Plavetna brand ceramics are recognizable for their natural, minimalist shapes and pleasant, gentle colors and textures. Behind the brand is Luna Džidić from Zagreb, a biologist who combines her knowledge of plants with her love for gastronomy and art through various interesting projects. As part of the gastro blog Sunberry Jam, she writes healthy recipes for dishes made from plant-based foods, and presents the dishes in hand-shaped ceramic dishes made of natural materials. Everything is combined into a story about a sustainable and natural life as she herself lives.
The Plavetna brand was born out of the desire to make quality products from natural materials for myself and close people, which will be exactly according to our measurements. Today I offer ceramic dishes, brass jewelry and silk scarves. Everything is completely handmade from materials that are of natural origin as much as possible and that are not harmful to humans and the environment. I have almost no waste in the workshop – everything is used. I oxidize metal scraps from jewelry making and turn them into ingredients for ceramic glazes, and I also make natural glazes from clay scraps or use them in other ways in making ceramics.
Drinking coffee or tea are small rituals for many people that they like to enjoy every day. I think that such moments become even more beautiful and personal if the coffee or tea is served in a special, unique cup that has been made with a lot of effort and love.
The story with the ceramic dishes is actually related to my jobs that had to do with gastronomy, cooking and food styling. Namely, after finishing my graduate studies in experimental biology at the Faculty of Medicine, I started working on different projects that included a combination of botany and gastronomy. Among other things, I was involved in the creation of healthy plant-based recipes, and in the presentation and photography of dishes it was important to me that the food be served in beautiful and natural crockery. Since I had a very specific desire, and in Croatia it was difficult or impossible to get what I needed, I started making ceramic dishes myself. Soon I started getting many inquiries about the dishes in my food photos, so I started making ceramics for sale as well. Several years have passed since then and I am happy that people continue to welcome each new ceramic collection with great interest and really nice reactions.
The objects were made using different hand-shaping techniques, which means that neither a ceramic wheel nor molds were used for their production. The process of making such objects is naturally slower, and each piece of crockery is unique because it is impossible to repeat two identical ones. This is actually one of the ideas behind the Plavetna brand – that a person can enjoy a unique product that is carefully handcrafted with the intention of brightening someone’s everyday moments. For example, drinking coffee or tea are small rituals for many people that they like to enjoy every day. I think that such moments become even more beautiful and personal if the coffee or tea is served in a special, unique cup that has been made with a lot of effort and love.
I use very simple and minimal materials to make ceramic objects. I often collect clay and different materials for glazes in nature. I like to make my glazes from various plant materials or from simple components, keeping in mind what result I want to get and the function of which substance in the glaze. Often, this involves several attempts on the way to the desired result, which sometimes means that months of research were invested in the final result.
Ceramics requires patience, since natural processes cannot always be controlled and accelerated. After shaping the ceramic object, it needs a certain amount of time to dry so that it is ready for the first firing in the ceramic kiln. Then the glaze is applied, followed by another firing so that everything changes its structure and becomes a piece of crockery that the user can see. This whole process usually takes at least a few weeks, and you need to be focused and careful in every step so that everything turns out as it should. To a large extent, the clay dictates the dynamics of the process of making a ceramic object and this should be respected if you want the result. Today, the pace of life and work is such that everyone wants to see results quickly, preferably immediately. But with clay it is impossible, it returns us to a more natural state and teaches patience and presence. I believe that this feeling of presence in the moment is also transferred to the finished piece of ceramic tableware.
You can see some of the products on Instagram profile @plavetna_