A beautiful table starts with dinnerware that’s made with heart from materials that last. I love Belgian-born, Los Angeles-based ceramicist Delphine Lippens’ line, Humble Ceramics. Rustic and yet modern at the same time, Delphine’s plates, bowls, and cork-top canisters impart a warmth and strength that’s striking on any surface.
I first discovered Humble Ceramics through a friend and soon began collecting the inviting, organic pieces for my home. When we started carrying the line at Jenni Kayne, we visited Delphine in her studio, where she shared her artistic process with us and told us about how she she got her start. Funnily enough, she more or less fell into the world of ceramics by deciding on a whim to take a pottery class with a friend. From there, she was hooked.
My favorite pieces in Delphine’s line are her harvested cork-top canisters, which can be used to hold a variety of pantry items and objects and also make the loveliest gifts. With spring cleaning and decorating on my mind with the launch of our first spring deliveries, I thought I’d ask Delphine for her perspective on these beautiful pieces. XXJKE
Rip & Tan: What inspired you to fist start making the cork-top canisters?
Delphine Lippens: I visited a cork factory when I was 7 or 8 years old and I thought it was fascinating and magical. I still remember the earthy smells!
We always had cork at my house growing up, too. My dad collected wines and my mom collection hand-blown glass jars from the early 1900s. She replaced all the broken bake-lite tops with cork. We would play with these little odds and ends for hours growing up.
I’ve always loved the interaction of two materials; the way cork makes any object unique and warm. When I brought my first thrown canisters home, I still had a few old corks at the house and that is how it came together—it just made sense!
Rip & Tan: What are some creative ways to use the canisters?
DL: You can use these for anything, it just depends what the context is!
In the kitchen, depending on the size, I have coarse salt, Celtic salt, specialty salts, sugar cubes, granulated sugar, tea bags, chocolate covered coffee beans, blooming tea balls, and more. In the larger sizes you can put pet treats—and whatever you can think of.
In the office, hide your rubber bands, paper clips, wires, or whatever you want to keep organized and hidden.
In the bathroom, you can keep cotton swabs, cotton balls, hair clips, or bath salts.
In the bedroom, jewelry, crystals, homeopathic remedies, essential oils—anything you want right there on your bedside table but don’t want to see.
We have a lot of people just display them in groups in their living rooms on tables or shelves.
Rip & Tan: Any Don’ts when it comes to using these canisters at home? Or interesting facts about them?
DL: I wouldn’t recommend putting cork in the fridge because if it gets any type of condensation, and the cork seals really well; it might get moldy. Personally, I would use the cork as dry storage only.
One thing to know is that you should never push down hard on the cork otherwise it might create an air-suction seal and the cork will be hard to remove. Just tap it down gently with your fingers, but don’t push it in with your hand!
We sell the canisters in Hawaii where there’s a tremendous amount of humidity in the air and we’ve been told that our canisters keep the salts dry. They are more or less airtight.
Rip & Tan: Can someone feasibly collect these and pass them down for generations?
DL: Yes! And please do so! The cork is sustainably harvested, but there are fewer and fewer countries that produce cork correctly (without killing the trees) so this is a vulnerable resource and should not be taken for granted!
We sometimes have to wait 3 to 6 months for certain sizes because the harvest is cyclical and they don’t always have enough stock!
Rip & Tan: Any new shapes or sizes you plan on making in the future?
DK: We are always working on new shapes and sizes!
Photo: Katrina Dickson
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