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Material: Resin

Issue 05

Resin is a curious material that pops up in tableware design from time to time. When the self-taught, San Francisco based, resin artist, Tina Frey started working with the material in 2007, customers often wondered whether her dishes and bowls were made of glass or ceramic.

Resin is a different base material all together and is neither related to glass, nor clay. The synthetic, polyester-based resin that Frey uses turns into a light, durable material once the thermoset cures after being cast into a mold and allowed to set on its own.  Resin can break if you drop it on the ground, but it does not shatter like class or porcelain.

It breaks into larger pieces, making it safer for outdoor, poolside or kitchen use. “I love the translucency and variety of colours available with resin” says Frey.

Countlan Magazine Issue 05 Tina Frey Designs

Coasters and Napkin Rings

After much research and laboratory testing to find a resin that is food-safe, BPA-free and lead-free, Tina got to work on creating her line of unique housewares and table top accessories. As she gained experience and understanding of the material, she realized its versatility — music to a creative person’s ears (and hands). “If I can sculpt it, I can make it in resin. When I develop new products, sometimes I imagine elaborate dinner parties and what I would like to use with guests.” Tina launches two collections a year to coincide with exhibitions in New York and Paris.  This season, she is introducing a resin furniture line, including long benches and round coffee tables. “I imagine the benches to be used with a long farm table with many guests all squeezed on it, dining with my tableware.”


INTERVIEW: Tina Frey, Owner, Tina Frey Designs {San Francisco}

01 Which of your products do you use most often at home?
All the bowls! I LOVE bowls and I don’t think you can have enough of them…from large to tiny small ones.  They are so useful!  We always have fresh fruit around and this is the best way to store them on our tables and on the kitchen counter.

02 Which materials mix and match best with resin ware?
I love mixing wood with the collection.  Resin looks great on a wooden table.  I imagine I will be incorporating wood into the collection soon.  I also like cork and using other natural materials.  For example, many of the pieces in the collection have natural leather handles.

03 What was the first piece of resin ware that you owned?
The first piece of resin ware I owned was a vase from Martha Sturdy.  She is a Canadian designer who also works in resin.

04 How would you describe the scope of your work?
I like the idea of creating useful objects that have multiple uses, but are also simple at the same time.  I also like the objects I create to look nice when they are not in use if they are sitting on a table empty.  The idea of being able to mix all the items together is important. Depending on the colors you select, you can communicate a different story or mood on the table.  The resin ware is meant to have a sculptural quality depending on how you arrange them.

Long Dishes

Square Bowls

Photo Source: Tina Frey

05 Do you entertain at home?
We do like entertaining at home, but it doesn’t happen as often as we’d like since we get so busy.  Our style is casual where everyone mingles and helps out in the kitchen while the food is being prepared.  There is wine, cheese, and olives before everyone sits down to eat.  Of course the things (serving ware) I find useful end up in the collection.  Like olive dishes, baguette dishes, cheese boards, the long trough for serving bread, fruit, or as a table centerpiece.

 06 What inspires your designs?
I love simplicity, organic forms, and color.  I want things to be timeless since I believe people should buy things they will cherish.  I also like the thought of taking a traditional design and making it more modern, simple and unexpected; for example, the Pedestal Bowls Collection.

07 How did you choose your Fall 2013 colours?

 The colors are inspired by the seasons.  For spring, I prefer brighter, fresher colors.  For the fall, the colours tend to be more subdued, but I still like the idea of color mixed with something more subdued.
Fall Colour Inspiration:
White:  Crisp white snow and clouds on a bright sunny winter day.
Turquoise:  Like blue frozen ice, the ocean, or bright blue skies.
Grey:  Grey Clouds in winter.  Since the days are shorter, the grey clouds remind me of winter and the snow about to fall.

08 Where are your resin pieces available? 

The creations are available in stores like Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, to museum stores throughout the country.  The resin ware is also available worldwide and in concept stores.  You can find the list of stockists through my website:  www.tinafreydesigns.com



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