One of the first pottery classes I took was Functional Pottery. A love of good food and drink, cooking and presentation all meet in this arena. This held a strong appeal for me as a food lover with artistic leanings. My kids used to laugh at my nearly pathological need to “arrange” food. Even now, as we cook I think, “What would I want to serve this in?” and as I create, “What would I eat/drink/serve from this?” Functional pottery involves not only size and shape, but also use of color (contrasting or complementary), and the matching or mismatching of sets.
Probably my favorite functional pottery experiment is the dip plate, originally inspired by my son who loved dipping foods, especially chicken nuggets, but hated when the pool of sauce ran into the pieces. So a set of dipping plates was born. Many have been made since, some shallow and some a bit deeper, with new uses popping up all the time – pot stickers and sauce! (pictured) hot wings and blue cheese dressing! apple slices with peanut butter & honey!
There have been failures. My dad asked for a long, narrow bread baker with a lid, which has proven very difficult. At this point he’s using a semi-successful baking dish with a makeshift covering of some sort. I’m still pondering how to tackle it.
A new addition is the Shepherd’s Pie crock. We always used larger baking dishes for a full recipe, but any time we ordered it at a restaurant, I would be drawn to the individual serving size. The initial result is pictured (note the trinity knot handles), and has since evolved to include a small serving plate – a practical necessity for the lovely mess that is Shepherd’s Pie.
So form continues to follow function…most of the time. New ideas and inspirations are always welcome – what is your functional pottery need?