Cooking, presenting, illustrating, blogging, writing: it seems there’s nothing that all-rounder Yvette van Boven can’t turn her hand to. Whatever she comes up with is bound to be a success. Now she’s added a new string to her bow: textile and tableware design. Together with &Klevering, Yvette van Boven has designed the “Yvette van Boven Veggy” series.
How did the partnership with &K come about?
I’d already been toying with the idea of making prints and fabric designs for aprons and napkins for some time, but then I thought, why not ceramics too? When I came into contact with &Klevering, we clicked immediately, and decided to develop a range of products together. It was fantastic to do this project with them. They have a lot of experience in producing items. It sounds really trite, but it truly was a dream come true to be able to do this. I’d planned to do nothing for a year, but then all of a sudden there was another book, a TV series, tableware, textiles. Whenever something like this comes my way, I always think: you should take advantage of such great opportunities!
What’s tableware to you?
I’m an avid collector of tableware and individual porcelain pieces. I’ve loved them since I was a child. We often received plates with letters and animals on them. A couple of years ago, I started lessons in sculpting with clay, just to see if I could do it. I’m not afraid to start something I’ve never tried before. I just get started, and then all of a sudden I’m in the middle of it and it’s working too! It’s a bit like Pippi Longstocking’s fearless attitude: I’ve never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that.
Clay sculpting is a little like kneading dough, but a lot harder going. But both activities are so relaxing. Once you’re doing it, that’s the only thing you can do. You’re up to your elbows in clay or dough. I have the same thing with cooking. You can’t just quickly go and do something on the computer, or send a message. No, you’re very focused on doing this one thing. Wonderful.
So how did it turn out?
I designed two lines. One with watercolours and ink for porcelain tableware that includes plates, mugs, bowls and a water jug. I really pushed for that last item, because I’m mad about water jugs. I have a whole collection of them myself.
The second line is a very summery bamboo and textile series. It’s a graphic series with images of vegetables. In terms of style, it’s a mix of modern with plates, mugs, a tray,
coasters, a tea towel, an apron and a little apron for kids.
For me, an apron is an item of work clothing; I wear an apron daily, and wipe my hands on it all the time while I’m cooking. It protects your clothing from butter and oil spatters, and you can put all kinds of things in the large front pocket. They’re really handy; I have forty myself, some for daily use and some special ones for television or photography. I really wanted the aprons for kids, although that was a point that had to be discussed. But children cook from my books, and often come up to me at signing sessions. I love it when they’re interested in cooking at such a young age. So an apron for children was almost a must, as far as I was concerned. These ones are absolutely not fussy.
How important is tableware as part of the meal?
Very important! A beautifully set table with nice tableware and cloth napkins is welcoming and has an appetising effect. I set the table every day. You have to make an occasion of it. I prefer to eat from porcelain or ceramics that are light in colour. I don’t think bright green, orange, pink and purple are an attractive background for food. Food has its own natural colour, and those bright colours are distracting.
As soon as the weather turns nice, I’m going to head into the park with a picnic bag. Throw your unbreakable bamboo plates into a bag, take a picnic blanket along, fill Tupperware containers with food, add a bottle of wine and your urban picnic is ready! Furthermore, the evening sun often shines on the nicest spots. In short: simple and cheerful ingredients for a great evening. This summer, I’m going to go ahead and use my own picnic dishes.