As a part of the 25th Anniversary celebration, label Good Earth partnered with British artist Rebecca Campbell to create an unusual line of tableware – Pomogrenates & Roses. This special series is a segment with the extensive Bosporus collection and accurately represents founder Anita Lal’s vision and Rebecca’s artistry. In a tête-à-tête with ELLE, both Anita and Rebecca talk about juxtaposing culture and infusing art in everything they do.
ELLE: In the last 25 years, we’ve seen Good Earth branch out into more than just home decor—was this always a part of the plan?
Anita Lal: The initial impulse to start Good Earth was to help rural potters create pottery for contemporary homes. We also wanted to celebrate the cultural heritage and design vocabulary of India, where artisanal skills ranging from textile handloom weaving and printing to handmade vessels in bronze and clay continue to be practised through centuries. I believe that our everyday living can be enhanced through using thoughtfully designed products from natural materials and fibres and preferably handmade. This led us to create products for everything that one needs for living in everyday luxury. Initially, we created only homeware for many years, but I felt a gap for simple, elegant unfussy clothes in natural textiles to suit all body types. So around 12 years ago, we added sustainable clothing along with capsule offerings for men and children.
ELLE: Tell us about the Bosporus collection and how did it come about?
AL: Each year we present an annual Design Collection celebrating a particular tradition or culture from the Indian subcontinent and from lands that lie on the ancient Silk Road. For our silver anniversary, I decided to shift our gaze westwards, and as I thought about what connects western cultural influences with the eastern world, the storied legacy of the Bosporus was an obvious choice. This fascinating mix of East and West is the design theme of Bosporus. 2 years in the making, the collection is a true voyage of discovery and marks the beginning of a new design journey for Good Earth. Born from a collective fantastical imagination, the collection introduces an all-new vocabulary of motifs, colours, and designs.
ELLE: Tell us about the collaboration with Rebecca Campbell and the line ‘Pomegranates & Roses’.
AL: For our silver anniversary, we partnered with acclaimed British artist Rebecca Campbell. I had seen and loved her series of delightful vignettes during her visit to India. When I gave her the theme of Pomegranates & Roses, she created a tree, laden with ruby red pomegranates entwined with a rose creeper and that was the start of a magical universe. It included a pavilion with leopards, peacocks and hummingbirds! With so many whimsical elements and creatures, Pomegranate & Roses evolved and grew into a comprehensive collection of platters and bowls, and the gorgeous Dinner service. This very special collaboration came through at an unprecedented time; we worked together through online meetings, amidst lockdowns, and across two continents and time zones!
ELLE: The name of the line is pretty unusual; what’s the story here?
AL: There is a delightful Persian cookbook named Pomegranates and Roses, and both the book and its name has remained with me for years. I wanted to create a tableware collection that would embody this by capturing the delight of alfresco meals on the table. Rebecca created the intertwined images of two fragrant edibles–ruby red pomegranates and deep pink roses—ingredients that elevate cuisines across central Asia and the Mediterranean. The pomegranate is an integral motif in eastern cultures symbolising fertility and abundance; and in western cultures, the rose is symbolic of love and romance—together, they make a potent romantic combination.
ELLE: What are your favourite pieces from the collection and why?
AL: Since we work with so much passion and it takes us so many months and even years to get the perfect design, I actually love everything that we create. However, some of my favourites are from the collection are the pasta coupe with its delicious pomegranate in the deepest ruby red surrounded by an emerald wreathe of leaves and roses. Another favourite is the salad coupe with varying sizes of pomegranates, which is a graphic delight!
ELLE: 25 years and many milestones later, what’s next for Good Earth?
AL: All we want to do is to continue to learn, absorb and translate aspects of various cultures and heritage arts and crafts of our beautiful world.
And here we are with Rebecca.
ELLE: How was your experience working on this unusual collection for Good Earth?
Rebecca Campbell: Initially, it was a huge challenge for me as I have not designed for ceramics before. Another hurdle was working in watercolours (I usually work in oils), so that was a learning curve too! Overall, it has been a magical experience and working with Anita has been joyful.
ELLE: Your body of work has been eclectic and expressive. Tell us about creating the lush Pomegranate Tree with Climbing Roses.
RC: The pomegranate is a big part of eastern culture and art. Together, they make a powerful combination and the best way to illustrate this was with the rose threading its way through the pomegranate tree.
ELLE: How did the collaboration come to fruition and what was the process like?
RC: I already knew of Good Earth; I had visited their fabulous shop in New Delhi in 2012. I was beyond excited when they contacted me through Instagram to work with Anita Lal and her team on this project that celebrates their 25th anniversary. Anita sent across a brief summarising The Bosporus, the crossroads of civilisations, trade and culture where East meets West, alongside ideas of colours and themes. From this, I experimented with different designs, sending rough sketches via WhatsApp. And once we both agreed, I proceeded to create the final pieces.