Toronto blogger Nikole Herriott turned her father Lance's woodcarving hobby into a business: “Whether my dad is watching TV or waiting for my mom in a store, he’s always got a spoon going.”From $70 for a rolling pin; shop.herriottgrace.com.
Working with recycled steel in a micro-foundry powered by vegetable oil and Kickstarter money, cousins Jason Connelly and Jason Truex are updating the design of cast-iron cookware. Their first two pieces include a braising skillet and a 9.5-inch skillet with a long handle that stays cool. Pieces are hand-poured into sand-and-clay molds, then preseasoned with flaxseed oil, so they’re supersmooth and nonstick. From $180; boroughfurnace.com.
Blacksmith Marc Maiorana of Iron Design in Cedar Bluff, Virginia, hand-forges beautiful steel housewares, including a stunning one-pound mezzaluna that’s great for chopping vegetables. Each piece has a slightly different texture, one that Maiorana describes as wild and organic. “I love that, with heat and force, I can manipulate steel,” he says. “I can give a rigid material some grace.” $300; irondesigncompany.com.
“Tin-lined copper pans are unbeatable. They shed heat as fast as they gain it, perfect for fragile sauces and control-freak cooks,” says Mac Kohler, who founded Brooklyn Copper Cookware with metalsmith Jeff Herkes. “Re-tinned as needed, the pans last forever.” As the only copper-cookware maker in the US, the company has gained a following among chefs like Alice Waters. From $329 for a 9.5-inch sauté pan; brooklyncoppercookware.com.
“Once you touch clay, it’s hard to stop,” says Chifen Cheng. An avid cook, Cheng longed for a lightweight mortar and pestle she could hold in her small hands. “I’ve never found one that felt good after grinding spices for a while,” she says. She now makes them for different hand sizes, adding an ergonomic thumb dent on the pestles. Although signs of the artisan’s touch can add to the charm of handmade pieces, she can’t help but aim for perfection: “As a designer, I want everything to be smooth and proportional,” she says. From $65; designlump.blogspot.com.