Decorating with Plates

May 22, 2013

Yes, yes, sureplates are certainly meant for your meals, but they can do much more, like smarten up a bare wall. For some how-to insight, we chatted with our head curator, Wendy Wurtzburger, who just so happens to collect plates and who has seen their versatility all over the world.

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A: What sort of plates are you especially drawn to?

W. Twentieth-century and contemporary styles from France and South Africa. Right now, I can’t resist Ruan Hoffman plates. I also love animal-themed plates, which explains why a butterfly plate by Natalie Lete caught my eye many years ago. That chance encounter was the start of our relationship with her.

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A: What is the most inspiring way you have seen plates used?‚

W. Kit Kemp commissioned multiple artists to design a plate with the exact same dimensions for an exhibition. There were so many styles, but the shape really pulled the show together. I’d love to make a wallpaper out of that! Also, at the Independent Art Fair in New York, I fell in love with Nicole Werner’s work. She put a dish rack on a pedestal with pots and pans and china.

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A: Any other interpretations you’ve loved?

W. I am obsessed with a repurposed bench that Keith Johnson made out of found furniture that was then embedded with plates. Not only was it an unexpected mix aesthetically speaking, but from a utilitarian perspective, it was genius because it had a plate to drop your keys! I’ve also seen amazing interpretations while in Japanlike ceramics organized into a grid, or wrapped in fabric.

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A: Tell us about decorating with plates.

W. Well, first, it’s fun! And I like that you can create your display at once, or continue to build it over time. The trend right now is to do something unexpected, or to manipulate your collection in some way. Our Little Owl collections (pictured) do a brilliant job of this! Also, something really simple, such as white plates in various shapes, can make a big impact if you have a huge amount of them. I also like putting up broken plates and painting a message on them.‚

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A: What are your favorite plates available at Anthropologie this summer?

W. I’d have to say the Ponza Mezza Canape Plates. They bring back such wonderful memories of our design team’s trip to Bodrum. There we had wonderful, delicious mezze lunches on mismatched plates, and sailed on gullets drenched in exotic textilesreally inspiring stuff. These plates would look great as a ceiling border on a plate rail, too!

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