Diana Ellinger

Artist and illustrator

Tomato Red

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My grandmother is like no other. Marimekko clad, acutely aware of colour and with an incredible design knowledge, she has a unique style. Sydney-Gran (a name that has stuck, despite gran leaving Sydney about 30 years ago) also makes beautifully simple, functional ceramic homewares – bowls, plates and mugs – all of which she creates for her own use. Her philosophy is straight forward, if it doesn’t stand up to years of wear-and-tear, stack neatly in cupboards and most importantly fit neatly into a carefully considered palette, then it’s no good. The idea is simple but effective, so effective that if you’re lucky enough to inherit a cereal bowl or a mug, you cherish it. Slate-grey with smatterings of charcoal, gritty sand wiped with creamy whites or a wholesome tomato red, each piece is worthy of any mantle.

When I visited gran recently she was telling me about her favourite glaze, the tomato red pictured here with the moth wing, and how years ago a very nice Japanese potter gave her his formula for the glaze. She talks of the formula wistfully as she no longer has a supply and isn’t sure how to find it again. After a trip to the garage to help her spray under her wheel for spiders, she produced a little stack of tomato red plates, and another stack of pottery annuals! Lucky, lucky me!

It seems now every where I look I see tomato red. Thanks nana, you are an inspiration.

Does this make you want to paint a still-life?

My grandmother's favourite glaze

gifts from nana

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Author: Diana Ellinger

Independent creative – artist, illustrator and graphic designer.

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