Wednesday 13 January 2010

The Golden Drop

It is the food that makes the vessel, and the vessel that makes or breaks the meal. I am happiest when I am enjoying a meal with my family, made with vegetables and herbs that we have grown ourselves, served on my own vessels. This is the essence, the seminal point from which the desire and need to create pottery begins. That is not, however, where it ends. Were pottery my hobby then that would be enough, but as pottery is and always has been my profession, my vessels must prove their validity in the professional arena.

Imagine walking into a fine restaurant packed with diners enjoying their cuisine on your own hand crafted vessels. From entree to dessert, each vessel designed for each separate course. As you walk from the entrance through the crowded tables to your reserved seat, the laughter and conversations of the others guests surrounds you. Each table you pass is at a different stage in their meal, the soup, the meat course, the fish. Accompanying each, excellent wines from around the globe. You have just walked into G'Drop, in Nihombashi, Tokyo.

Since January last year, G'Drop has been using my vessels for the winter season. You may remember the Ceramics Monthly article about it. They have about 500 pieces which I made after discussions with the chef, designed for the menu. This year (yesterday in fact!) they have asked me to make some additional pieces, which I will begin making tomorrow.

What is important about this for me is that these vessels are not just being used for a one off meal, but are being used for every meal in a sixty setting restaurant, for lunch and dinner, six days a week for three months every year. They are warmed in ovens or chilled in refrigerators, served with cuisine, eaten from with a variety of cutlery, washed in the dishwasher and stacked ready for the next order.

It is hard to imagine a harsher proving ground. The four "T's"; Functionality, Durability, Stability and Beauty, are all put to the test. Not only in the hands of the professional staff, but by the most unforgiving judges of all; the dining public. The other important issue that this is not a Japanese restaurant! Oh yes, it is in japan, but it is not serving Japanese cuisine where hand crafted pottery is the rule: this is a Continental style restaurant, where handcrafted ceramics are very much an unprecedented exception.

The winter menu on my vessels is only available until the end of march, and I have promised to have the new pots to add to it by the end of January so the race is on again!


  1. hi euan... this seems to me the epitome of what a potter could achieve. absolutely beautiful and wonderful that it all came together so wonderfully.

  2. Thanks,
    Yes, I think that this is the ideal stage for functional ceramics. Despite labour saving devices that should give people more time to enjoy life, I think that many people find they have less and less time to prepare and enjoy food in their own homes. Quality of life is sacrificed and meals are eaten on the run. If professional chefs can work with professional potters to create this kind of dining experience for the discerning public,then I think that will filter back down through those customers, and hand crafted ceramics can find it's place once more on the dining tables of the modern world. I live in hope.