Meet the Ceramicists Who Make Plates for Top Restaurants

Meet the Ceramicists Who Make Plates for Top Restaurants

The Abbey Inn at Byland Tommy Banks

Every year at John Julian we send several hundred plates to some of the best restaurants in the UK and around the world. In the UK we’ve worked with The Beckford Group, Thyme, Updown Farmhouse, Tommy Banks’ The Abbey Inn at Byland, and The Wild Rabbit to name a few. 

A ceramics workshop has many parallels to a restaurant kitchen, we come in early every day to start with the clay prep and to fire up the kiln. There is a rhythm to each day and a lot of teamwork, communication and cooperation are needed. 

The Abbey Inn at Byland Plates Work In Progess

Ceramicists and artisan potteries like John Julian offer chefs and restaurants options beyond the generic dinnerware that is on the market. We can create handmade, hand crafted pieces that feel different. We can also bespoke each plate with the restaurant’s logo, name or a design of their choosing. 

In return, chefs and restaurants have really brought attention to ceramicists and the type of dinnerware you can have at your table at home.  

The Fox at Oddington Hand Stamped Plates
The Ox Barn at Thyme Impressed Line Plates
Impressed Bespoke Plates at Thyme Southrop Manor
The Wild Rabbit Hand Stamped Plates

We use stoneware and porcelain clay in our tableware because they are particularly durable materials, ideally suited to restaurants. In order to meet the volume of plates restaurants require, we shape our plates and bowls using a traditional method of jolleying. The jolley has a tool at the top of it with the relief of the plate carved into the side. The clay is placed in a mould, the mould then spins and the jolley arm is brought down onto the clay, the tool moving and compressing the clay. 

Each piece is finished by hand which leaves a trace of the maker and their work.  

The Ox Barn at Thyme on Impressed Line

At John Julian we make classic tableware that isn’t trend driven so restaurants are able to return again and reorder the same pieces in years to come.  

And how does the food look on it? We’ll let you decide.  

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