Fran & Gary Palacek

Working pots

Dinner Kaye Pemberton, Serving bowl

This is a picture of our dinner table late one Saturday night. The ‘wrought iron’ cheese plate with twisted handles was made by Gary and Fran Palecek at their Tallaganda pottery in Braidwood in the late 1980s. We have other platters but this is the one we always use for cheese. The pale yellow colours are set off by the richly dark but slightly roughened surface and the angled sides prevent things from sliding off when carrying it to the table.

The fruit dish was made by the Canberra potter Kaye Pemberton. Cherries and red grapes always look wonderful when placed in this dish because of its shallow profile and olive green hatched lines. I put white grapes in a different bowl. The potter’s mark ‘KP’ is impressed on the side of the foot ring but we had forgotten who had made it until we saw some of her work with the same mark exhibited this year.

Rod Dilkes. Pair of noodle bowls

The tiny bowl on the cheese plate with the olives in it was made by Rod Dilkes, a Western Australian potter based at Margaret River. His work is characterised by glowing dark colours and Persian-style lustres. I always choose a Dilkes bowl for things like olives or pickled onions or stir-fried noodles that have their own lustrous surfaces.

Moraig Mckenna. Teapot and cup. 2004

We have a lot of working pots and get great pleasure from them. I use this faceted wood-fired teapot and cup made by Moraig McKenna every morning while going through eBay listings before David gets up. I have made hundreds of pots of peppermint tea in it since I bought it three years ago at the Laughing Frog Pottery near Gundaroo (now the Old St Lukes Studio). The handle broke yesterday and I was bereft. I carried it down to the study this morning but I will need to find a replacement. It was heavy and warm in the hand like an old friend but it doesn’t pour as well as it used to.