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Top 12 Pictures from our Fall Photo Shoot - "Clean and Crisp"

We enjoyed putting together a Fall Photo Shoot with an emphasis on "clean and crisp".  Our sea inspired porcelain tableware designs are generally created with that "clean and crisp" feeling, and when shot white on white, we are pleased to share the results!

If you're inspired, feel free to leave us a comment!

(Thank you Jenna Reyna for such a professional job!  You can see her work at http://www.nwnightingale.com/)


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Psssst . . . about your table . . . (radio ad)

Clam Shell Bowl on Starfish and Seahorse Platter

Jan and I had a blast writing and recording this little ad for a local radio station this past week!  

(Perhaps you'll enjoy it enough to forward the link to a friend?)


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Quick Kale Chicken in a Clam Shell Bowl

American, Handmade, Porcelain

American, Handmade, Porcelain

Fresh, quick, healthy.  

Fresh, quick, healthy.  

Alliteration.  One of my favorite literary devices as in; "Sally sells seashell dishes by the seashore".  

Or as in today's, "Quick Kale Chicken in a Clam Shell Bowl".  

And it truly was quick, quick.  Like 10.5 minutes quick.  Start with a tablespoon of olive oil and dash of garlic powder on medium heat in an open ceramic lined skillet.  When bubbly, pop open and toss in half a bag of shredded broccolini salad (shredded vegetable salad).  Then toss in sliced and diced fresh green bell peppers, and a cup of fresh kale and you're off to the races.  

Drop in two previously prepared grilled chicken breasts (I like to grill up chicken breasts on my Traeger Grill and keep them in the freezer for occasions like this.)

Make a "nest" in the middle of the veggies.  Place the chicken breasts directly on the bottom of the pan.  Cover the pan and cook on medium heat a couple of minutes until warm.   Then plate the veggies and place the chicken on top of our handmade porcelain Clam Shell Bowls.  

Simmer, quickly, serve.

Simmer, quickly, serve.

Garnish a few feta or gorgonzola crumbs and a few slivers of red bell peppers over the chicken, followed by a teaspoon of your favorite Italian dressing and serve it hot, juicy, and delicious.  

The slight earthy saltiness of the kale works great with sweetness of the green pepper, and the lid on the skillet infuses the chicken with steam and kale juice - and it's really tasty!

So begins our 30 day stealth-health food challenge.  He says,  "I hope every meal this coming month is this yummy!"

What he doesn't know won't hurt him :-)

 

Ingredients

Tasty, beautiful, quick.                                                                          (Photography tutorials offered by Pinch of Yum - see ad at right)

Tasty, beautiful, quick.                                                                         (Photography tutorials offered by Pinch of Yum - see ad at right)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
1 dash garlic powder 
2 cups shredded vegetable salad 
1 cup fresh kale 
1/4 large green bell pepper - diced 
1 tablespoon slivered red bell pepper 
1 teaspoon crumbled feta cheese 
1 teaspoon italian dressing 
8 oz grilled chicken breast 



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Seahorse Chopsticks Holder (aka Napkin Rings and Placecard Holders)

Handcrafted American Porcelain Seahorse Chopsticks Rest.  (50mm  ISO 200  f2.8  1/50 Natural light 0930)

Get Physical

In this digital age it seems many creative processes start and end with pixels being pushed around a computer monitor.  A drag here.  A drop there.  A resize, redo button, and quick 3D print later out pops a new design.  

Not in our studio!

Call it old school.  Call it Old World craftmanship.  Or just call it plain old fashioned.  But our product development process is quite different here at Beyond Jordan Studio.  

Often our design concept will start with a sketch.  Usually with a #2 pencil on paper (although we're not Luddites and occasionally use a stylus on our iPad using FiftyThree's Paper app for some concept sketches :-).  In both cases, the creative process begins with a very tactile 'hands-on' approach.

Other times, our product development process begins with an even more tactile 'hands-on' approach!   That's when we get our hands in some clay and start sculpting, pinching, manipulating and pushing clay around our physical "palette" instead of pixels on a piece of electronic paper.    

