What do you think of when you think of Holland? Windmills, right? Tulips, clogs, spherical cheese clad in red wax. White plates with blue pictures on ’em involving windmills and tulips. Bored women in sculleries, sewing beneath lead-mullioned windows. Half-naked women from Bratislava, gyrating behind plate-glass windows. Unnaturally tall people, built sturdy to withstand high winds. Herring. Ice-skates. Cabbage. Sprinkles on toast, sausages in cans. Collecting discount stamps, sticking them in little books. Dentistry second only to Great Britain. Men wearing lots of hair-gel. Canals. Bicycles, an obsession with the colour orange, did somebody kill a skunk in that coffee shop? Thrift. Camping. Three kisses. Black-and-white cows. Blackface. Bizarre expressions involving monkeys, sunshine and not putting butter on your head.
Just when you thought it was all about mashing stuff into goop and spreading it thickly on bread, along come Dutch bookplates. Intricate woodcuts which combine astonishing attention to detail with rugged no-nonsense conviction; like the Dutch, really. Hailing mainly from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they were used to identify books as being the property of this, that or the other erudite Dutchman. The words Ex Libris (‘from the books of …’) are frequently followed by the initials and surname of the owner, sometimes accompanied by a pithy idiom. Y’know … ‘well, Gertrud, that just breaks my wooden shoe!’ … but in Latin.
In a subtle springtime rebranding, we turned to our flatland bookish heritage – and Mark Ohe (designer of many things Table) – for inspiration.
Henceforth, anything that sits still long enough at Table on Ten will find itself indelibly stamped. We’ve already capitalized upon Flemish diligence, putting Wilna and Eddie to work stamping all things flat and curvy, white and brown: paper bags, pizza and sandwich boxes, paper cups, wine-lists, letters to our Grannies. We now have our eyes on books, bags, buttocks, foreheads and children. Not to mention blimps, artisanal tattoos, grillz, lobe-stretching and scarification. Linger too long by the picnic tables, you risk Kathleen leaping from behind a bush like a banshee and branding you forever Table.