“Savor: A Salt & Pepper Vessel Exhibition” is a project produced by ceramics students of the School of Fine & Performing Arts at SUNY-New Paltz. The results – 14 sets of unique salt and pepper shakers worthy of artful display – are being presented by Bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy in Rhinebeck, with an opening reception to be held this Saturday. From 2 to 5 p.m., visitors to the shop can see work designed by BFA and MFA candidates Kayla Noble, Breana Hendricks, Sophie Cornish-Keefe, Dana Reifer, Lillian Helling, Cassandra Taylor, Abby Nohai, Jaclyn Padich, Maggie Le Flore, Rebecca Morton, Enyoung Oh, Sarah Heitmeyer, Emma Chandler and Michal Ozeri.
The project was conceived by Anat Shiftan, an associate professor of Ceramics at SUNY-New Paltz, when she realized that there is market potential for small, well-designed ceramic objects. A class called Design and Production – a baby of the 1980s that taught items like pottery and dinnerware – had became obsolete when industrial manufacturing took over the field. “It didn’t make sense to compete with factories that were imitating handmade items,” she says. But an emerging demand for small, serial productions of high-end products piqued her interest. She challenged her students to apply the industrial techniques of production to gain experience in the full gamut of designing, creating and marketing, and to come up with something new and different in the process.
Taking a functional object that finds its home at every dining table, they needed to think of themselves as designers who would collaborate with graphic design students to create unique branding and packaging for each set. “This mimics the real-world collaboration between creative makers who are bringing a product to market. Because art education in the university setting is often very theoretical, this project creates a unique opportunity for students to see themselves as marketers of their own designs, in the context of producing sellable work: something that many artists must confront in the term of their careers. They see their work go from storyboard concept to prototype to production to the dining table of someone in their local community.”
Bluecashew proprietors Sean B. Nutley and Gregory Triana specialize in products from the most highly respected ceramic producers in the world, like Iittala, Royal Copenhagen and MUD Australia. “For my students, it is an incredible opportunity to see their work on display in the same context as these highly regarded ceramic designers,” says Shiftan. “For the community, it is a fabulous chance to interact with young and brilliant artists, and to add a special piece to the home.”
The student-made limited-edition salt and pepper vessels will be available for purchase exclusively at Bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy for a short time.
“Savor: Salt & Pepper” opening reception, Saturday, November 21, 2-5 p.m., free, Bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy, 6423 Montgomery Street, Rhinebeck; (845) 876-1117, www.bluecashewkitchen.com.