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I have a confession: I’m in my 30s and still using dishes I bought at IKEA when I was getting ready to move into my first college apartment. They’re brown (I know) ceramic and they’ve served me well, but after 10+ years of use, it’s time for an upgrade. And while I have big feelings about multipurpose shallow bowls (we can serve everything in those now, right?), I didn’t have any strong feelings on which brands I should consider for my long-past-due dish update.
Over the past few years, however, I feel like I’ve been seeing East Fork’s gorgeous stoneware everywhere. On my favorite websites? Check. While scrolling Instagram? Yep, there too. So when I got the chance to test-drive them for myself, I jumped at it.
East Fork’s pottery is handmade in Asheville, NC using clay from the Southeast. And while it’s obviously gorgeous stuff, I was intrigued by the company’s values as well. Employees are paid at least $22 an hour, according to the company’s website, and it’s a certified B corp and climate neutral certified. It also partners with local nonprofits and others working to make the world a better, kinder place, particularly for marginalized groups and those who have been “systematically oppressed.” But what I really wondered was, how different can dishes be? Will I care that much more about these than my old standbys?
Spoiler alert: the answer is yes.
- Dishwasher and microwave-safe
- Heavy, but not too heavy
- Lead-free and made by hand
We don't like
- Limited bundles available (otherwise you can purchase by piece)
- Silverware use can cause small scratch marks
These dishes are showstoppers
I had, of course, seen what the dishes looked like before they arrived, but I found they were much prettier in person than I had expected. The matte glaze still has a bit of shine to it, somehow, and the speckles in the clay show through. I opted for the Eggshell color, a slightly creamy white that I knew would go well not only in my kitchen, but also make the food I served on them look great. But they’re so pretty that I would gladly use the small shallow bowl (aka the Breakfast Bowl ($26), though I affectionately think of it as my snack bowl) as a trinket dish on a dresser in my bedroom or set out in my living room instead.
They’re substantial without being too heavy
Have you ever used dishes that were either way too heavy or way too light? East Fork’s pottery isn’t like that. The dishes are the right weight, in my opinion, heavy enough to hold their own and not slip and slide around on your table without being too heavy to comfortably lift and stack in your cupboard.
It might sound silly to talk about the weight of your dishes, but these really are—somehow—right.
They’re dishwasher and microwave-safe
Sure, lots of dishes are perfectly fine in the dishwasher or microwave, but that’s not always the case with nicer, artisan, hand-made pieces, especially pottery. Though I’m not someone who dreads hand-washing dishes, relying on non-dishwasher-safe dinnerware for everyday use just isn’t realistic for my life (and likely isn’t realistic for yours either). I was pleasantly surprised to find that these do great in the dishwasher, which is really important if I’m going to upgrade all of my dishes to these beauties.
Set yourself up for success with a place-setting
As I mentioned, I love a shallow bowl. And luckily for me, East Fork actually sells a bundle that includes both the Everyday Bowl ($40) and the Breakfast Bowl ($26). The Shallow Dinner Set ($146) comes with the two shallow bowls, plus three sizes of plates—the Dinner Plate, the Cake Plate, and the Side Plate. While that’s a great start, it might not be everything you’d want in one set. Ice cream and soup bowls are deeper than the shallow bowls and the brand also sells mugs and cups.
It’s not just pottery
While East Fork is best known for its pottery, the brand actually also sells a number of other pretty products in case you need to upgrade any other parts of your kitchen now that you’ve overhauled your dinnerware. Don’t miss out on the linens, serving pieces, flatware, candles, drinkware, and the like. I have no doubt they’re just as good as the dishes.