A new tableware collection by Danish ceramicist Rebecca Edelmann for The Shop Floor Project. Inspired by The Great Frost Fairs held on the River Thames during the 17th and 19th centuries (read the story below).
Object: Three naive lions hold up a bowl, perhaps holding some bon bon or even lemon water for refreshing fingers between meals as Lilian Either recommends in her 1926 The New Book of Etiquette:
“The finger bowl, which follows a fruit course or comes at the end of dinner, is half filled with tepid water. The fingers are dipped lightly into the bowl, one hand at a time, and then dried on the napkin. Only the fingertips should touch the water. It hardly seems necessary to add that well-bred people do not splash the water about”.
Size: 13 x 18cm
Material: hand built stoneware with white textured lustre glaze.
Each piece is handmade therefore each one will vary slightly in appearance to the image shown.
Between the 14th and 19th centuries, the River Thames froze over at least twenty-three times, and on five of these occasions during the 1600’s and 1800’s - the ice was thick enough to hold a ‘fair’. The frozen river became an iced pleasure garden and hosted kings and queens, games of all kinds, make-shift shops, ice-skating rinks, circus tents, bonfires and even an elephant. But it was the description of the lavish feasts that inspired this collection of tableware from Rebecca Edelmann.
Rebecca works from her studio on Bristol, where she creates pieces in her signature milk-white glazes with a slight lustre and mixed with sand for a textured, ancient feel. There is a calm beauty to each piece in the collection, as if they have been frozen, covered with a layer of frost for who knows how long. Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando where she describes in length the Frost Fair of 1607, when King James I was new to the throne, and how, as the river began to thaw, it created a violent torrent with great icebergs floating down river:
“For furniture, valuables, possessions of all sorts were carried away on the icebergs. Among other strange sights was to be seen...a table laid sumptuously for a supper of twenty; together with an extraordinary number of cooking utensils”
The collection includes vases, jam pots, shell pinch-pots, asparagus spoons, flower bricks for single stem arrangements, lidded pots and serving bowls.
Although the collection is handmade in the artists adopted home of Bristol, the overall feel of the work certainly references Rebecca’s Scandinavian origin, with a definite nod to simple, rustic Gustavian-style - with bows, flowing lines, white glazes and a quirky elegance. The addition of animals, feet and faces comes from a love of ceramics from the 15th to the 17th century, in particular the white Meissen porcelain animals from the 1700’s.