People Are Absolutely Obsessed With Collecting Rae Dunn Pottery — Here’s Why

On any given Tuesday morning, you’ll find hordes of discount-seeking women descending upon TJ Maxx, Marshall’s or HomeGoods, all hoping to get their hands on that elusive find: Rae Dunn pottery. This phenomenon happens all over the country and scoring the best pieces is seen as a badge of honor. But who is Rae Dunn, and why is she so popular?

You’ve probably seen some of those Rae Dunn wares or the inevitable knockoffs even if you didn’t realize it. All of it has a very distinctive look with a cream base and a single word emblazoned across the piece that relates to what it is. A coffe mug might say, “Sip” or even “Gulp.” The bowl says “Snack.” A butter dish? “Spread,” of course.

Maybe that’s why people like it so much – the simplicity is starkly attractive, and fits into that minimalist aesthetic everyone loves to emulate.

Are people obsessed with collecting Rae Dunn pottery?

Now it’s become a trend to amass as many Rae Dunn items as possible. Fans brag over social media when they find large pieces or highly-coveted items from the line. In part it’s because the pottery is nice — but there’s also the thrill of the hunt and bragging rights for scoring something rare.

“It really has become this crazy cult,” Dunn told Country Living. “I never expected it to be this insane.” People stand outside the stores before they open, just waiting to buy it.

There’s even a term for hunting down Rae Dunn items – it’s called “dunning,” and whether you realize it or not, it’s going on in an off-price retailer near you. Just stand clear of the doors during opening time, because you don’t want to mess with Dunners!

Who is Rae Dunn?

Rae Dunn is more than just a popular brand – she’s a real person, an artist who hails from California and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial Design. She tried working in several different mediums before discovering her love for working with clay. Dunn started working with clay in 1994, but it wasn’t until recently that her unique sense of style made her mega-popular with home decorators around the country.

As Dunn explained to Country Living, “When I started I kept my head down and was doing this because I loved it. I wasn’t doing it to make money—there was no ulterior motive—it was just passion. I think where there’s a will there’s a way and when you have passion it drives the truck.”

Why is Rae Dunn pottery so popular?

At the end of the day, Rae Dunn’s work is just regular pottery that’s not dissimilar from other items available for sale. So what makes it so highly coveted?

For one, her work is influenced by the Japanese aesthetic called wabi-sabi, which embraces the beauty of imperfection. Nothing she makes is uniform or mass-produced. Even though her work is pervasive, it has that special, handmade and authentic feel that makes it so special.

Dunn says, “I just liked it because it looked like someone made it rather than a machine… I’ve always been drawn to things that are not perfect. I love ruddy skin with freckles. To me it has more character. I love wrinkly clothes, things that show life and usage.”

Perfectly imperfect — sounds like Rae Dunn’s style is right in line with current trends. And it’s clear that the Rae Dunn fan club is here to stay.