Traditional porcelain gifts may conjure up images of bone china tea sets, decorative vases, and 18th wedding anniversaries, but that reputation is changing. Artists and designers like Barnaby Barford and Spin Ceramics are creating new and surprising items with the classic material. The juxtaposition of delicate, decorative porcelain and utilitarian design has spawned countless man-friendly gifts that you don't need to wait for an 18th wedding anniversary.
Coffee mugs, personalised or not, aren't the newest idea in gift giving, but there are a lot of innovative and elegant designs that should please any coffee-loving guy. Porcelain does not transfer heat very well, which means that it's a good insulator and makes an excellent material for travel cups, like those that are designed to look like takeaway cups with a vinyl top. For coffee at home, look for a set of espresso or cappuccino cups, or an airtight canister to hold coffee beans.
Porcelain Making Class
For something really distinct, give the gift of porcelain or ceramic classes. What makes the experience particularly special is that creating items with clay is an intensive and detail-oriented process that involves large equipment such as pottery wheels and fire kilns; it's not exactly something that can be done properly at home. Classes are often available through art schools, community centres, colleges and private studios.
Valet Box & Jewelry
A valet box is a timeless and elegant way for a man to keep his daily necessities, wallet, keys, watch, gloves, sunglasses, in a safe place. A porcelain box may be pure white or decoratively painted and should include a lined interior. Start off his valet box with porcelain cuff links, pendant, flask or a ceramic watch.
A porcelain desk set may include a business-card holder or card dish, a pen cup, a letter box and a reusable note tablet that wipes clean with water. You may even find pens with porcelain casing that take ink refills. To complete the office set, get a paperweight shaped like a crumpled piece of paper.
Unusual Porcelain Items
Modern porcelain artwork has made an uncanny bridge of classic workmanship and trendy objects. Some unusual examples include a skateboard, a piece of art from Barnaby Barford and a set of pistols to be hung on the wall. For something more practical, turn to functional porcelain tiles that are moulded into hooks, tissue dispensers and lighting fixtures.