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The art of setting the table: Artisan tableware for spring

Words by Alice Florence Orr

Interview with Alessandra Russo

Five Minute Read

Inspired by the sea, Anna Badur's ceramics are new modern classics

We sat down with Alessandra Russo to hear about her table stories

Every artisan piece tells a story. Nobody knows this better than our Head of Content, Alessandra Russo. For years, she has been collecting ceramics, pottery, and other craftsmanship pieces from her global travels — for her, each one evokes a memory that she cherishes. In this article, she shares her favourite pieces and the stories behind them.

Alessandra, Head of Content

Q.

When did you start collecting ceramics?

A. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. When I started travelling in my 20s, I felt a desire to bring back something special from my trips. I didn’t want to settle for a magnet or a mug but didn’t have a lot of money to treat myself to big pieces of furniture either. Travelling on a budget meant I had to fit my souvenirs in a small carry-on, so the first time I bought a pink floral bowl for my breakfast cereals. I was in Stockholm, Sweden, celebrating my 21st birthday on a solo trip.

1616 Arita pay homage to Japanese techniques
Every plate tells a story

Q.

What is your favourite piece?

A. A bowl shaped as a resting dog (or is it a racoon? A cat?) bought in a Japanese temple town. It was hidden under other tiny bowls, all piled up on a dusty table in the back of a workshop in Kamakura. I saw it and it instantly put a smile on my face. I use it daily as a spoon rest, and take good care of it by washing it in lukewarm water. I’d be very upset if it broke.

Q.

What is your vision when setting the table?

A. When I first started collecting ceramics I didn’t have a vision, but over time I realised I was drawn to minimalist pieces in all shades of blue and green, from turquoise and jade, to duck egg and emerald. I hope one day all my pieces will tell the story of a life well-travelled, reminiscent of craftspeople around the world with one thing in common: passion.

When setting the table, I like to create a harmonious balance of shapes and colours. I prefer rounded edges and try to avoid pieces like vases, candelabra or tall jugs to let the conversation flow. I’d hate for guests to stop chatting because they can’t see each other.

Set the mood with a sustainable linen table cloth

What is tablescaping?

Tablescaping is the trendy technique of using tableware to express a mood or aesthetic at your dining table. It’s perfect for parties — or even a quick Instagram post. It’s all about layering different textures and colours to create your vision, from neutral hues to bold maximalism. Artisan brands such as Anna Badur, Made by Kihara Japan and Linen Tales craft beautiful tableware that you can use year after year.

In the winter, opt for deep reds, greens and blues with natural touches like holly branches. In the spring, choose light pastel violets, greens and yellows. Trust us, the art of tablescaping is easier than you think. So whether you're seeking calm simplicity, cosy hygge, or a bit of drama, read our tips on how to tablescape like a pro.

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