January 05 2011
Formal dinners must always, of course, be eaten from fine and fully co-ordinated china dinner services. However, when it comes to those casual kitchen gatherings of favourite friends and the daily routine of family meals, nothing is more pleasing than an eclectic miscellany of earthenware crockery.
I first came across Jo Davda five years ago and have been collecting the beautifully simple tableware she produces under the label Brickett Davda ever since. Formed on the wheel then press-moulded and finished by hand, the organic shapes hint at a generation of use and suggest warming, comfort food: these are dishes for soup and porridge, pasta and stews. Pick them up, however, and you’re in for a joyous surprise because these pieces are as delicate as porcelain. (Davda puts her set in the dishwasher but since I have to pay for breakages I always clean mine, very carefully, by hand.)
But it’s the colours that I really love. Like me, Davda is a born and bred Englishwoman and her paint box echoes the landscape of washed-out skies, grey seas, gentle greens and soft fog. It’s a comforting palette that suits my Gloucestershire home; setting the table so that it reflects the scene outside (today is damp and cold so I breakfasted from a slate cereal bowl, taupe plate and pumice mug) brings me daily pleasure.
Prices range from £12 for a dessert plate to £72 for a deep bowl.