Polderceramics

— Drawn from Clay, Noordoostpolder

Polderceramics tableware is made directly from the earth of individual farms so that the vegetables eaten for dinner can be served from the same soil that grew them. Each clay body was excavated from the land of a Noordoostpolder farmer, refined, and transformed into usable vessels. The Polderceramic line retains evidence of handmade process and reflects the rectilinear shape of Noordoostpolder farm plots. Simultaneously, contemporary identity arises from the addition of legs, handles, and spouts designed by the famous Dutch companies Royal Tichelaar Makkum, Royal Leerdam, and Tingieterij Leerdam. Upon the completion of the line, Atelier NL invited photographer Paul Scala to document the tableware via compositions that pair the ceramics with local crops. This led to a series of vibrant still lifes that allude to the mood of 17th-century Dutch painting.

Photography by Paul Scala

"We wanted to make tableware so that the vegetables prepared for dinner could be served from vessels made from the soil they came out of."

It's likely that you know more about the origins of the food on your plate - than about the plate itself. Atelier NL dug into this dilemma through their investigation of the farmlands of the Noordoostpolder, a region in the central Netherlands that was reclaimed from the sea. By gathering samples of soil from farm plots, they worked the earth into usable clay. Using this method, they molded the earth itself into natural tableware that is both distinctly modern and classically Dutch. Atelier NL created locally sourced tableware so that the vegetables prepared for dinner could be served from vessels made from the same soil that nourished them in the field. Thus, milk can be poured from a pitcher made from the same earth where the cow grazed - and a bowl cradles strawberries or potatoes in the same soil from which they grew.

After collecting soil, Lonny and Nadine were ready to make clay. Then they sifted it into fine powder, removing any roots, twigs or shells that could cause cracking. The resulting powder was mixed with water and pressed the clay into molds. Polderceramic sets include a bowl, plate and cup - as well serving vessels and bulb vases inspired by Atelier NL's research into the evolution of dinner sets. According to Nadine, "Our grandmothers had a piece for every function, with all kinds of shapes and subtleties. For example, a potato bowl has two handles placed horizontally, but on a soup bowl they are vertical. We played with how the embellishment changes the function." Although Atelier NL's Polderceramics nod to history and tradition, they are far from historical replicas from days of old. Rather, they link past to present using modern shapes that are sober and strong, rather like the farmers themselves - along with key embellishments that honor the legacy of Dutch tableware.

Every vessel is geo-stamped with the number of its corresponding farm plot.




Strawberry plate - Atelier NL - Paul Scala

The curved blue feet of this strawberry plate were borrowed from traditional ceramics in the Royal Tichelaar Makkum line.