Posted on July 3, 2015
She’s the mother of an incredibly beautiful and tactile handmade dinnerware range, the aptly termed “Functionality” collection. She rules with a firm but fair hand and affectionately bestows her creations with names such as the Sir Mix-a-lot bowl, the Plattertastic and the Lady Baker. It was with equal parts of excitement and awe that we joined Patricia Fernandes in her home studio for a workshop with a bang. (And when I mean a bang, I mean a bloody good meal. Oh and heaps of belly laughs.)
Patricia’s work brings together a distinctly modern aesthetic of strong simple shapes with an ingenious way of using antique Indian printing blocks. Clean smooth ceramic meets its unexpected match with patterns that once graced rich saris.
Determined not to be just pretty faces, the hardworking pieces are also ovenproof and nonstick meaning that they go from kitchen to dining table without even breaking a sweat. Now that’s my kinda dinner party.
I love to cook. So the “Functionality” range was really born out of a selfish love project! I wanted to create high quality handmade products that looked damn pretty whilst also being able to withstand the rigours of everyday use. I want every meal to be a special experience whether you’re eating by yourself or having a meal with loved ones. Often you don’t realise that a special moment is occurring until it’s passed and for that reason I want to make every meal occasion special.
How have you seen your business growing over the last few years and where do you see it going in the future?
The label has been growing quite organically over the last couple of years. I’m heartened to see so many people recognising the beauty of and converting back to handmade tableware and using my wares to create their very own food memories. As for where I see it going in the future, well a girl can plan but it all depends on the Fates right?
How long does it take to make a piece from your Functionality range like the Punch Drunk Pitcher? Talk us through the process.
Working with clay makes you learn a lot about patience and even more about yourself. It’s hard to put an exact time on how long it takes to make a ceramic piece – it depends on the season, the ambient temperature, as well how intricate the piece is. The Punch Drunk Pitchers are really involved! First the body and handle have to be cast separately and then attached ever so carefully. They then have to be babied and showered with TLC over the next couple of days as I watch for any cracks that form before finally firing them. It’s a labour of love!
Introduce us to your new kiln, you’ve just recently had an addition to the family! And what a catch he is!
Pedro, my new hunk-a-hunk-a-burning-love, has joined the family and couldn’t have arrived a moment sooner. He’s a dreamboat really -you know, the strong silent type who always accommodates your every whim, a complete pleasure to work with. The only thing that’d make him more perfect is if he gave back massages…Anywaaaay…He complements my first little kiln so well. Though quite tiny, this old faithful kiln is not to be trifled with! She works hard and will fit in quite a few pieces if you know how to treat her right.
What other workshops do you have in store?
My goodness, I love running the workshops! I get a huge kick out of sharing my knowledge and skills with other makers and budding enthusiasts. Coming up this year I have an assortment of workshops available in two and four hour formats where you get to work with clay and create beautiful pieces of your own to take home (after you leave them with me for a few weeks while they get fired and glazed). These have been designed to cater for a variety of people, whether you’re a time-poor professional who wants to stretch your creative wings or someone who wants to have a more languorous “Treat Yourself” kind of day. I get people who have never touched clay in their lives except for that time in Year 4 to a number of repeat offenders who just keep coming back for more. Oh and did I mention I looooove to cook? I guarantee you will get fed, and fed well! For more details, do hop on over to my website!
Your workshops are so unique in that they always include a time to “break bread” and eat together. Do you always feed your students?
My workshops are so much more than an impartation of skills, I see them as a way of nourishing your soul and connecting back to oneself. Clay is so tactile and just has a way of doing that when you really get into it. Nourishing the body and sharing a meal together is a delightful added bonus, and all of my meals are made with the utmost of love and consideration. I absolutely love researching yummy recipes and cooking for others (I’ll admit it, I’m a feeder!). So yes, it’s only natural that there’s always an element of food involved in my workshops! Mealtimes are such catalysts for connecting and coming together, I’ve observed people starting the day off as strangers and ending the day having found and made a new friend. Some people even end up signing up for more workshops together!
Describe the perfect day.
I’m not sure I want to define the perfect day for me. I’m trying to live in the moment as I’m a subjunctive type of person, so I’ll describe what would be a perfect hour for me right now: Going for a walk with Rumpei, my beloved Sharpei, to a place we’ve never been before either by ourselves or in the company of a loved one. It’s the simple things that make me happy.
