19 April – 9 June 2024 Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Sydney

We are excited to introduce a groundbreaking collaboration featuring chefs Nate Quinell, who is deaf-blind, and Craig Shanahan, who is blind, with deaf designer Kirsty Collins. This innovative project highlights braille and low-vision hyper-legible tactile language, creating a unique dining experience that is both inclusive and functional.

Designed and made with, and by, disabled people – not for them

TABLED – “The collaborations between artisan potter and chefs highlights shared connections and shared respect for their crafts, and explores the narratives behind the function of tableware, community, and culture.”
The Australian Ceramics Association 2024

We have crafted a distinctive, disability-designed plating-up tactile experience for the chefs, ensuring an accessible and enjoyable dining experience for people with blindness. This initiative not only raises awareness about disability languages and communication but also celebrates disability culture and access design, showcasing the profound impact of seeing one’s culture reflected back.

You can also download and view the beautiful TABLED digital catalogue.

The plates capture my two collaborator chefs’ joie-de-vivre and fighting spirit.

About the project

In 2023 I was selected as one of 13 ceramicists to participate in the TABLED project for the Australian Ceramics Association. In TABLED the tableware is designed and made by potters in collaboration with a chef, cook, or artisan food producer. The exhibition uses the terrain of the tabletop as the platform to discuss the age-old relationship between food and pots.

For the project I worked with two chefs;

  • Nate Quinell, also known as The Hurricane Chef, based in Brisbane
  • Craig Shanahan, known as The Blind Chef, based in Sydney

When I interviewed Nate and Craig about designing plates for them and the DeafBlind. they both had valuable insights into working as a chef with disabilities, plating up and cooking, what blind people like in tableware, the challenges of living with Deafblindness and why they love being a chef.

Consequently, I defined my quest as the creation of the most accessible and life-affirming disability plates possible. I am driven by the need to make beautiful things for us, not for a whole group but for a particular disabled expert. My plates are an intimate celebration of human beings with fantastic potential. I think of these works as disability pride objects.