A Seahorse Wedding

And that's how our Seahorse Napkin Ring (aka Chopsticks Rest) design was created.  We had previously cast our seahorse from an original specimen and then "improved upon Mother Nature" with a few sculpted and refined details so that the Seahorse could be used for the teacup handle on our Seahorse and Sea Urchin Teacup design.  (Our 2 minute video called "The Making of a Teacup" at this link)

One day while producing the teacups, I had two seahorses on the table waiting to be married to their respective sea urchins.  At the last minute one of the seahorses stood in at the alter for one of the sea urchins and a new marriage was made in heaven . . . two seahorses joined cheek-to-cheek dancing down the aisle . . . and we called this new design our Seahorse Napkin Rings!   With a subtle twist of their tails and a slight bend in their necks, we were able to extend the application beyond "just napkin rings" and let them also become a Placecard Holder if so desired.  

 

Seahorse Surprise!

Jan and I were pleasantly surprised how the new Napkin Ring design came out, but we still had some production challenges to overcome with glazing and making sure they stood stable and flat during the firing process (when the trains come by and rattle the walls).  

Seahorses do Sushi . . . 

Seahorses do Sushi . . . 

We were surprised when we first stumbled upon the Seahorse Napkin Ring & Placecard Holder design, and then we were surprised once again earlier this summer when we ordered sushi for a photo shoot.  We had just completed the design of our Scallop Shell 3 Section Serving Platter and needed a place to rest the free wooden chopsticks that came with our sushi order.  

Surprise!  Our "napkin rings" and "placecard holders" now became "chopstick rests" in one more accidental surprise that happened because of a very tactile 'hands on' process.  

Improving our Photography - Perception is Reality in a Digital World

Pixels didn't help us one bit in this new product development process, but they sure did help us when we saw this blog posting's header image leap out of our Digital SLR camera's new 50mm lens into our Photoshop software last night after our 2nd day of training with the Tasty Food Photography class that we're taking (see purple ad link in right column).   All we could think was "wow" . . . that's beautiful when used as a chopstick rest!

 

Make Your Table Dance! 

We're not sure if there's a more versatile item in our line of porcelain serveware than these beautiful Seahorses, but we do know there's not an item in our line that provides more FUN and more value in more ways on more of our customer's tables all around the world (see our worldwide customer reviews on Etsy) than these Seahorse Napkin Ring Placecard Holder (Chopstick Rests)!   They truly do "Make Your Table Dance"!

We carry these items in stock on a year-around basis, and by following the link we invite you to acquire your own set of Seahorse Napkin Rings and make your table dance for your next gathering of friends or family!

Seahorse Napkin Rings

Seahorse Napkin Rings


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Porcelain Teacup - Photographing Seahorse and Sea Urchins in New Light

White porcelain teacup on blue background

With a new 50mm portraiture lens and some training, we're literally seeing our porcelain teacups (and all of our other porcelain serveware) in a brand new light.

Photography Training

Jan and I desire to be ever learning, ever growing, and ever trying to find better ways to express the beauty and artistry of our work.  To that end, we've signed up for a series of classes on photography (thank you FoodBloggerPro and Tasty Food Photography e-book) and in the coming posts we hope you'll see some of our "ever learning" bearing some artistic fruit!  

Seahorse and Sea Urchin porcelain Teacup in morning light.  Click image to enlarge.

Seeing Porcelain Designs Anew

All these years we've had a DSLR camera and put it on "auto" and hoped for good results.  And sometimes we achieved good photos, but only by accident.   Its somewhat amazing what a basic photography class can teach you, and our first set of lessons had to do with "depth of field" and "aperture" settings.  And already on the first day, we're seeing better results and perhaps more importantly, more control, over our principal method of communicating with you via our photo's.  


