I’d love to say everything is dishwasher safe, but the reality is the pieces you use and love will last longer if hand washed with warm soapy water and a gentle brush or sponge.
Avoid leaving ceramics submerged in water for days at a time. Even if the glaze is not crackled, small chips can expose the clay underneath and absorb minute amounts of water, weakening the form over time. Common sense is key.
Domestic dishwasher detergents are much stronger than any dish soap, and contain chemicals which may damage the surfaces over time. It is no surprise that commercial ware survives harsh environments... In industry, clay and glazes are formulated for durability over aesthetics every time. The soft, delicate surfaces of some of the most beautiful pieces from masters all over the world through history would easily be destroyed by weekly dishwasher cycles.
I do routinely test my functional work in these environments with no detrimental effects, although dishwashers are best avoided for longevity. A simple air drying rack is helpful. Often a quick rinse in the sink followed by air drying before storing is all it takes.
Many of the glazes were intended for teaware in the spirit of 'awareness of impermanence'
The soft glaze surfaces may become pigmented over time, showing darkened crackle patterns. In Japan this is highly praised and known as Kan-nyu(貫入)
Over time, the user becomes part of the story of the piece, and the subtle changes witnessed over time offer an added depth to the relationship between user and object.
Ceramics are quite inert by nature, and there is good reason why many of the oldest human artifacts are ceramics. In essence the material is akin to stone, although much more brittle.
The best storage is upright (or upside down) on a padded mat or cloth, in a cupboard, shelf, or cabinet.
Ceramics can typically withstand a wide range of temperatures without taking any damage, so long as they have time to adjust to the new temperature.
Microwave ovens work on the principle of heating water in the form of liquid. When tableware is first made, it can often withstand repeated heatings in a microwave oven. Over time, however, as pieces are filled with beverages, washed, dried, inevitably left soaking in a sink, etc. they can absorb very small quantities of water. In a microwave water expands in volume as it turns to steam. The steam will usually escape safely, but over time microwaves can cause older ceramics to crack, especially if they have glazes with visible crackle patterns on the glass layer of the glaze.
Rest assured I test all of my work and it survives the microwave test over many months. Unless you are microwaving the same dish twice a day, a microwave every now and then shouldn't cause any concern. That said, avoiding microwaves whenever possible will help your cherished tableware last longer.
The glazes I make and use DO NOT contain lead, heavy metals, or any other potentially dangerous materials. I have performed leach tests on each of my functional glazes with excellent results.
On another note, highly acidic foods may, over time, cause a slight change in the sheen of the glaze. Highly pigmented food or beverages may also impart pigment in crackle glazes. This is part of the patina that comes from using natural materials and should be embraced, as they have done for thousands of years in Asia and beyond.
The most common cause of damage to a ceramic object is impact due to improper handling or falling onto a hard surface like marble or hardwood floors. Often people feel careless when a piece chips around edges. The truth is, it happens to the best of us. You can bring your broken pieces to Japan and learn Kintsugi, or send them my way. I may be able to mend or replace a piece, depending on the damage.
View my Brass Handle Guide
I polish the bottom of each piece with a fine diamond pad to ensure scratch free enjoyment.
Ceramics can be displayed indefinitely on shelves, tables, etc. Occasionally dusting the surface is all that is required. In areas of the world prone to earthquakes, museum wax can provide insurance against loss.
Vases and objects are generally watertight and will not leave any water marks on furniture, unless stated otherwise in the product description. I test every bottle, vase, or jar that comes out of the kiln just to be sure.