George – the home of Wonki Ware(Di Marshall Pottery)
When our daughter moved into her first flat the two of us went to the factory shop in York Street to find a few basic items in their little ‘reject’ room. She was sitting flat on the floor, sorting the Wonki Ware into little piles of four. Di Marshall happened to walk in and gave her an amused smile at which the 18 year old, not knowing she was speaking to THE Di Marshall, started telling her what amazing crockery this was, pointing out the artistic designs, beautiful colours and delicate, yet durable quality of the items. Di graciously told her that it was her name on the bottom of every plate and kindly started helping her find 4 of everything. Today the shop is much better organized than those days and all the pottery is neatly stacked by colour and design. I still feel like a kid in a candy store when I walk in there though – can’t make up my mind!
One of their bestsellers is called the lace design. They make this plate by pressing real lace into the soft clay before the plate is fired in the oven. Then, as it is placed in the oven, the lace design burns off, leaving behind a ghostly pattern. They are manufactured from non porous clay and the glazes are non toxic and lead free ; chip proof, oven, microwave and dishwasher friendly.
Wonki Ware is handmade by local skilled and trained craftspeople. She now employs more than 35 people and exports worldwide. And counts Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver amongst her fans – I often spot one of her large purple platters on Jamie Oliver’s food shows.
Her tableware is also used by the Swedish and British Royal families. The business also have outlets in UK, Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Ireland . So there you are all the South Africans in London - go and look at the Wonki Ware in Harrods when you get homesick! You can also go to their website and order your items prior to coming to George.