We have a friend in Mill Valley that sends us a piece of Alex Marshall's fabulous, thick, white tableware each year. The last one we received was the shallow square place setting, which we use all the time. We love it because the dishes fit in with almost any style and the idea of a growing collection based on a friendship is the nicest kind of household gift.
These pieces are the basis of what Alex does. They are handmade in her northern California studio, and come in a wide range of colors. Black is particularly nice as well. While well known in the West, Alex Marshall is a relative newcomer to the East. You can find parts of her collection at Barneys, Takashimaya, Cog & Pearl and Environment 337. You can also order directly from her.