I had originally stumbled upon Jono Pandolfi's Instagram page a couple of years ago and loved his designs, but when I saw he was based in Union City, I was obsessed. I loved that something so beautiful was being made locally, and it wasn't in Hoboken or Jersey City, but in the town I live in. I went to one of their Seconds Sales (if you're unfamiliar, their Seconds Sales are when they sell overstocked pieces, and pieces with minor flaws for a discounted price), and was immediately taken with how impressive it was that this relatively small space in my neighborhood managed to produce so many gorgeous and on-trend pieces.
Chances are if you've gone out to eat, you've eaten off of one of his plates. Jono has been a ceramicist for years and originally started his business in Long Island City. After an initial order from The Nomad Hotel, and then Eleven Madison Park, the business took off. Pieces have been previously sold at Crate and Barrel, there's currently a line sold on Food52, and pieces are used at The Four Seasons Downtown NY, and local restaurant Corto. And not only is every piece gorgeous, but because they're made to be used in professional kitchens, they're also durable: they're dishwasher and microwave safe.
In his space in the Yardley Building on Palisades Avenue, Jono has a team of five artisans and 3 hand jigger machines that shape each piece. The process has been streamlined: clay is processed through a pugging machine into long square slabs, then rolled through a slab to flatten and cut out circles that go into molds on the jigger. Once on the jigger, the clay spins and is flattened into the molds shape. The clay hardens a bit and then any excess is trimmed, and all excess clog is refused and run through the pug mill. Lastly, the piece is bisque fired, glazed and then cleaned off. All of this results in a handmade piece with unique details, but a uniform size and shape.
If you're interested in buying pieces for yourself, that can be done on his website here, or you can visit Jono's Seconds Sale and Open Studio this Friday, August 24th at 600 Palisades Avenue, #105, Union City, NJ 07087.