We love pairing specific food with mezcal expressions. Finding the right food to accompany a specific expression can help enhance your tasting experience and it's a really great way to introduce people to the spirit! We were inspired to make this plate from conversations we were having with bar and restaurant owners and managers. Through these conversations, we realized there was a deficit in product options when it came to offering single expression pours paired with a food companion...so we decided to make a beautiful and useful option to accompany our copitas!
We began the initial design process in February of this year. It started with a very crude drawing I sent to Kevin Greenland our CAD design collaborator. As you can see Kevin has a special talent for interpreting my "idea sketches" into a drawing that actually makes sense.
Kevin began rendering different size and shape designs. We would then build paper models to help us make scaling choices and send our observations back to Kevin for revisions.
Something we really love about the copitas is how they appear to be floating when resting on a surface. We wanted the plate to feel the same way, so we designed the foot of the plate to mimic the same floating effect. The oval design hugs the perimeter of a copita widening towards the opposite end where you can place a food item.
We went through countless revisions detailing every element by the millimeter, optimizing and trying our best to create a visually beautiful plate that was the perfect functional partner for the copita.
We decided to print a variety of 3-D models to see exactly how the plate would function with and without the copita. This part of the process was crucial because it allowed us to test the different designs in real life, so we could properly integrate aesthetics and functionality.
Kevin, Gabriel and I worked for 6 weeks refining the design, optimizing it for casting, stackability, and food placement. Sometimes I would joke with Kevin that I was recording our conversations so people could hear how insane they were - endless hours of design debate over 1 mm adjustments! (geeks? yes.)
This image is a very good visual representation of how much bigger the final model needs to be to account for a large amount of shrinkage that occurs when porcelain is fired in the kiln. The specific material compounds and multiple high-temperature kiln firings allow this high-quality porcelain to fuse together creating a non-porous, food-safe, buttery smooth surface which is very similar to glass.
(The clear resin plate below the white plate is our master casting model. The white plate is actual size and the clear plate is scaled up by 15% to allow for shrinkage.)
Michiko Shimada (our porcelain expert and technician) faced some difficult casting challenges in the beginning. Porcelain casting can be very tricky and this plate proved to have its own particular problems.
After some trial and error Michiko, being the master porcelain artist that she is, was able to develop a special system that produced a beautiful casting every time.
We are really proud of our pairing plates! A lot of time and thought went into creating these simple and elegant plates:)
We worked with Michiko to integrate a support structure onto the bottom of the plate to prevent it from slumping in the kiln. We were able to combine this technical necessity and our carefully designed bottom foot which allows the plates to stack beautifully.
The plates are available in all 9 colorways. You can buy them individually or as a set with a matching copita!
This is a sweet pic of me and Kevin captured on film by Gabriel:)
This is the story behind the process, materials and people that helped create our Brass and Leather Tray.