Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Broken Plate Company

[This is one post in a series of twelve posts designed to feature a wildly creative and exciting group of crafters and artisans. Please take a moment to visit the shop featured in this post and all the shops featured on the left and right hand sidebars of my blog. You'll have the opportunity to learn about two fabulous shops a week - just in time to get all of your holiday shopping done. Enjoy!]

My grandmother was notoriously frugal (I imagine some of my relatives might interject and call her cheap) and one of her weaknesses was "free with purchase" things. In the 1950s, grocery stores would offer pieces of dinnerware collections based on the number of points you collected or dollars you spent. She managed to acquire over 18 place settings of this particular line of dinnerware, including many serving pieces. 'Twas a pleasure indeed to hear that these were all being passed down to me (*groan*). They still sit in a box, neatly packed away because I have no room for a fancy-looking setting of dinnerware in my life.

Here's where Juliet Ames comes in. The Broken Plate Company, her brainchild, is where boxed up fancy dishes from your Nanny and memories come alive and are given a renewed purpose. Juliet breaks each and every plate with love...and force...crafting them into a collection of inspired and versatile pieces. Did you break your Great Aunt Myrtle's favorite serving plate? No bother! Send it her way and she can craft a bevy of wearable delights with which to adorn yourself and ol' grumpy Myrtle. Don't have a plate but still need something upcycled to give your favorite friend, who happens to be a whiz in the kitchen or a hostess extraordinaire? The Broken Plate Company has what you need.

What I love about The Broken Plate Company is that every single piece has its own unique personality. Everything from a grown-up variation on the "best friends forever" theme of our childhoods, to cufflinks for the dapper dudes in your life, to a cocktail ring the likes of which has never been seen at any holiday party you've ever attended. She also offers custom packages for weddings and events. I can imagine a custom package would be a great gift for a family reunion, too! There's even a Pendant of the Month club, for cryin' out loud. A broken plate pendant has even been featured on more than one occasion around Rachel Ray's neck on her show 30-Minute Meals! I have to admit, I now watch the show with my finger rested on the pause button, ready to catch a broken plate pendant sighting. To top it all off, Juliet runs another facet of her empire called Mutha Crafter, a line dedicated to Rosie the Riveter inspired shirts and other apparel for moms to be. She even created a special "I'm So Crafty I Make People" shirt for pregnant folks in the queer community with, you guessed it, a rainbow color palate at my behest.

Juliet's pieces are remarkable and nostalgic in a very special and unique way. I plan on finally digging through that box of dishes this year and shipping a few plates up to to Baltimore to turn them into memories my whole family can cherish, which is something hard to do when only one family member has the whole lot of dishes. With the striking combinations of settings and color, style and design, The Broken Plate Company has something for just about everyone. When you're shopping for friends and family this holiday season, please stop by The Broken Plate and pick up a few things or have your pieces custom made. You won't regret it.

P.S. - I can't publish this review without showing you Juliet's enduring commitment to her craft. This woman just had an intricate rendering of a favorite plate design tattooed on her arm. Stunning.

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