be in a similar style; broken tile and seashells form a cute sea horse.
FIVE: Sidewalk Crack Filler
This is another idea that you may be seeing on Main Street, if I can make it happen – anyone want their sidewalk fixed in a creative way? (Photo found online)
If breaking the pottery seems too much, you can always go for adhering several pieces together to create something completely different. Check out this birdbath that I found on Pinterest – there are no instructions attached to this project, but I would imagine that with some industrial strength glue, you could make it work. We have a few plates and many mugs this year that will be on sale - get creative! (Photo found online)
SEVEN: Serving ware into décor
Sometimes our glaze messes things up for its intended purpose, but it is still viable to be used in a different way. Shown here is a white glaze that didn’t want to stay in place. Although this means the bowl isn’t good for holding liquids, it's perfect for a fruit bowl or coffee table bowl.
EIGHT: Pencil holders, catch-alls, vases
EIGHT: Pencil holders, catch-alls, vases
Here is the fallback plan for any piece of pottery; make it a pencil holder. Or a small vase. This works for just about anything that is in a cylinder shape; cups, mugs, pour-over, etc. Pictured are cups with some minor glaze issues that hold my pens and plant life remarkably well.
As you can see, you’re only limited by your imagination. There are endless ways of repurposing and giving new life to old pottery. Make a point to think outside of the box, and let inspiration wash over you - and make sure to send of a photo if you use any of our work!
Our 2018 Oopsies and Oldies event will be on July 14th, starting at 10! Check out the event page on Facebook to see some sneak peeks at this year’s offerings, and make sure that you’re signed up to be a Dirty Southerner to find out how to get first dibs on the sale.