Big Plates collection as outdoor entertaining goes large

Big Plates collection as outdoor entertaining goes large

LA-based design platform Tiwa Select presents a collection of oversized plates and platters by 13 artists and designers, exploring different craft techniques in honour of outdoor entertaining

Outdoor gatherings can serve up an extra-large helping of style and craft this summer; LA-based design platform Tiwa Select has centred its latest efforts on curating a collection of oversized platters, simply titled ‘Big Plates’, in honour of outdoor entertaining. Featuring the creative efforts of 13 creatives, ranging from designers Simone Bodmer-Turner and Minjae Kim to former editor Deborah Needleman, and presented in a barn upstate in New York, the plates, which will also be for sale online, run the material gamut. 

‘Our first group show was around mezcal copitas (in partnership with Yola Mezcal) back in June: tiny little drinking vessels that we thought would be an interesting challenge for the artists we work with. We wanted to do the complete opposite for summer, so commissioned big plates,’ explains Tiwa Select founder Alex Tieghi-Walker. ‘Some of the dishes are over 3ft wide. While we think of plates as functional objects, some have the capacity to heighten our sensitivity to situations around us. That’s the idea behind “Big Plates”. They’re a radical rethinking of generosity: decadence not as excess, but as joyful abundance in scale. It felt fitting for this summer to create objects that take up space and hold their own kind of power, prodding for connection with the world around them and connection between the groups of people who use them.’

‘Big Plates’: variations on a theme

Glass plates and bowls in white, light blue and pink, photographed on a wrinkled tablecloth with light and shadow play
‘Bented Plates’ and ‘Pointy Bowls’ by Heven. Photography: Ryan Lowry

From woodworker Vince Skelly’s statuesque carved wooden serving plates, to Minjae Kim’s ethereal quilted fibreglass creations, the many interpretations of what can be considered a plate invite viewers to see these tableware staples in a refreshing new light. The breadth of makers included in the show, many of whom are self-taught, also throws open to discussion the idea of what constitutes design.

‘It felt fitting for this summer to create objects that take up space and hold their own kind of power, prodding for connection with the world around them and connection between the groups of people who use them’ – Alex Tieghi-Walker

‘For me, folk craft and folk art have always been kept separate from more institutional design (and art). The artists are more unknown, their work seen as more rudimentary or unrefined. It’s rare for work by self-taught makers to ever reach the same canonical recognition,’ muses Tieghi-Walker. ‘But for me this type of work is perhaps design at its purest. Each one of the artists in this group is creating in response to a personal desire, or creating work on a much more intuitive level with materials that they find fascinating, or forms that they might find useful – or whimsical, which is just as important. There is a lot of soul and joy to this collection of works, and the pieces reveal a lot about the makers behind them.’

A large wooden platter leaning against the wall
‘Winged Wood’ platter by Nadia Yaron, spalted maple with natural oil finish. Photography: Ryan Lowry

He continues, ‘Each artist has their own particular material or technique that they use, and that variety has created a really rich collection of objects. Our aim was to create a show with very few limitations, and a simple brief: “create an oversized platter; this plate should enable people to connect over the object, and whatever is placed on it”. Along with my co-curator, Fiona Mackay, we have patched together an assortment of makers. Seeing all their plates sit together and realising what connection means (and indeed what a plate is) for different artists was really interesting and special.’

Ranging from stoneware and ceramics to clay, glass and wood, the collection of plates is rooted in naturalism, while exuding a highly collectible quality. Each of the 13 platters has been produced in editions of four or six, and will suit any indoor or open-air gathering. §

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