Being a professed workshop junkie, I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that Patricia’s workshop is one of the best workshops I have ever been to. Her love for clay and her even greater love for people is simply contagious. The atmosphere is so relaxed and there are so many moments spent conversing over food or whilst creating that by the end of the day you really feel like you’ve had a great day out with friends.
There are a range of clay workshops to choose from to suit your timeframe and you can make a variety of useful creations from cheeseboards to small hanging planters. Do check them out, sign yourself up, and get Patricia to make you the potatoes. (Refer to photos above to commence drooling)
Posted on December 5, 2014
Now it’s no secret that Darlings Supper Club received some rather scathing reviews when they first opened earlier this year, particularly regarding the food. But rather than run and cry in the corner, they took this feedback as constructive criticism, hired some brand new muscle in the kitchen, and have recently jumped back up with a revamped menu. The theme is still Asian fusion and the 6pm to 3am opening times mean you can get your dumplings and sake cocktails way into the night.
The fit-out is undeniably dark and sexy, and has quite a cosy but cool small bar feel. It looks so good that I can’t even remember what used to be here on this Lake Street stretch before, and I kinda don’t even care! There are lists upon lists of sakes, spirits, wines, beers and cocktails and they even do a mean teh tarik for those looking for a non-alcoholic beverage.
So let’s be honest here. It’s very difficult to please an Asian person with fusion Asian food. Aaaaand…I think they do it pretty well. There is certainly immense attention to detail paid to every dish that we saw come out and, rather than trying to copy well-known Asian dishes, new flavours are explored and fresh, local ingredients are utilised, helping the dishes taste fresh and interesting to the palate. Personal favourites? The Rottnest scallops with coriander pistou and most definitely the beef cheek with red cabbage marmalade, braised to sticky, fall-aparty perfection.
I didn’t manage to try any dumplings at this visit, and I major in dumplings, just ask my mum. That, my dears, will be a punishingly difficult test to pass. But with completely untraditional fillings offered such as triple peppered kangaroo or sticky pork with tamarind, I think I just might be returning to this cool and rejuvenated corner of Northbridge for a midnight snack and tipple.
Posted on October 13, 2014
The year’s second Kinfolk gathering centred around this concept and invited us to leave our phones and pretentions at the door to enjoy “a messy meal” in each other’s company. Some gathered round the table and others on the floor, the finest food was savoured and the conversation naturally ebbed and flowed, most notably “ebbing” when those divinely succulent lamb cutlets arrived. They demanded our full attentions.
Other notable mentions. The revelrous texture of our ceramic bowls, deliciously rough to the touch. The winsome greenery strung from the rafters to transport us someplace magical. Candles burnt down to their stumps, a night well spent.
Host & stylist – Stacey Clark
Floral art – Fox and Rabbit
Tableware – Eucalypt Homewares
Hand lettering – The Articulate
Food – Kent Street Deli
Drink – Eagle Bay Brewing Co
Photography – Still Love
Film – Oriss Films
Gifts – Aesop Skincare
Venue – Hush Espresso
Posted on June 20, 2014
Bit by bit, our favourite local food hole, Leederville, is transforming. There’s been a spate of changes along ye olde Oxford St, and there are a number of new, interesting and happening food joints such as Bill’s Bar, Pincho’s and and now Low Key Chow House. There is very little signage from the street to indicate Low Key’s presence but there’s no denying its brand new facade which beckons you to enter the warmly lit space.
The hip industrial aesthetic plays off well against the quirky menus plastered with the faces of Asian icons like Bruce Lee and iron chefs saying, “…And den…?”. The food features re-imagined Asian staples from Malaysia to Korea to Vietnam and back again. My personal favourites? The bak kwah sliders and citrus cured kingfish with betel leaf.
Take a peek inside.
Low Key Chow House / 140 Oxford St, Leederville / 9443 9305 / Wednesday – Sunday dinner, Friday – Sunday lunch
Posted on May 6, 2014
The reason why this one is so spunky, however, is due to the addition of dark chocolate and a few handfuls of toasted flaked almonds. The original recipe called for hazelnuts but it was 11:15am, my shift was due to start at 12pm, and I had to make the executive decision to use the already ready almond flakes over my non-toasted non-chopped hazelnuts. It was a decision that I did not regret! Yes, I was a wee bit late to work – but I came bearing freshly baked cake and soon all was forgiven and forgotten…!
