August 30 2010
Although it’s based on Blenheim Crescent in the heart of London’s Notting Hill, there’s something of the Tuscan farmyard about Ceramica Blue. Even on the rainiest London morning, a cornucopia of mostly brightly-coloured tableware meets you inside. Distinctive items for the kitchen table seem to cry out for a bottle of olive oil, fresh ciabatta and an Italian family sitting down to a big bowl of handmade pasta.
As something of a pasta fanatic, I have bought several bowls from here, including a fantastic set in French stoneware from the Plume range by Jars Céramistes; pasta bowls are £22 and dinner plates are £24, and are both dishwasher and ovenproof. I also have a great range of mugs in English bone china by The Art Rooms. Depicting eight rural scenes photographed in the wilds of Yorkshire, they cost £15.50 each. The olive wood salad bowls from Kenya, hand-carved in one piece, are also lovely (from £44). As are the heart-shaped cheese boards in walnut and spalted beech (from £22.50).
Ceramica Blue was opened in 1987 by New Zealand-born Lindy Wiffen, who travels extensively throughout Britain, France, Italy and Sicily on the look-out for great ceramics. Despite this being a small store in modern London, you have a sense that somewhere out the back there must be a potter’s wheel turning away at a lump of freshly-thrown clay. It’s not so far-fetched: Lindy intends to start producing her own in-house range later this year.