Several years ago I decided I would like to have dishes that are all different. In order to make this work and not end up with complete chaos, I needed a few parameters. The set of white porcelain plates from my wedding registry was still intact, and there were a lot of them, like 12. So those were staying. The salad plates were dwindling, though, as we used those the most (and with two small people that like to eat, accidents happen). Plus, when we lived in Montana I had the tendency to knock them on the granite counter while loading the dishwasher, routinely chipping the edges or breaking them altogether.
I started looking for 9″ (or so) plates as well as cereal bowls. At first I tried to collect only vintage plates and bowls. But although I found a few great pieces at flea markets and antiques shops, mostly what I saw were not the simple modern style I was looking for. Amassing a collection that could serve more than four people would have taken a decade.
So I expanded my range to include new plates and bowls. I now have a “set” of 10 cereal bowls and a stack of small plates that are all different, some vintage and some new. I like it except I need more kitchen shelving because they don’t stack neatly. And when I break one, it’s gone forever. I will never be able replace it. But hey, it’s just stuff.
One of my favorite places to ogle dishes and other fun kitchenware is Fishs Eddy. With NYC locations at Broadway and 19th streets and Staten Island, Fishs Eddy sells thousands of edgy, unique and incredibly fun dishes, both new and vintage.
Most of my cereal bowls came from Fishs Eddy, in their own designs like polka dot, bridge and tunnel, and baseball pitches. In the back of the store there is a “cheap china” room which houses a constantly-arriving supply of restaurant-grade dishes. They also carry vintage dinnerware, one-of-a-kind sample plates and creamers.
Dishes are everywhere in the store, and if you’re looking for vintage, prepare to dig through stacks of dusty plates.
The other place I enjoy shopping for dishes is Anthropologie (which happens to be a place I also love to buy clothes… a dangerous combination!). Anthropologie collaborates with artists like Nathalie Lété, ceramist Sue Tirrell and painter Rebecca Rebouché to create stunning collections (see plates, top). I like to shop in the sale section, a jackpot if you are looking for single plates. If you want a complete set, though, don’t wait for dishes to go on sale or you will be scouring ebay for them.