There’s a crusade going on that you may not have heard of. It’s ruthless, it’s impassioned, and it’s being lead by people who want plates. The #wewantplates movement is, in its own words, “a crusade against serving food on bits of wood and roof slates, chips in mugs and drinks in jam jars.” I can’t say that I’m 100% behind it (I quite like an over-used wood charcuterie board, so shoot me), but they do highlight the fact that, despite our best intentions, things are going too far.
I do think it’s really important to source beautiful and interesting tabletop items, just not at the expense of the person trying to eat. Wood board for a dessert that comes with pouring custard = bad. Bread served in a flat cap = bad. Coleslaw in a mini shopping trolley = bad, yet strangely amusing. But just when you think the world has gone mad and plates have been lost forever, you notice that there are some beautiful ceramics being created and maybe, just maybe, we’ll be ok.
If I had to pick five plates to lead us to salvation, it would be these:
This beautiful baroque plate is the product of a collaboration between Jasper Conran and Wedgwood, two quintessentially British names.
It’s ok, I can’t pronounce it either. A lovely irregular round shape and a matte palette of colours. Handmade in France for over 150 years, Jars Céramistes is eco-friendly, non-polluting and made with inert raw materials.
I’m a bit obsessed with these creations by Ana Kerin, a Slovenian artist living in London. Not readily available yet, but you can find her at Netil Market in E8.
“Born of earth and wood.” Hand thrown pottery by Gill Thompson in Shrewsbury; her husband Jon creates beautiful wooden boards (I promise you, there’s room for both in this world).
Ah, the cabbage plate, or lettuce ware if you prefer (and I do). My current love for the kitsch cabbage plate is only surpassed by my love of the even kitsch-er cabbage cheese tray. I like to think of this as the compromise between team plate and team wood-and-slate: a little less plate-y but it will still keep your custard in. Ignore the haters — cabbage plates are cool again! There, I said it.
By Laura Condon
Cover image credit: @WeWantPlates