vase-1You may be forgiven for thinking that the primary use of vases is to show off cut flowers. While that may still be a favourite use of vases in some homes, public building, churches and restaurants, the vase always was, and always will be a work of art in its own right. From large ancient Greek urns depicting battle scenes, to much smaller waited vases made to hold a single stem, vases come in a multitude of materials, shapes, sizes and colours. The well-known cross-dressing sculptor and artist Grayson Perry was noted for his beautiful and sometimes controversial hand-painted ceramic vases such as the one shown here.

Assuming you don’t want to pay thousands for a Perry original, there’s still a remarkable choice for you in the world of vases.

Before you chose a vase, you’ve got to decide what you want out of it, where you want to put it and if you want to use it for flowers be they freshly cut or dried, what type. And my suggestion is that you should always go for a pretty or striking one with panache and style rather than a traditional and purely functional one. The rule when you are using flowers, is don’t overdo it.vase-2 Colourful flowers need a more plain vase (although the shape and material of the vase can be unusual) while a vase or vessel that will just hold a few dried grasses on one colour in it, can afford to be more colourful and eye-catching.

If you want to go back to basics, then nothing quite hacks it like glass vases. A good trick is to use different coloured glass stones, pebbles or even coloured sand to give the vase some colour. In this way, you can have a lovely-shaped glass vase, but every few weeks or so give it a new lease of life by changing what it contains. It’s almost like having a new vase!

vase-3Here’s a great vase with an ethnic feel to it, toasting those that were popular in the 1950s in Europe. It’s a Wade “Zamba” vase that has a funky African dancer on it. The plain black and white colours and visually arresting image combined with the shape, make this a conversation piece wherever you choose to put it.

Another ethnic trend is to have a vase made of ceramic, stone or even metal, but then have a further covering on it- leather, cloth or even hemp or string. Just as ethnic patterns and fabrics are big on the catwalks in 2013, the same is true of vases. Look out for them.

Finally, with a recession still biting and with most of us wanting to be kind to the planet, there are some stunning vases receptacles and vessels out there made from recycled material. From humble glass wine or juice bottles to materials you wouldn’t normally associated with vases, there’s a whole world waiting for you!

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Where you site your vase is up to you of course, but a particularly trendy or striking vase should be given pride of place on the mantelpiece, or the dining table. It’s one of the most popular types of sculpture and is, of course, three-dimensional and can be moved, touched, and filled with flowers or other items.