Porcelain Teacups in a "Scrape" of Light

At about 9:30 this morning with natural light streaming in from our studio's wall of windows, I photographed our Seahorse and Sea Urchin porcelain teacup and was so pleased to see this design in a new light.  The "scrape" of light (as our instructor calls it) coming across each sea urchin dimple and every scale of the seahorse's armor highlights our sculptural artistry.   The precision that we were able to capture from Creation and present in a new way in our soft glossy white porcelain comes alive in new light with our new tools.

Feeling is Seeing

Our Seahorse and Sea Urchin Teacup is captured in porcelain in a way that lets you feel the exquisite texture of Creation to go along with the smooth taste inside every cup of tea that our teacups offer up each day.  

We think a cup of tea should be more than a taste - it should be a feeling.  A feeling both in fact and in thought.   Our Seahorse and Sea Urchin Teacup is offered for purchase and you may see additional photo's and learn more about this design on its store listing page.

What do you think?

Bon appetit!

Jay & Jan


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Porcelain Seahorse Cake Topper Introduction

Seahorse Cake Topper.  Elegant wedding centerpiece!

Jan and I truly enjoy each and every function of serving beautiful products to our community.  And yet, whatever function we're working on, we always wish there were more time devoted to creating new designs!  


A Summer of Creative Sea Inspired Designs!

While we do constantly "flow" ideas and products through various development stages in our studio, the "flow" often gets interrupted with producing, packaging, shipping, customer service, and photographing, (tasting our food props for photography), etc.  So its been a lot of fun the last couple of months to have some extra summer production help (thank you guys!) which allowed us to keep the new design "flow" moving, resulting in our new Scallop Shell 3 Section Serving Platter last month and our new Seahorse Cake Topper this month.


Seahorse Cake Topper in a Beach and Nautical Wedding Waltz Forever

We love our iconic Seahorse pair dancing cheek-to-cheek, and we thought there must be some way to create a complementary stage upon which they could perform their waltz for the whole world to see.  The classic scallop shell became their dance floor and your wedding cake becomes their stage!

Our soft white glossy glazed porcelain Seahorse Wedding Cake Topper is a classic design with elegant lines that we hope will adorn the top of many beach and nautical themed weddings for years to come!  The seahorses measure at just over 3" tall and their scallop shell base is about 3.25" across.  (More details at our product listing for this design).


We Invite You to "Make Your Table Dance" with us!

Wedding Cake Topper - Make Your Table Dance!

We introduced our wedding Seahorse Cake Topper design early this past week to our e-newsletter community giving them first opportunity to purchase our limited handmade production run quantities, as well as enjoy a "community" discount coupon that we occasionally offer.  Below this post, please accept our invitation to join our e-newsletter community and stay connected and enjoy these same benefits in the future.

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Sectioned Porcelain Scallop Shell Serving Platter makes its Debut!

Scallop Shell Three Section Serving Platter - the Centerpiece that makes your table dance!

Scallop Shell Three Section Serving Platter - the Centerpiece that makes your table dance!

If you're like us, you have this friend who is so extroverted and so happy that a PARTY breaks out whenever and wherever she shows up!  Right?  Do you have her in mind?  

She's funny, clever, beautiful, and able to be in three conversations all at the same time.  And she is at the center of every conversation making sure everyone is included.  In fact . . . the party simply wouldn't be the same without her.  Now do you have her in mind?

Porcelain Serving Platter

We just met her!  And she's amazing!  In Beyond Jordan Studio's collection of sea inspired white porcelain serve ware her name is our beautiful and vivacious "Scallop Shell Three Section Serving Platter".  (Sure . . . we created her, shaped her, formed her from porcelain imaginations, and transformed her in heat twice over with a helping of glaze to clothe and protect her from dishwashers and microwaves, but until she arrived at the party we had no idea just how beautiful and clever she was going to be: so in truth . . . we have in fact "just met her")  

Scallop Shell Serving Platter - 3 sections and 4 miniature impressed sauce bowls

Scallop Shell Serving Platter - 3 sections and 4 miniature impressed sauce bowls

She carries every party tray presentation with plenty of space for every hors d'oeuvres, every sauce, and every dip.  With three separate scallop shell plates to her platter, and with four separate miniature clam shell bowls impressed between her plates which are perfect for dipping sauces and condiments, she truly is the center of the party.  

