Buy one of Lauren Yap’s handmade pottery fermenters, and tucked inside will be a handwritten recipe to get you started making kimchi, a dish Lauren describes as “the gateway to fermentation”. It’s Lauren’s own recipe, one she has been using for years, and she knows it works because as well as running Brood FermWares, Lauren is a fermenter of long standing.

So, form and function: Lauren knows how fermenting works and what it needs, and knows how to create tablewares and fermentation vessels that fulfil those needs beautifully. A kombucha vessel will have a spout at the bottom and legs to lift it off the ground to keep the contents cool; her kimchi fermenters have the airlock crucial to keeping out oxygen that would cause the food to spoil. “It’s hard to be inspired and feel connected to a piece if I can’t use it myself,” she says, describing how a recent foray into cheesemaking has her creating cheese moulds exactly the size and shape she wants to use.

Lauren’s website and Instagram show mugs, jugs and vases, fermenters, butter dishes, bread bowls for sourdough and pasta plates. They represent the coming together of almost a decade of pottery work, beginning in Portland, Oregon, and leading to Nelson; work as a farmer and fermenter; a hands-on role in Brood Fermentation, a beer-brewing and natural winemaking enterprise run with her partner; and a full- time job working in Nelson’s hop fields. That’s a lot to imbue into the form of a plate.

Lauren’s clay wine tumblers are the result of a classic ‘made it because I needed it’ situation and now are among her most popular pieces. When working in a brewery, it is best practice to keep glass away from the brewing process. But vessels are needed for sampling, tasting and mixing, so Lauren began making the little clay cups. Formed from 100% New Zealand clay, they fit snugly in your palm and work as well for tea as for a tipple., TRACY WHITMEY