There’s a new take on beauty at the table, writes Robyn Willis
Fine dining has always been synonymous with crisp white table linen and bone china dinner sets. But in recent months, there’s been a turn in the tide as we embrace handmade, handthrown and handpainted ceramics reflecting a connection to the natural environment and pleasure of the imperfect. And it’s spilling over into domestic dining. These robust bowls, plates, cups and accessories might be a little rough around the edges but they are also a gentle reminder of the Japanese tradition of Wabi Sabi, which celebrates the beauty in imperfection.
Colours are typically earthy, referencing everything from the shades of sea and sand, through to the ocean’s depths to the speckled shell of a bird’s egg.
Patterns are mottled, reflecting worn seashells, pebbles and timber.
There’s never been a better time to source handmade ceramics by skilled local artisans such as Keiko Matsui (her work is bottom right), Hayden Youlley and Kim Wallace who create one-off works that have their own rhythm but are less than uniform in their shapes and patterns. Pick one piece for display or start a collection and build a dinner set.
Such has been the popularity of this movement that manufacturers and designers such as Tara Dennis, Salt & Pepper and Maxwell & Williams have released their own ‘bespoke inspired’ ranges of plates, platters and bowls.
If you’re keen to introduce the more organic shapes and colours of this style, they are the perfect match for classic white bone china, mixed in with a natural timber bread board.
Because there’s so much going on with the dinnerware, keep table linen simple but raw, with natural linens in ecru, celadon green or indigo. Alternatively, ditch the tablecloth in favour of a plain table in timber or stone.
Bespoke inspired ceramics from the Artisan range by Maxwell & Williams, maxwellandwilliams.com.au
Handmade ceramics from the Paper series by Hayden Youlley Design, haydenyoulley.com