Our relationship with food is continuing to evolve: we eat the rainbow, eat local, create fusion dishes and use equipment that used to be the province of chefs. But how about making the table setting every bit as beautiful — and conscious — as the food? Creating various settings and moods can be done easily with a few carefully chosen mix-and-match pieces like table linens, cutlery, table décor and glasses. And the heart is always the serving ware: a set of basic, sustainable and well-designed ceramic dinnerware from artisanal creators like Feldspar, Wonki Ware and Bethan Gray (see her interview at LINK) can take you from relaxed snacking to hosting an unforgettable family gathering, with settings guaranteed to make a splash.
Both Feldspar and Wonki Ware celebrate the local and the handmade, and aim for a conscious design and creation process. Feldspar was started by Cath and Jeremy Brown in idyllic, rural Devon, and creates casual dining ware out of materials that are natural and local — so local, in fact, that they dig their clay within ten steps of their studio. (Perhaps that’s a legacy of Jeremy’s experience creating ethical supply chains in the fashion industry.) South Africa-based Wonki Ware also uses local clay, in this case from the Eastern Cape. The clay is sun-dried and passed through 14 pairs of hands on its way to becoming striking tableware that speaks of its earthy roots. Many of those hands belong to employees from disadvantaged backgrounds, who the studio trains to become skilled artisans, helping them as individuals and evolving the local design community.