Bring a plate
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.