The year after my son was born, I was sick, a lot. It was a long, virus-filled winter that drove me head first into the ‘health and wellbeing’ movement. Not working, not being able to work as an architect, I focussed all my creative talents in the kitchen. I learned how to cook. I learned how food can be nourishing as well as taste good. I became convinced by the benefits of soup. Bone broth is well known to be good for your health and I swear by it. There is often a chicken in the slow cooker in our kitchen.
So we eat a lot of soup. The problem was finding the right bowl to eat our soup out of. It needed to be hand potted (tactile and earthy), and it needed to be the right size. Big enough for a full and hearty dinner, not a side offering. Attractive to the eye, pleasant to the touch, and fit for purpose. This is how an architect thinks. Achieving this balance is something we strive for every day.
I reckon we had a good five years of searching for the hand-potted laksa bowls of our dreams. It sounds funny – but it is also true. I met my husband at a dinner party and the first conversation we had was about ceramics. So we were both pretty fixated on the issue. Every place we went to, I would pre-Google potters – we saw a lot of nice bowls, but none the right size.
We found these two a few years ago. They were hand potted in Auckland by Ace Firers. Touching them takes me back to my 1970s childhood and the handcrafted pottery I grew up with. They feel familiar, nostalgic. We were happy to support local craftspeople. To us, it feels like they have a place in the great tradition of New Zealand pottery. That can’t be easy to maintain, given how much the country has changed.
Right now, the comfort that comes from holding a beautiful bowl, full of good soup, should not be underestimated. Using them makes me happy. What would make me happier, Emily Siddell and Mark Goody, is to make up a set of six. My friends need soup, too.
Laksa Bowl by Ace Firers