Dine Tastefully on These 27 Ceramic Plates
It's safe to assume that ceramics elevated the dining experiences of ancient homo sapiens. Having a vessel to contain the food (versus simply holding it in one’s hand) gave way to the modern, sit-down formal meal. Since then, the craft of ceramic plates has come a long way—but we can still add this lifestyle adaptation to the many ways that our ancient ancestors shaped today's experiences. Nest Casa pays tribute to this ritual by sourcing a stylish selection.
Generally speaking, pottery and ceramics can be categorized into three main types: earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. Earthenware is rooted in the earliest forms of pottery, dating back to the Neolithic Period. As it is very porous, the biscuit (or, unglazed ceramic) is coated in a glaze. It is generally made from clay with large amounts of iron that give it a red appearance. Terracotta is the best example of earthenware today.
Stoneware is a harder ceramic, fired at a higher temperature than earthenware. The clay used for stoneware contains minerals such as kaolinite, mica, and quartz. The presence of iron or carbon results in stoneware having a dirty look. Like earthenware, it can be glazed for decorative purposes.
Porcelain is considered to be the most elevated form, producing a more refined result. It achieves complete vitrification, making it the most durable, sturdy, and translucent. Like stoneware, it contains kaolinite and is made from either hard-paste clay, soft-paste clay, or bone china. The earliest form of porcelain discovered was bone china. It contained finely ground animal bone (thus, the moniker).
Editor's Picks: Ceramic Plates
White Ceramic Plates
White plates are the most common form of ceramic plates. They set a clean background so that the food is the star of the meal. However, it's still possible to add interest via texture, such as the ones seen on Anthropologie’s cabbage plates or on a group of vintage, fish motif plates from 1stdibs.com. A unique way to pretty up plain white plates is through a scalloped edge—which can be seen on the Italian ceramic plates available on By Alice and Aerin's set of four ceramic dessert plates. Additionally, the one-of-a-kind, square Moon plates designed by Jean Marc Gady for Ligne Roset push the boundary between bowl and plate. For a classic, simple version of stoneware, these Hawkins New York Shaker plates are hard to beat.
Black Ceramic Plates
On the other hand, black ceramic plates can add drama to any meal. They can also be used as décor. French ceramist Dalo created (and signed) this bemusing set of four face plates that express different personalities. In a similar vein, these extra-large Barro plates in black terracotta are perfect for holding fruits or being used as a serving dish. It can also rest equally comfortably as a decorative centerpiece on a table. Crate & Barrel’s brand CB2 simplifies black ceramic in a collection of matte-finish dinner plates. Likewise, these Hasami plates reflect a minimalist Japanese aesthetic.
Black and White Ceramic Plates
Combining black and white also makes for striking ceramic plates that are especially charming when not filled with a delicious meal. Piero Fornasetti's witty aesthetic is depicted on six plates, featuring dining utensils in the artist’s unique drawing style. Equally as playful are these marbleized plates from Christopher Spitzmiller. As each dish is hand-glazed, no two are identical. Another option showcases a sunray motif that recalls the Aztec culture. Silvia K. Ceramics looks to a folksy style that references traditional Slovak culture for an abstractly designed result. For a mid-century modern take on black and white ceramics, these Finlay plates with a flecked pattern capture the 1950s style perfectly.
Neutral Ceramic Plates
Today's interiors are swaying toward a neutral color palette—especially, an almond-colored one. Kelly Lamb employs the language of sacred geometry for her nine-sided, glazed plate in pale celadon green that reads as neutral. Gray and taupe cashmere king Brunello Cuccinelli brings his love of neutrals to his set of plates and bowls. Salt added to the glaze before firing is responsible for this organic look on Blue Pheasant's speckled plates, which are available individually or in a set. Elements from the earth (sand, clay, and water) inspired German industrial designer Frederike Martens to create his version of speckled stoneware.
Hand-Painted Ceramic Plates
For the most decorative ceramics, hand-painting takes the cake. It's easy to understand the urge to paint plates that feature a blank canvas in white. Cabana magazine’s editor-in-chief Martina Mondadori Sartogo brings her elevated taste to house-branded plates in the Blossom pattern. Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri applies the tarot theme (borrowed from Mr. Christian Dior's superstitious tendencies) on this set of four plates. Carolina Irving & Daughters’ tulip dinner plates are embellished with a subtly rendered flurry of floral bouquets. From the same family brand comes the Olympia, which is hand-painted in Spain, evoking the colors of Greece.
Animalia Ceramic Plates
Flowers aren’t the only aspect of nature that designers and artists love to depict on plates. The animal kingdom also serves up a plethora of inspiration. To wit, these tiger-themed plates from Les Ottomans and these unique serpent-styled plates from Laboratorio Paravicini both depict the beauty in nature's fiercest creatures. Christopher Spitzmiller, conversely, combines two of nature's most beautiful organisms, the dahlia and the butterfly.