Chances are good you’ve eaten from one of Clark Marshall‘s bowls or plates—Pallet Bistro, Table X, Handle, Provisions, HSL, Stoneground, Tupelo and the late Forage have all used his simple, elegant stoneware to present their food. Marshall, an artist who studied ceramics at Utah State University and Renaissance art history in Florence, is a gastronome. He’s worked in restaurants, reads avidly about food and, he says, “it was always my dream to custom design dishes for a fine restaurant.” He met Bowman Brown, chef at Forage, while dining there and ended up making plates for the restaurant.
More and more, chefs are recognizing the importance of the dishes they put under their carefully conceived food. The heft, color and texture of a plate or bowl is like a frame for a painting—it reiterates the aesthetic of the food while setting it apart from the rest of the context. Listen to the gentle scrape of your fork or spoon across the hand-sanded surface of one of Clark’s plates. Appreciate the gentle finish of the clay, not shiny or reflective, but with an organic feel like eroded rock. It’s the perfect complement to today’s close-to-the-earth cuisine.