Versatile Scallop Shell Serving Platter

And she's clever too!  With the scallop shell's natural external delicate wavy ridges being sculpturally translated to the inside of the shell facing, she brings a subtle twist to Mother Nature that is sure to start conversations with a laugh and appreciation for detail not often experienced at every dinner party.  

So if you need a centerpiece to tie everything together in your nautical or beach dinnerware presentation, or if you need a stand-alone full-service all-in-one party tray, we think you'll find our new Scallop Shell 3 Section Serving Platter the hit of your next gathering!

Handcrafted Made in USA Porcelain Platter

Our handmade white porcelain serving platter measures 14" across and 1.5" tall with three ringed feet and proudly stamped Made in Salem, Oregon in the reverse side.  (We've assigned this beauty which can be purchased at suggested retail price of $88 the item number CC15 for reference.)

The centerpiece that ties every social gathering together:  our Scallop Shell Serving Platter.

The centerpiece that ties every social gathering together:  our Scallop Shell Serving Platter.


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Porcelain Clam Shell Bowls

We're grateful to Better Homes & Gardens for including our white porcelain Clam Shell Bowl in their June 2014 edition in the "Fresh" section (page 10).    


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Sea Urchin Tea Set on Grandmother's Buffet

Porcelain Teacups surround a Made in USA Porcelain Teapot in the sunlight

Porcelain Teacups surround a Made in USA Porcelain Teapot in the sunlight

Oregon is well known for its gray skies and rainy days throughout the winter and spring, but at this one magical moment yesterday afternoon there was a ray of sunshine at just the time when I was walking through the dining room during a quick lunch break from studio work with my iPhone to capture the moment.  

The moment of sunshine only lasted about 30 seconds, but this image captured many years of "made in USA" history.  The mahogany dining room set was made mid-20th century, the leaded glass lamps and platter were created about 100 years ago, the crocheted articles even before that, and the hand crafted porcelain teacups and teapot may still have been cooling from being taken out of our studio's kilns.  

American craftsmanship was evident in every piece!  Precise seams, lustrous finishes, textural integrity, flawless function, and lasting beauty: every piece of functional artwork truly an heirloom.  So when we say "heirloom quality", this photo captured the essence of what we mean when in a brief moment, the world stood still with a ray of sunshine illuminating over a hundred years of functional artistic expression centered on our dining room with grandmother's buffet and Beyond Jordan Studio's Sea Urchin Teapot and accompanying Seahorse and Sea Urchin Teacups.  

On some future rainy day, we can't wait to tell our grandchildren the stories each of these pieces of functional artwork hold.  Its this commitment to legacy that we create our porcelain artwork, and we invite you to review this, and all our other designs, which we handcraft to be your next heirloom quality keepsake.

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The Perfect Bowl

When you make bowls for a living, you come to appreciate nuances about bowls, and if possible, become something of an expert on bowls!   The truth is, anyone who has the opportunity to enjoy a meal from a lot of different bowls, or wash a variety of different bowls, or perhaps prepare a meal and cook with a set of different bowls, as well as put different bowls in the cupboard, all will have developed some level of appreciation for certain aspects of bowls.  Capacity.  Shape.  Weight.  Sturdiness.  "Tactileness". Heft.  Stability.  "Stackiness".  Cleanliness.  How easy a spoon captures that last drop in the "bottom-ness".   (See . . . YOU ARE an expert too!)

We've come to believe that ounce-for-ounce, our Sea Urchin Bowls are in fact, The Perfect Bowl, and here's why we have come to that conclusion.

