Arthur strives to balance aesthetics, functionality, and quality with costs when planning DIY projects in the home and garden.
Decorative and Functional Slate Coasters, Serving and Placemats
Oh for the love of slate, slate coasters are great functional pieces of art ideal for protecting your furniture from hot drinks, and great decorative show pieces when not in use. Teapot stands, which we use as serving mats for hot food (as we don't use teapots) are just as great, as are slate ornaments and wall plates and plaques, slate being such a durable material it's decorative and functional and makes great gifts for the one you love. Its uses around the home are endless and wherever its used it looks great.
I love decorative slate coasters, especially the coloured painted ones, and whenever we travel I always keep an eye open for them in the local tourist shops and bring one back to add to our collection. Bringing slate coasters back from our holidays is dependent on whether we're travelling to a slate mining area so our collection isn't as large as I would like.
All photos featured in this article were taken by me and are of the slate coaster which I've collated over the years.
Art Décor Slate Coasters - Functional and Decorative
Slate Coasters make great gifts for the one who loves the fine art in natural materials. We love slate and in our personal collection we currently have 20 slate coasters and place mats. 14 are separates, bought back from various day trips and holidays in England, four are a matching set from our visit to the Beatrix Potter's House in the Lake District and two are identical teapot stands ideal as place mats for when serving hot food on the table.
All the slate coasters in our collection are decorative, some with a picture and name place of the place we visited, some with just the picture or a picture of a wild native animal with one exception of a slate coaster with just a 'Celtic' pattern on the face.
All the slate coasters have either a felt or cork base so they don't slip and don't scratch the table top and the matching teapot stands are supported by three rubber feet.
When not in use they can be stacked and put in one corner out of the way, on a shelf or in a drawer out of the way, or they can be put on display; or a selection of your favourite slate coasters displayed. You can either display your choice slate coasters either by spreading them out flat along a spare shelf or sideboard top where they can be seen, or with a bit of ingenuity you could make a small rack to prop them up; one of my future projects in the making I think. Either way, on display they make great ornaments and are to hand when needed; my favourite ornament, ornaments that are also functional e.g. functional ornaments.
Coloured Art Décor Slate Coasters
Functional Fine Art
Without a doubt, the coloured painted slate coasters in our collection are my favourites; the other slate coasters with white pictures and their place names on the face are great but nothing beats a bit of colour. When we stop off at a place where slate coasters are available in the local tourist shops, places where slate is traditionally mined, it’s mostly the white on grey pictures, to find a coloured painted slate coaster is a rare and privileged find. Although of the 20 in our collection five are coloured so we have done quite well in rooting out the prized fines.
Coloured Decorative Slate Coasters - Colourful and Functional Slate Coasters
Functional and Artistic Slate Coasters
The Function and Use of Slate
Slate has been mined for thousands of years for their durable quality as roofing; slate roofing tiles. Slate is such a durable and quaintly attractive material it's also popular as floor tiles and wall tiles; and with its waterproof quality was traditionally used for centuries, if not millennia, for window sills and more importantly DPC (Damp Proof Course) in walls in England.
These days, with so many other materials available slate is just one of many choices in traditional building although still popular for wall and floor tiles. However for ornaments and functional kitchen and home utilities such as slate wall plates, plaques and as featured in this article coasters slate has a major role to play.
Most of the slates in our collection are slate coasters although two are teapot stands, even though we don't use teapots; I'm a coffee fan myself. Nevertheless, these teapot stands don't go to waste, as well as being decorative and great on display when not in use, picturing a British rural fox, they make great serving mats on the table. When we're entertaining and have a few friends around for a social evening meal due to the insulation properties of slate these teapot stands are ideal as serving mats for placing those decorative hot casserole dishes straight from the oven to table when for example serving a cheese and onion pie to our guests.
Decorative Slate Coasters - White on Grey Picture Art
British Slate Mining Places Visited
A Slate Record of Our Journey
About half the slate coasters we’ve bought back from our trips have their name place printed on the slate, usually written below a beautiful picture, depicting the place of our visit; a great reminder of a great time past.
Of all the slates we have in our collection the ones named and showing where we’ve been are in the Lake District, Ashness Bridge, Langdale Pikes and Blea Tarn, Windermere and Langdale Pikes, Windermere, A Lakeland Farm, Hilltop as Beatrix Potter’s House; in Wales (Cymru), Conwy, Llandudno; and Longridge in Lancashire, England.
Functional or Decorative
My grandmother use to say:-
“A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
It’s a phrase which I find extremely useful in everyday life, whether it was at work, in the home or my workshop.
In relation to ornaments, I’ve always felt they should serve two functions; firstly, to be decorative, and secondly to be functional. Ornaments that are just for display is what I call ‘dust collectors’.
Slate coasters is a great example of a good ornament e.g. they can both be for display (an ornament) and be functional; and of course, when not in use they should be in their proper place, which may be neatly stacked on the sideboard or ideally displayed.
Function of Ornaments
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Arthur Russ
Your favourite ornaments ideas and comments
Arthur Russ (author) from England on June 16, 2017:
Thanks for all your feedback, that's quite an achievement Christy for your son making his own set of slate coasters; I can imagine that was quite fun and very satisfying.
anonymous on May 16, 2013:
Your family has so many fascinating interests and collections. Now coasters are a nice way to remember your travels and slate ones are even better....they are both attractive and functional and a natural product. I love natural items as décor. :)
SquidooPower on April 12, 2013:
ChristyZ on April 03, 2013:
My son just made a set of square slate coasters. They're really nice. It actually would have been cheaper for him to buy them online, but he had fun making them himself.