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    Table Craft

    Ceramicist Amber Kendrick discusses her background and inspiration for Cloud Terre’s Collection No 2.

    There are few things more inspiring than hearing a craftsman talk about their work. The knowledge, passion, and commitment they hold to their craft are immediately apparent. Amber Kendrick, ceramicist and founder of Cloud Terre, is no exception. She is a craftsman in the truest sense and draws influences from her diverse array of talents into her latest dinnerware project, Collection No 2.

    Collection No 2 is rooted in simplicity and practices restraint in its form, texture, and color to create an undoubtedly elegant look. Kendrick approached the collection from a surface level and wanted to delve into the history of ceramics. She focused on surface application, as layering surfaces has always been a theme in her work. With Collection No 2, you’ll see a layered brushed surface where the bottom layer is akin to terra cotta. She describes this look as, “something like an ancient ceramic vessel coming through with that cream light brushstroke on top to help soften the whole palette.” Kendrick’s approach to color is cautious, stating, “Color is a dangerous game to play, and I like to be very neutral and restrained with my color palette. I think it allows the chef to produce and highlight what they do best. The shapes themselves are very simple, very organic, very soft. I always like to call it soft geometry.”

    Amber’s enthusiasm for the clay medium is apparent when she says, “It was love at first sight. Once you touch clay you just can’t go back. Something about the meditative approach to working with clay was a whole new world.” But ceramics wasn’t Kendrick’s first venture into the arts—her background is in dance and architecture, allowing her to draw from a vast catalog of influences. She describes her process by saying, 

    Typically, with my style of work, I have the pleasure of being approached by a chef who has a story he would like to tell. I’m privileged to become a part of that story, in which case the Chef becomes very much a part of my inspiration. So, just as I would approach architecture, I want to hear his or her story, what they’re trying to create, what type of experience they want the diner to have. From there I go back into my roots of architecture and dance. I go back to some Portuguese architects that I absolutely adore, that promote minimalism that blurs boundaries… I look at some choreographers that have a beautiful, simple, yet complex, and layered way of telling a narrative. From those influences, I always start with the clay and molding shapes and forms. I think about surfaces and develop glaze chemistry to be symbiotic with the form and what the chef is trying to communicate.”

    Collection No 2 will be featured in select Benchmark-Pyramid restaurants where it will bring great craftsmanship and sophistication to the dining experience. Chef and Benchmark Culinary Director, Olivier Gaupin, shares the same passion for food, beverage, and tabletop and says, “The value of good food and beverage is really the story attached to it—the purity of the product, the passion of the fishermen, farmers, and ranchers. My process involves attaching the story and knowing the source of my products.” Collection No 2 ties in with this idea of storytelling through food and beverage and will add a story of its own to tabletops in the coming months.