What are the features of a good handmade bowl? How to buy it online.

Last week, I gathered up many of our bowls, setting them on my dining room table.  It was fun to “really” look at each one.  Watch me share the features of each Bowl:

Learn about what makes a good bowl.

Watch “What Makes a Good Bowl”

The features that I look for when purchasing a new bowl for eating out of or serving food OR just for display are:

  • The overall shape – does the bowl have nice lines from top to bottom?  Is it balanced?
  • How does the bowl sit on your table.  Does it have a presence?

Large Ceramic & Reed Bowl by Stephen Kostyshyn


  • Is the foot pleasing to the form – angled, straight, slanted inward?
  • The rim:  Is it uniform or not?   Is it very thin or substantial?  Do these choices by the maker make sense to you?


Porcelain Pico Bowl by Julie Devers

  • Inside:  Does the bowl have a nice curve?  Are their any irregularities to the curve?
  • The bottom:  How is it finished? Does it have a flat bottom or a foot? Nice curve inside the foot ring?  Is it glazed inside the foot ring?  Does the curve inside the foot match the curve with the rest of the bowl? Does the foot “fit” the design? Is the bottom flat for a reason?  Does it look correct?  Smooth?
  • Weight:  Does the bowl feel heavy?  Should it?  Does it feel balanced when picking it up?  If you can’t pick it up, ask.
  • Decoration:  Does the decoration make sense?  Is it pleasing to you?  What does the glaze look like?  Are there lots of cracks in the glaze or is it smooth?  There are a few glazes that are meant to have cracks in it.  They should be fine.  Generally, if a glaze is correctly formulated for the clay used, the glaze should be smooth without blemishes. Shiny or semi-glossy glazes are best for food uses.  There are Matt glazes out there that are food safe.


Richard Aerni Square Baker on Cyndi's Table


Wood Ash Glazed Square Ceramic Baker

  • A simple test to learn if a glaze is food safe:  cut a lemon in half and set it on the surface of any ceramic form over night.  In the morning, see if there is any staining where the lemon sat.  If there is staining, then, it’s probably best to not let food sit in this bowl.

I hope this helps you choose your next handmade bowl.  If you need help deciding, call us, 616-935-7337.  We are happy to help.

Take good care, c2.

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