The art of food at Devon Guild

THE major autumn exhibition at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen at Bovey Tracey is Plate Up!, co-curated with Michelin-starred chef Michael Wignall, and on show from Saturday 15th September to Sunday 4th November.

Michael Wignall, formerly of Gidleigh Park, has a distinctive way of using contemporary craft in the serving and display of food. Plate Up brings out the personality of this top chef and reveals the aesthetic and cultural influences behind his cookery.

He has selected top UK artisans who create contemporary crafts such as platters, bowls, trays and cutlery, for the presentation and consumption of food. Visitors to the gallery also have the chance to buy a beautiful range of functional, culinary craftwork.

Michael is known for his creative approach to dining – in projects that include Café Football with Manchester United footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs; the pop-up restaurant Dill in Stockholm using Lidl produce for an urban dining experience, and appearances on MasterChef.

The exhibition is structured into the five elements (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood) and based around beautiful tableware that would be used in a real restaurant. It is a unique collision of contemporary craft and food!

Michael says: “I was initially approached to do the exhibition because of my interest in ceramics. Devon Guild regularly showcased pieces in my former restaurant at Gidleigh Park and I loved to chat to them about new pieces that I had received and my admiration for the artists behind them.

“For me, food and drink is a visual art and I see the restaurant as a series of impressions. This means that the experience begins from the moment a guest walks through the door. The whole experience is affected by the aesthetics of the room and the items within, from the furniture the guest sits at/on, the art work on the walls, the side plates, the centre-pieces, the cutlery, the water glasses – it’s not just about the food on the plate!”

The exhibitors are: Chloé Rosetta Bell (Whinblossom Ceramics), Hilary Burns (Basketry), Brigitte Colleaux  (Ceramics),  Jon Curtis (Ceramics), James Devereux (Glass), Charlotte Duckworth (The Silver Duck – Silversmith), Alexander de Vol (Wood), Marie Eklund (Wood), Nancy Fuller (Ceramics),  Akiko Hirai  (Ceramics),  Evogro (growing herbs), Sarah Jerath (Ceramics), Daniel Maltwood & Justin Sinclair (Pareusi Knives), Melissa Montague (Metal),  Elvis Robertson (Ceramics), Anna Sibast (Sibast Furniture), Samantha Sweet (Glass), Dolores Swift (Leather), Ambrose Vevers  (Furniture), Cristina Vezzini & Stan Chen (Vezzini & Chen – Lighting), Nic Webb (Ceramics & Wood), David White  (The Whittlings – Wood) and Andrew Woodhead (Crafted Knife Company).

Pictured:  Food by Michael Wignall, ceramics by Sarah Jerath, photograph by Jean Cazal; Chef Michael Wignall, photograph by David Griffin; Alexander de Vol making a wooden vessel.