Toast’s signature graphic decorations show up on this vase.
When Jackie Matelski, founder of Toast Ceramics, decided to make pottery her full-time gig, she wanted to focus on making practical goods for everyday life. Three years later, she’s found success with these useful items thanks in part to a local following and in part to Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade goods.
“I try to solve problems by designing items that work specifically for [a] purpose,” Matelski says. One of her signature items is a tea infuser mug set that comes with a ceramic strainer and a lid to keep tea hot while it steeps. An avid tea drinker, Matelski designed it after years of dissatisfaction with metal tea balls that broke or got rusty. Now the mug set is one of her most popular pieces.
In the converted garage studio at her east-side home, Matelski makes mugs, pour-over coffee sets, planters, pet bowls, salt cellars, bird houses and more.
Why the name “Toast”? It’s one of her favorite foods. A new item, a French butter keeper, is designed to keep butter from spoiling while it sits out on the counter for several days (necessary if you want to avoid cold, unspreadable butter for your morning toast).
Matelski’s pieces, all $30-$80, have graphic patterns with bold, warm colors like red, orange and yellow. “Fall is my favorite time of year,” Matelski says. The geometric decoration painted on the glazes is a nod to Mid-Century Modern, but she says the inspiration for her designs also comes from spending time outdoors. She’s a cyclist and gardener; few things bring her out of the doldrums like going for a hike or a walk with her dogs, Kayak and Nibs. When designing patterns for her pieces, she tries to translate those feelings of serenity that come from being outside.
Matelski became interested in ceramics when she started making pots in high school in Kenosha. She studied ceramics and photography at UW-Madison, but it wasn’t until she attended a week-long ceramics workshop at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine, that she decided to focus on pottery. Pottery won out in part because she enjoys the community that goes along with it — potters commonly share glaze recipes with each other, for instance.
After college Matelski spent two years as studio manager at Midwest Clay Project on Winnebago Street. Now she likes working from home and enjoys the creative freedom that comes with running her own business.
Toast Ceramics wares are in stock at at Zip Dang, 2606 Monroe St., and Hatch Art House, 1248 Williamson St. Matelski also sells her pottery at craft fairs, including the Good Day Market coming up at Octopi Brewing in Waunakee on Dec. 9-10.
Toast Ceramics, toastceramics.com