Ceramic plates are eye-catching; they make great décor. In our kitchen and dining room areas, we’ve decorated with some of our “family collection” plates because they’re both personally meaningful and attractive.
Nevertheless, they sure look fragile. You never want to be the family member responsible for the shattering of a 150-year-old family memento. I asked Kory Berrett at Berrett Conservation Studio for suggestions on safe display of our ceramic plates.
“The biggest issue with ceramics is always breakage,” Kory said. “The practice of adding a plate hanger to a favorite dish and putting it up on the wall puts it at risk. If the hook fails or the plate gets bumped, down it goes, and the meeting with the floor is never good. Some plate hangers have springs that put pressure on the object and hooks that wrap around the front edge. I’ve seen lots of plates with edges chipped or scratched by hangers.
“A better method is to put a shelf under the plate and put it up using a purpose-built plate support. The one I like is made by Gibson Holders Inc. but there are others that are also relatively safe. Some antique shelves have a groove for the plate edge or a rail at the front to catch a slipping object.”
Fortunately, we lucked into owning an old family cupboard that has exactly the kind of groove that Kory mentioned. The plates look great on it, too! (For these photos, we’ve cleared out the items in front of the plates for a clearer look at that plate groove display. We hope the items normally in front of the plates might help to cushion the blow in the unlikely event of any of the plates toppling over.)
© 2011 Lee Price