a guide to “found” and treasured dishes

Dish, 813 colorful, wonderful dinner plates

Over many years of sifting through flea-markets and junk stores, one of our happiest and most inexpensive finds have been single plates, bowls and cups of fine china. Drinking tea out of Limoge cup, with its perfect proportions and translucency, gave us pleasure during many years of writing. One chipped, shallow soup bowl of unknown origin became the fall-back dish at photo-shoots we worked on. A stack of mismatched dinner plates, each with its own beauty, became a charming way to serve a crowd.

Which is why we’ve found  Dish, 813 Colorful, Wonderful Dinner Plates by Shax Riegler so unexpectedly helpful and illuminating. In addition to using it as a reference for plates we’ve collected or seen, we use it a guide to plates we’d like to find, keeping our eyes peeled for them in our wanderings, or setting up a “search” on Ebay to notify us when one is for sale.We’ve found the warning in it’s opening chapter to be true: THIS BOOK MAY INDUCE MANIA.

Although the book covers a wide range of plate styles and eras, most of our favorites were designed in the last few decades:

Chromatics, a line of stackable dishes inspired by popular melamine dishes designed by Massimo and Lella Vignelli:

Chromatics porcelain plates

photo: robert bean

…A set of four Limoges plates designed by French artist Pierre Charpin in 2007:

Limoges plates designed by Pierre Charpin

photo: robert bean

…Artist and jewelry designer Ted Muehling‘s crazy-brilliant 1999 design which evokes the Japanese art of kintsugi, in which “cracks and repairs are highlighted in gold to focus attention on the fragile nature of porcelain.”

Ted Muehling's "cracked" dinner plate

photo: robert bean

We also discovered the origin of the blue-striped plates we hauled back from a Barcelona flea-market years ago: Cornishware produced in the 1920’s in the U.K.

blue striped Cornishware dinner plates

photo: robert bean

All images excerpted from Dish: 813 Colorful, Wonderful Dinner Platesby Shax Riegler (Artisan Books). Copyright 2011. Photographs by Robert Bean.

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ted muehling and the inspiration journal
cool finds + good value, for home

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