“I had the good fortune of marrying a Texan,” says potter Keith Kreeger. After many years in the northeast, he and his wife moved to Austin in 2009, “when it was really beginning to explode food-wise. It was definitely the right timing.”
Enter Austin chef Paul Qui. Kreeger exclusively produced all of the dinnerware for Qui’s restaurant, which makes sense, given that the chef is a particularly visual one. “He’ll shoot me a text with a photo of something and say, ‘Can you do something like this?’” says Kreeger. Yes. Yes, he can. “A lot of my work is pretty simple, but it frames the food particularly well.”
For that reason, other chefs have taken notice. Shawn Cirkiel, of Austin’s Parkside and Chavez, is a fan. Tim Maslow is bringing some of Kreeger’s work to Ribelle in Brookline, Massachusetts. “We’re doing a special red version of the Hudson Line for him,” says Kreeger. He just began work on some items for Mike Lata and Jason Stanhope at Fig in Charleston, South Carolina. And, at Oregon food festival Feast Portland this September, he’ll provide the goods for a dinner put on by chefs Jenn Louis and Edward Lee.
“The main focus of my work is that it’s used,” says Kreeger. “The shift to restaurants has been incredible. The mount of people who are using my dinner set—180 people can go through that each night. All of those people are interacting with my work. It’s humbling and inspiring to me.”
So does Kreeger cook? Yes. A peek at his Instagram feed will prove that. We assumed that must mean he uses the cream of the ceramic crop for his dinners, but alas, it’s all stacks of seconds.
“When my wife and I got engaged, I told her not to request dinner plates and things on our registry,” says Kreeger. “‘I’ll just make them,’ I thought. Well, it will be our thirteenth anniversary soon and she’s still waiting for an actual whole set.” Maybe a never-too-late Mother’s Day present, Keith?
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The lines are "a way of using the form and leaving it basic, but framing it with a little bit of embellishments," says Kreeger. Striped Ramel Bowl; Photo credit: Daniel Brock
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"It's clean and contemporary, but still has a handmade quality," says Kreeger. "I never hide the fact that my hands were on the piece." Hudson Dinnerware; Photo credit: Daniel Brock
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"There's that little bit of bleed from the line," says Kreeger. "It gives movement and a little bit of life to that rigid line." Essential Serving Bowl, Deep Line; Photo credit: Daniel Brock
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Oval Snack Platter; Photo credit: Daniel Brock
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Limited-Edition Large Round Serving Platter; Photo credit: Daniel Brock
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Large Oval Serving Platter (with food!); Photo credit: Kate LeSeuer