Posted on April 28, 2014
I first encountered this Mexican street style corn whilst at a flea market in Brooklyn, New York, a year and a half ago. Jinn disappeared for a wee while whilst I was rummaging through some old records and when I turned around he had returned with two massive cobs of corn coated with some unknown substances and an even bigger smile spread across his face. I wasn’t even hungry but before I knew it, my corn had disappeared, every last little kernel inhaled deliciously into my eager stomach.
We’ve been trying to replicate it ever since and I think, by George, we’ve got it! Thanks to stumbling across this rad Jamie Oliver recipe and putting our spin on it, we’ve now managed to spread the cheesy corn love to the rest of our family and friends.
Posted on March 21, 2014
So after a few chilly nights where the doona came out last week, I thought this was it! Autumn was here to stay. But no, it doesn’t seem like Summer’s ready to loosen its grips on us just yet and those fluffy coats I purchased online a week ago have to sadly remain in the spare cupboard a little while longer…Darn it…
But here’s a quick and ridiculously easy iced tea recipe that I made on the weekend. It highlights Earl Grey’s naturally citrusy tones with the addition of an orange, peel and juice!
Here’s how to…
Posted on March 17, 2014
It’s amazing how much you notice the weather change during the drive down south. We embarked from Perth on a 39 degree Celsius day and I’d packed four sundresses, a pair of shorts and a bikini. Thank goodness I threw in a cardie at the last minute! Searingly bright blue skies were replaced by muted grey clouds, and unforgiving rays of sun made way for a nippy breeze that surely raised goosebumps!
Breakfast at The White Elephant was tasty and unfussy. A lovely view of the waves constantly lapping against Gnarabup beach was the perfect accompaniment to my bacon and eggs on toast. The coffee too was just right. As their sign recommends, if you look out onto the ocean and look left you will notice a formation of rocks that resembles an elephant’s head side on with just a tiny stretch of the imagination!
Alas, the water was way too icy to take a dip. But fret not, we’ll definitely return to this spot on a future road trip.
White Elephant beach cafe / Gnarabup Rd, Gnarabup WA / Mon-Sat 7:30am – late / Sun 7:30am-10pm
Posted on January 29, 2014
Many many years from now, I’d like to retire and have a small backyard orchard, full of productive fruit and vegetable crops. We would have far too much of everything to know what to do with, and we’d give it all away to family, friends, and neighbours. With all the extra tomatoes we’d grow, we would make litres of tomato sauce and bottle it up, becoming slightly famous as a result (because it tastes so damn good). It would be idyllic.
Well, the other day, I could scarcely believe it when my parents gave me 2kg of tomatoes. Here was my chance to have a head-start on retirement and make some homemade pasta sauce!
Oven Baked Tomato Sauce
This is a great base sauce that can be enjoyed by itself on pasta, served with fresh basil and parmesan, or in a casserole, stew or with meatballs. It can be left on its own in the oven for hours, allowing you to get on and do other things!
Adapted and altered recipe for pasta sauce from Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion.
Posted on January 24, 2014
We recently hosted the surprise birthday party of one of my absolute best of friends. I can barely remember a time that I didn’t know Dan, she always lived just a few streets away from me when we were growing up. We did many a sleepover, were choir nerds together, threw smoke bombs at Chinese school together, survived private girls’ schooling together, and then survived most of med school together. Our lives have essentially been the amalgamation of Glee, Ja’mie: Private School Girl (we weren’t Ja’mie), and Grey’s Anatomy with a splash of Karate Kid. (C’mon, you know you wanna watch that crane kick scene.)
Things have led me of late to pull apart and really evaluate the things I truly value. And it really boils down to one thing. Relationships.
More than ever, I appreciate and treasure these lifelong and genuine friendships. I could shave my head, pick my nose, share the highest of highs and most recently, the lowest of lows, and these girls will never desert me. Some friends come and go, but these ones stay a while. A long, long while. And I love them for it.