Capacity:  Hot soup or chowder never tasted so good as when ladled from our handcrafted porcelain Sea Urchin Bowls!  The 8 ounce size of this bowl is also perfect for a large scoop of ice cream on that perfect summer beach day, or warm bowl of New England clam chowder when the Nor'easter blows through.  In every season, our Sea Urchin Bowls will serve you well.   (Our Six Ounce "Medium" version of this Bowl and our Four Ounce "Small" version of this bowl are also available under separate listings in our online store and just as delicious!)  To the lip of each bowl measures exactly 8 fluid ounces. We've enjoyed using this bowl because it is so versatile! Soup. Latte. Ice cream. Cereal. Oatmeal. And because its a perfect 8 ounces it can be used as your measuring "cup" when experimenting with that latest recipe.

Shape:  Our design approach started with a sea urchin specimen we purchased at a shell shop on the Oregon coast.  We took this fantastic sea urchin natural specimen, and began a sculpture which was inspired by its spiny and bumpy skin.   We wanted to make sure every natural bump and spiny protrusion was authentically captured in our sculpture, because we thought "touch" should be as important as "taste" when using a bowl.   And then for finishing design touches, we "improved on Mother Nature" by creating a base and lip to complete the perfect bowl.  It fits in your hand perfectly, and it sits on the table perfectly!

Weight:   The porcelain bowls are 4" diameter and 2" tall, and due to the incredible strength of porcelain we are able to make the body of this bowl thin and lightweight.  It is nearly weightless in your hand at a mere average weight of 3.6 ounces, and this is another reason we can say ounce-for-ounce this is the most perfect bowl!

Sea Urchin Bowl - 4 oz

Sea Urchin Bowl - 4 oz

"Stackiness":   You can see from the photo that our Sea Urchin Bowls do stack wonderfully, and behave nicely in your cupboard by making room for others!

Eco-responsible:  Our studio, our kilns, and our computers are all powered by 100% renewable energy sources including wind power, hydro, and other energy reclamation projects that we invest in with our local power company.  So not only are our products proudly "Made in USA", but they are done with an eye to being responsible and sustainable as we pursue our craft and our products.  So when you share a meal with a friend and show them the backstamp on the bottom of our Sea Urchin Bowl that proudly says "Made in USA Salem, Oregon" by Beyond Jordan you'll be able to share more than a meal . . . you'll be able to share a story and a future with them.

In summary, we think our Sea Urchin Bowl is "the perfect bowl". . . and we think you will also!  Try one Sea Urchin Bowl here, or here if you'd like a set of four Sea Urchin Bowls.

Bon appétit!

Jay & Jan

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Shades of Gray

We're seeing gray in nearly every tableware publication.  Are you?  

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12 Days of Beyond Jordan

In celebration of the holiday season, we are having a "12 Days of Beyond Jordan" during the month of December! From today until December 12th, we will highlight one of our handcrafted, porcelain tabletop designs each day on Facebook and Pinterest.   Any and all designs can be purchased at our store at www.beyondjordan.com 

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What's new in our studio

In our newsletter, we feature our Seahorse Platter, how we make our Sea Urchin Teapot, how our "Shell Tunes" design works, and what's new in our design department.  

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Who shall I ask to the dance?

A thinner edge here, a more twisted tail there, slightly out-of-round here and there . . . they all have their own personality and we just love that they are each unique!   

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Come dance with us!

Come dance with us!

If you haven’t seen one of our newest designs, our Seahorse Napkin Rings and Place Card Holders, then this is the time to come face to face and say “hello”….perhaps in a fox trot as you decorate your home and set your table for that upcoming celebration.

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Sea Urchin Bowls

Hot soup or chowder never tasted so good as when ladled from our Sea Urchin Bowls! We took a sea urchin, made a mold of its spiny and bumpy skin and then “improved on Mother Nature” by creating a base and lip to complete the perfect bowl.

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Shell Tunes!

If you, or someone you know, loves music and has an iPhone4 or 4s, this might be the most unique and perfect gift in the marketplace right now.

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Firing and Packaging - Like Christmas Morning!

At a top temperature of 2,167 degrees, the entire studio is heated by the final firing of our porcelain designs in our kilns!  Which is a great thing in the winter, but not so much in the summer. . .

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