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Image / Editorial

Meet the Best Tableware Nominees

10th Oct 2016

Voting is now live for the inaugural Image Interiors & Living Design Awards. Need a little more information? All the nominees are introduced here, but over the next few days, we’ll be posting interviews with our shortlist. In the fourth part of the series, here’s the Best Tableware nominees…

Meet Diem Pottery
Thomas Diem, potter and founder of Diem Pottery gained an appreciation for art from?his parents. His father, Jerry Diem, was also a potter and this is where Thomas had his first experiences working with clay. His?aim is to, “create simple beautiful things that enhance daily life.”


Carafe, Creamer Jug and Beakers

Often Thomas works on many different products at once. “I always have lots of small different ideas in my head, and as some of them become more concrete, I will sketch and make small notes. When a piece moves to the actual making process, I know that there will be several incarnations before it is finalised. I always like to leave pieces that I am working on in view in my studio. It means that as I’m working, it keeps catching my eye and I can keep refining it until I feel it is finished.”


Bowls with spoon rest

Thomas notes the huge strides Irish design has made, and continues to make, on the international stage. “The year of Irish design in 2015 was the start of a change in attitudes to Irish designers and makers, at home and abroad. We have always been seen as a creative people but Irish designers are now seen as being serious competitors on a world stage. There is now a confidence in Irish design that can be seen in the work that is being produced.”


Assorted Pieces

Meet Adam Frew
Adam Frew, potter and founder of Adam Frew Ceramics, is based on the north coast of Co. Derry. ?Adam first tried?throwing and working in clay after leaving school at 16. “This was the first time I was really excited about something I was studying.”


One off piece

Adam explains how functionality is a key component in making his pots. “I like to cook and therefore make pots that I would use. Form and decoration is often a continuation of another idea. There is a continuous dialogue from one piece to the next, the material and process are the main influence in what I make.” New projects are inspired by the last design made. Adam thinks of how he can adjust an aspect of the previous creation with colour, mark making or form.



Adam believes there is?a strong sense of place for Irish design internationally, that it is viewed as “synonymous with simplicity, the best of materials and the highest craftsmanship.” Here, Adam has witnessed a rise in interest for design-led craft and contemporary handmade pots. “The Irish public seem to be as interested in the story behind a piece as they are in the actual item.” He is quick to praise the efforts of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, having taken part in many successful shows with them such as Tent London, Maison et Objet Paris and ‘Design Island. “They have really raised the profile of Irish design and craft.”



With each new day, a new process begins, “I enjoy working with a variety of forms and a mental note will have already been made?of my routine for the day ahead. A lot of my work is functional, but it is important that it works on an aesthetic level as well.”

Meet Arran Street East
Creative director of Arran Street East, Laura Magahy has been involved in the Irish architecture and design sector for 20 years. The idea for Arran Street East was born from the search for a simple, hand-thrown pot in great colours. “We were frustrated by not being able to find the kind of stoneware we wanted to own, so, after learning to throw, we made our own.”


The pots

Each pot is hand thrown on a wheel and takes one week to create. “As architects in clay, we’re intent on pursuing specific forms.” Glazes are developed and mixed at the studio and the subtle shades are inspired by the vibrant surrounding area. “Our studio is based in the midst of Dublin’s fruit and vegetable market, which is one of the most fascinating and unique places left in Dublin.”


The breadboard with pots

Generation of ideas is?constant. “We are always on the lookout for inspiration from the material world. Building on what we love in pattern, texture and colour, we design, and sketch, and redesign, and then make and prototype again and repeat it again and again until it’s right. Sometimes things click straight away, but more often than not they take months to mature nicely.”?Arran Street East are currently expanding their stoneware range and working with textiles, “so that every room in your home can have a little bit of Arran Street East in it.”


Espresso cups

Meet J. HILL’s Standard
Anike Tyrrell, founder and creative director of?J. HILL’s Standard explains how the concept for the brand came about. “It struck me that there was potential to revive mouth-blown and hand-cut glass for a new user who would appreciate the time and skill involved in hand-making glass.” Their goal is to create functional pieces, which are usable and accessible.


Elements 5 (Tom Brown)

Anike explains the fascinating process involved in glass design. “Glass blowing is hot and demands great speed to conquer both gravity and fragility to set a thing of beauty in a solid state.?It struck me too that there was much to do in the area of re-imagining the embellishment of glass in ways that would push the medium.” The family run business has immaculate attention to detail. “Many evenings have been spent in my kitchen holding glass up to the setting sun to make finally certain there are no flaws before packing it.”


Elements 3 (Tom Brown)

J. HILL’s Standard support businesses at home and abroad. “We work with the skills remaining in the area and aim to build on those through apprenticeships and collaborations with other glass houses. We want to exchange skills and build a more robust base level of ability here in Ireland, but also to support the industry where it is suffering closure in other renowned making areas such as Finland (with whom there is a long-standing collaboration with Ireland) and the Czech Republic, where John Hill’s family originated as broad glass (window glass) makers.”


Cuttings 5 (Tom Brown)

To vote for your favourite nominee in each category, click here.

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