We began an endeavor in geology last November when we set out to harvest clay and manufacture plates straight from our backyard.
Executive Chef Jamie Simpson, my partner in all things, invited Nate Mell of FELT+FAT, along with expert forager Jessica Hans to dig up the earth around us and bring a deeper sense of place to the dinnerware portfolio at The Culinary Vegetable Institute.
We uncovered spectacular ranges of color and texture that usually only the earth gets to see. Rare and elusive forms were created by:
- Digging up the banks of the Huron River for clay, shale, and foraging materials from which we drew regional inspiration.
- Soaking our findings and slaking out clay and glazes on plaster slabs.
- Mixing slurries of glazes and slips for decorating.
- Shaping forms by hand, both free form and on surfaces of meaningful items around the property.
- Placing wares in barrels and setting them ablaze.
- Unloading our home-made kiln.
Mell is no stranger to experimentation. He has pioneered a collaborative design and manufacturing studio that is coveted by some of the greatest chefs in the US. Its success is based off the needs of one chef in particular: Eli Kulp, who was the Executive Chef of High Street on Market in Philadelphia, PA. In 2014, Kulp approached Mell in need of dinnerware for his new restaurant. Since then, FELT+FAT has gone from a humble pottery studio in Kensington, Philadelphia, to an internationally recognized, hospitality focused tableware brand.
Mell now partners with some of the industry’s brightest stars. When interviewed in Restaurant Hospitality, Chef Brad Kilgore expressed how he couldn’t put his new restaurants’ signature dish in a traditional vessel. Instead, he commissioned the FELT+FAT studio to create a new glaze technique for the opening of Kaido in Miami, Florida to “mimic the texture and look of a sea urchin for our uni fondue.”
The eye-catching, Tetris-inspired wood display, drawing the largest crowd on the IRFSNY show floor last month, was their showcase. Inside the Singer M. Tucker booth, guests discovered porcelain clay slip formulated and mixed in-house and then cast in handmade molds adorned with one of the F+F signature satin matte glaze colors. Each is a refined forward-thinking solution to a playful pantone. The newest offering, Honeydew, compliments a 16-piece collection of finishes from pigeon and periwinkle to taupe and marble teal.
With creative collaboration at play in all directions, it’s no wonder that when it came time to find the perfect tableware partner to celebrate Singer Equipment Company’s centennial last year, we looked in our own backyard. LMT Provisions is excited to showcase the portfolio once again at Singer Equipment’s Annual Trade Show on April 7th and April 8th at our Elverson, PA warehouse, and reveal a glimpse into our next 100 years.