Let’s Talk Plates

Last week I was on the N train between 42nd Street and 34th street when I got a text from my friend and stylist extraordinaire Victoria. (It’s still surprising to me that I can get a signal in those deep, dark tunnels.) She wrote “Go to Prop Workshop on 30th and Broadway.” She knew I was looking for plates to use for one last book photo shoot, and her text was too serendipitous to ignore — Broadway and 30th street was a 30-second walk from my next subway stop. Even though I was headed way downtown, I got off and five minutes later found myself on the 14th floor of a nondescript building in Herald Square that rented every possible color, style, and shape of plates, platters, bowls, pitchers, pie dishes, cake stands, creamers, butter dishes, pots, pans, trivets, counter surfaces, you name it. If it could be found in a kitchen, it was in this prop house, which was about the size of two football fields, populated by clipboard-wieldling photographers and stylists, and lined with neatly organized shelves like the ones you are looking at above and below. My first thought was the usual This city is amazing. Look at all the inspiration hiding in plain sight! My second thought was Oh sh#t, how am I going to be able to pick just a few.

I had a limited budget and a very targeted mission — breakfast plates. Not too much pattern. Something with character, something that looked like it would belong in my kitchen. I needed some back-ups in case the ones that I already owned didn’t work. (Are you impressed or horrified by how much thought goes into these things?) I headed to the “hand-thrown” section, which, as I’m sure you know by now, is the direction I am loving in dinnerware. I’m definitely not the first person to express my fondness for plates that are slightly lopsided, as though your best friend the potter gave them to you for your last birthday. I picked out a few, then had them wrapped up, and signed on the dotted line.

When I got home and opened up my bin, I noticed that one of the plates — my favorite of the bunch — had the label “Canvas” branded on the back. This is actually the real reason for this post. Do you guys know about Canvas here in New York (and London)? You probably do. It’s a home store (furniture, accents, decor as well as dining ware) and has been around for a few years now, but all of a sudden, I feel like I can’t go a day without someone mentioning it to me. Where’s that platter from? Canvas. Where can I find a creative engagement gift? Canvas. Where is the Remodelista market happening again? Canvas. Where’d you get those throw pillows? Oh, they’re custom, but Canvas makes a very similar one. So after my photo shoot — sorry to be so cryptic about it, but all will be revealed soon — I spent some time on the Canvas site to search for other nice plates that I thought might make your family dinners that much happier.  I landed on the ones you’re looking at above, Abbesses Hand-Glazed Plates in Blue (but there is also Red, Grey, GoldGreen). They’re not the steal-of the-century exactly, but for the quality and design, they are certainly reasonable…and also on sale, starting at $7.50.

And here are some plates from the Lines Terra Cotta line. Shown in blue, but they also have white.

And I’m loving the Seagate Oval Slab above, which I think would make a beautiful gift for someone — even if just for yourself –and is on sale for $28.50. (Note: I also own the round platter shown above and use it all the time, but I can’t find it anywhere on their site.)

Anyway, I encourage you to do some hunting around and report back.

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I had no idea! Great plates. I’m a sucker. I’m also out of cabinet space….


I’m only asking this because you have an appreciation / affinity for language. I always thought the phrase is “all of a sudden” instead of “all of the sudden”. Maybe this is a regional thing?


I love that you asked this question. A quick check with the google machine tells me “all of the sudden” is not a regional thing — it’s just plain wrong. Thanks for today’s grammar lesson, @Michele!


Ha! I love Canvas and we bought the Abesses plates last summer. We love them. I will say, due to their slight lip, they are tricky to load in the dishwasher. And the coffee mugs are a wee but on the small side but they are gorgeous.


Ahh! I needed to know about CANVAS last week when we were in NYC! That prop house sounds amazing as well. And dangerous.

Side note: Thanks for the NYC restaurant guide. It occurred to me right before we left on our trip that you might have one, and it did not disappoint. The highlight was Co. Pizza – we had a great night out there last Saturday.

Ceri Cortes Thomas

Hi Jenny I’ve read your blog from start to finish over the last couple of months after hearing you on a Real Simple podcast. I can’t tell what a help it is. I’ve got so many recipes from it that my kids actually eat with no complaining, even chicken which my oldest has always sworn she hates! I’ve also adopted the ‘never say what’s for dinner’ trick and that’s cut down a lot of grumbling before we eat.
Would you or Andy do a beginners guide to barbecuing in the next month or so, please? We’ve got a Weber charcoal grill and I’m never sure of basic stuff like whether I should put on the hood or where to put stuff on the grill. It’d be a real help if you could, please!
Thanks Ceri in the UK


I love those plates but am turned off a bit with this: “Dishwasher safe. Hand wash recommended.” So which is it?! 🙂
Thanks Jenny.


What a delicious post. Dinnerware in its many forms has long been an obsession of mine! Though I lived in a condo for 7 years; I amassed quite a collection 🙂 There is something so exciting about new dishes & all the promise they hold. Thanks for such a lovely post!


Canvas is my weakness but to add insult to injury (at least in terms of my wallet) it is right around the corner from Fishs Eddy and ABC Carpet. It’s a trifecta of danger.