We popped over to our neighbour the other day for an evening of wine, pizza and Bananagram. Food, drinks, friends, chit-chat…a spicy blend of ingredients. Tucking into a take-away from Pizza Bagus, I mused on how satisfactory it is to eat straight out of the delivery box, how that small act somehow amplifies the pleasure of a simple take-away. (There’s the feel-good factor too; those temporary plates find new after-dinner-life as a cage tray for the resident cockatoo, an added save-the-planet benefit.) Yet left unused underneath said boxes were the most exquisite blue & white china dinner plates, survivors of our host’s previous corporate life in Singapore, perfectly matched with her crisply ironed blue & white
Indian cotton napkins.
Ohhh the delicious joy of a well-dressed table! I’m not talking about table setting etiquette — which spoon goes where, why the water glass always goes above the knives, how to avoid a frightful social faux pas. Nor am I thinking about my thoroughly British and sadly under-used Minton St James wedding-present dinner service. We eat with our eyes — which is why food looks more appetising on arrestingly beautiful dinnerware. Gaya Ceramic’s tagline sums it up: ‘Hand made food looks better in hand made plates’. In restaurants and cafes across the island, I have a habit of precariously inverting my plate to check its origin; while friends dive into their food as soon as it arrives at the table, I am busy checking what it’s served on.
We’re so lucky to have an amazing choice of artisan ceramic tableware in Bali — many being hand-crafted artisanal pieces. Here are some of my favourite go-to crafted-in-Bali places.
If a dash of Bulgari panache appeals, head over to Gaya Ceramic’s flasgship showroom in Sayan just west of Ubud. This world-famous ceramic studio has created bespoke tableware for Bali-and-beyond’s best hotels, including Bulgari, Aman, Como and Ritz Carlton. And it’s likely that you have already dined off Gaya tableware at some stage, at the likes of Locovore, La Lucciola, Bambu Indah, Room 4 Dessert and, my Ubud vegan favourite, Moksa. (And I confess that Gaya’s extraordinary Aegean-aqua installation wall at Dumbo has me drooling as much as maestro Jono’s fab haute-vegetarian menu!) By popular demand from private clients a few years back, Gaya has also created a world-class collection of hand-crafted tableware and homewares, beautifully curated within the showroom’s industrial-chic setting of vintage furniture and custom-made ceramic tiles, and for sale to anyone who appreciates spectacularly original artisan ceramics. Every single piece is unique, hand-made and utterly gorgeous. You can also book a tour of their production facilities…and if you’re really lucky, your visit may coincide with a showroom clear-out, when you can pick up the most amazing hand-crafted pieces for outrageously reasonable prices.
Why does my filtered temple-spring drinking water taste so much better when served in a Kevala jug? How come my heart leaps at the sight of their playful collection of contemporary ceramics created by Australian textile designer Dimity Kidston? What would I do to own their whimsical botanical-print-inspired Baturiti and Pendet ranges…the fish platter is fabulous! The word kevala means perfect, whole and complete, a suitable name for this innovative ceramic studio that offers possibly the largest collection of creative stoneware tableware in Bali — all hand-crafted by the company’s 100+ artisans and bearing evocative names reflecting their island heritage. Remember the coveted rice bowl or plate in that restaurant you visited? It’s probably a Kevala. The studio has designed for leading hotels and restaurants across Indonesia and Asia, from Bali heroes Metis and Mulia to Six Senses Seychelles and Raffles Singapore. There’s a style to suit all tastes and personalities, from the sophisticated grey-is-the-new-black Petitenget range, to the vibrant Nusa Dua range in eye-popping colours. Pop into Kevala Home in Batubelig, Sanur or Ubud, and pick up a set to transform your dining table in an instant.
Wayan Ani’s Vietnamese spring rolls positively sparkle when served on my favourite Jenggala folded dinner plate. Over the years I have lost quite a few – wash up in haste, repent at leisure – and I am clinging onto my remaining three, always keeping an eye out for new stock in their Ubud shop. Rumour has it that Jenggala started life in the 70s in a garage behind the Geoffrey Bawa-created Batujimbar home of Australian artist Donald Friend. Four decades later, they are ‘the foremost producer of quality handcrafted ceramic tableware in Indonesia’ (according to the website) and possibly Bali’s most internationally recognised brand. I love their quintessentially Balinese designs such as frangipani, bamboo, lotus, and banana leaf plates. Who need a special occasion to justify a beautiful table? The simplest table shines brightly when embellished with place settings of square hibiscus-patterned plates or the exotic, organically shaped Pincuk range. You’ll find Jenggala shops in Ubud, Sanur and Jimbaran….and I defy you to leave their factory outlet on Jl. Sunset empty-handed.
Art on the Table
For everyday tableware that doesn’t have the hand-crafted artisan elan but is practical in kitchens where breakages happen with more frequency than is welcome, Art on the Table is the go-to. I used to brave the Kerebokan traffic to beat a path to their Petitenget store, breathing in exhaust fumes while rifling through stacks of assorted tableware as though excavating an archaeology dig. Now there’s a shop in Ubud, it’s a lot easier to pop in and pick up a replacement white plate or two. But be warned; they are easy enough on the pocket, and I have never escaped without a brightly coloured batik-style plate or two that hook my magpie soul.
In my modest Ubud open-air kitchen, a quick inventory reveals items from all four of the above ceramic stars, as well as Sari Api, Eclipse and BaliZen, for which I have plenty of enthusiastic words but alas no more word count. In a future article, I’ll gleefully explore their glorious homewares, decorative objects and ceramic sculptures.
Little black book
Gaya Ceramic – gayaceramic.com
Kevala – kevalaceramics.com
Art on the Table – artonthetable.com
BaliZen – balizenhome.com
Sari Api – sariapi.com
Eclipse – eclipse-pottery.business.site
If you would like to share some interesting home design products, services and ideas, please get in touch.
Copyright © 2019 Ibu Jenny
By Ibu Jenny
Copyright © 2019 At Home in Bali
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