Tammy Milani

Some of Tammy Milani's earliest memories took place around a dining room table. "I remember weekends in my father's restaurant with my family and extended family cooking, eating and just enjoying our time together," she says.

When she was 46, she decided she needed a creative outlet. And so she channeled her love of food and family into her own line of dishes. She first embraced clay and began making and hand painting cups, plates and bowls in a room attached to the garage of her family's home. Her business began to boom shortly thereafter, and she even got a nod from Oprah after the iconic talk show host visited Tammy's home town and was given a gift basket by the artist.

In her effort to expand, Tammy began working with Fair Trade artisans from Lurin, Peru. From her garage, she still creates the original pieces for each collection. This takes about a week, and every piece goes through a test drive at her home, which means dinner table, dishwasher and examination of her personal feelings of it. If the piece passes, it is sent to Peru for them to recreate. It was important to Tammy to achieve the texture and look of handmade objects.

"I believe that everyday rituals like a morning cup of coffee should be enjoyed from a wonderful piece of artwork, that touch and feel are just as important as how something looks, and the integrity of a piece lies in the truth of why and how it was made."