Set to debut in May at the Garden Festival at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, the UPO line of L.A.-made ceramic pots looks like a winning addition to any outdoor space. Better yet, as PUTIKMADE founder Cynthia Vargas tells me, you can scoop them up now on the young company's Etsy page.
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"The vessels are made by hand of black mountain clay and porcelain and thrown on the wheel, then high fired," says Vargas, who notes that PUTIKMADE is focusing on black mountain clay for its debut.

Here's a trio of the Bamboo series planters. The rough brown exterior is contrasted nicely with a smooth green glaze inside.

"Our inspiration has been the natural forms of plants. We recreate those organic shapes to make what we think is the perfect architecture for displaying a plant. For example, the hanging vessels are shaped like an opo squash that grows in my cofounder Jennifer Friend's mom's garden. We love plants and we think a simple vessel can beautifully punctuate their space indoors or out in a garden."

Not just for succulents. The Bamboo series of planters have a drainage hole, so feel free to fill them with thirstier flora.

Work as a potter is new to Vargas, who cites Friend's expertise as invaluable. "We talk about design, look at plants and materials, sketch out a design and she refines it and makes it," Vargas says. "I handle the business end of things and assist her in any part of the making process."

These rounder vases are from the UPO series. They can either sit on their own or hang suspended from a leather cord.

Though it's too early to tell if the friends of 26 years will hit big with their collection of ceramics, those who dig this earthy vibe and appreciate the company's made-in-L.A. manufacturing will find plenty to like.


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