To ‘serve’ with love

I recently discovered ISTLONDON, founded by  John William Micklethwaite. Its first workshop apparently started operating in 2013 but it began selling in August 2014. Actually the credit goes to my younger sister who bought its blue pastel dessert platter and serve bowls from the main shop in Alcati (a town on Turkey’s Çeşme Peninsula, on the Aegean Sea, known for its beaches, old stone houses and winemaking tradition) recently during her holiday.

So after checking with John I quickly added this too onto my shopping list for London as the porcelain is fine and available at W A Green, Closet & Botts, 181 Delecatessen & Heal’s. They claim to have used only the world’s best porcelain – Limoges (which is from Llmoges, France) and Mount Blanc; even though the latter is not easily malleable in handmade processes, but its sheen reflects the light perfectly.

IST_London_dinnerware-1Photo credit: Heal’s

rectangular-platters-square-serving-dishes-istlondonPhoto credit-Century Design

Belonging to London he designs the range from there and looks into the England business. While his wife hailing from Istanbul looks after the Turkish business and designs the shops. Infact, this is how they arrived at this brand name – ISTLONDON.

Through our email exchanges he filled me in further, “I actually have an archaeology degree, but art has been my passion since university days. But iIt was much later that I enrolled myself for a couple of ceramic courses in England itself as we wished to create our own tableware for our hotel. Everything available in the market was very boring or pattern based. So we decided on simple designs, pastel colours and very thin porcelain (almost paper thin) as that was what suited our aesthetics and requirement.” John calls it utilitarian art work as it easily comes in use because of being dishwasher and oven safe. Also all its raw material is food friendly.

Before the hotel opened their friends had started appreciating his products. So the couple opened a shop in the same city where the hotel was being built. When it became popular they took on more ovens, and students joined them to expand their merchandise. Herein he quips, “All this happened completely organically, there was no grand plan. We have moved to a bigger workshop and opened a shop in Istanbul (in the same place of our original workshop), while selling at stores across Turkey, France and England.”

The slipcast technique provides uniformity to handmade stuff which lends a character to every piece. Simplicity and minimalism is the focus here. And, I’m not astonished when he mentioned the names of ceramic artists who’ve inspired him in the past – Sasha Wardell (my original teacher) and Sue Pyke.

IMG_1648Photo credit: istlondonboutiquehotel

After viewing them at any of the aforementioned stores one could also write into to reorder your choice of tableware, as delivers internationally as well.


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