Bring a plate

Dish - - The Business Of Dinner -

Meet the win­ner of the NZ Pot­ters Na­tional Table­ware Ex­hi­bi­tion’s Ex­cel­lence Award, mas­ter pot­ter Royce Mc­glashen.

With the re­newed in­ter­est in ar­ti­sanal table­ware on the rise, we spoke with award­win­ning ce­ram­i­cist Royce Mc­glashen about this burgeoning trend and what in­spired his whim­si­cal plate set­ting and made it stand out from the crowd.

What was the think­ing be­hind your win­ning piece, “A Spot of Lunch”? I like to bring an el­e­ment of hu­mour to my work, hence non-func­tional uten­sils and a two-piece gob­let. Round table­ware is avail­able so cheaply these days it felt good to to pro­duce some­thing with a point of dif­fer­ence.

The idea came from one of your draw­ings. What else is in­volved in the de­sign process? The ceram­ics are made from a porce­lain clay I de­sign and pro­duce my­self.

You make your own clay? I had a clay man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness us­ing im­ported clay from Aus­tralia and In­dia for years. The clay we are cur­rently us­ing is still from that pe­riod.

Do you fol­low style trends? Through­out my ca­reer I have de­signed my func­tional work to com­ple­ment the

cur­rent culi­nary trends. The 70s were the stoneware pe­riod, with earthy ware in groggy (sandy) clay and sub­dued colours. In the 80s and 90s, as whiter clays were avail­able, dec­o­ra­tion be­came more colour­ful. Now, there is a trend back to sub­tle colours and ir­reg­u­lar shapes that show the marks of the maker.

Do you see this trend cross­ing over into cafes and restau­rants? I think the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try is pick­ing up on these trends by hav­ing their own per­sonal and unique table­ware de­signed to suit their style of cui­sine.

Is this an area you are in­ter­ested in? Over the years I have worked with many restau­rants and winer­ies in­clud­ing Waimea Estate and Fos­sil Ridge. Plus, for five years I de­signed for Te­muka Pot­tery.

And how about at home? Per­son­ally, my wife Trudi and I have a huge range of table­ware in our crock­ery pantry. We are both keen cooks. Our kitchen is a place for ex­per­i­men­ta­tion – test­ing new table­ware shapes, colours and ideas and match­ing them to par­tic­u­lar dishes. Hav­ing the right plate to com­ple­ment a dish makes such a dif­fer­ence.

Royce Mc­glashen, who has a stu­dio at Bright­wa­ter, Christchurch, has been a mas­ter pot­ter for more than 40 years.

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