Setting the Scene

Conviviality - The joining of people to eat, to drink and to be well with one another.



          With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I've been thinking a lot about the why behind our work within Convivial and the why behind our our traditions as a society - why we put so much emphasis on buying items to decorate our homes, why we prepare such elaborate meals and why we search endlessly to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones. To be truly honest, I have a strong tendency towards cynicism when in comes to the holidays - often concluding the holidays to be a contrived season of materialism driven by corporate companies to boost sales - believing true beauty and hospitality has ultimately been lost in the hustle of routine, expectations and consumerism. Brutal, right? Unable to shake this thought, year after year, I'm challenged to think deeply about why we create items and why we celebrate traditions - to focus on the why in hopes of rediscovering the pure motivations that initially inspired the holiday traditions we value so highly. 

          As a business owner who participates in creating items for the season you can imagine the additional weight this leaves me with and the conundrum I face in response. I do sadly believe that materialism is a huge issue in our society and I'll be honest that at times I contemplate throwing in the towel to avoid contradiction and contribution. However, alongside that same tension I have an overpowering and competing drive to create - to create beautiful wares that function to inspire conviviality.  Im learning that products and traditions can be meaningless, but they don't have to be.  I do not believe that I've exhausted my thoughts on this tension, and can assure that you'll see hints of this continue to pop up as I write within this forum.  I believe there is a deeper purpose and meaning within our holiday traditions and am excited to reach new depths and insights as I continue to press into the why. With that being said, I wanted to share a bit about the thoughts I've had this year that have re-inspired me to create and have left me feeling excited to participate in the season. Within this post, I will also highlight wares from our Home and Table Collections that I've designed in hopes of aiding and inspiring you in the quest to live a life of conviviality.



          As I mull over the why, I continue to find depth and purpose in this thought - we create beauty to celebrate the beauty of people coming together. The best part of the holidays is the fact that everyone comes together under one roof to eat, drink, rest and connect.  Within this, I truly feel that the warmth and joy of the season is brought to life when everyone works together to create a beautiful space and a warm meal.  When I host a holiday or attend a gathering where I have the opportunity to contribute, my go-to task is always Setting the Scene.  I'm always willing to jump in and chop veggies, wash dishes and mix drinks, but I find the most joy in the process of setting the table and the surrounding feel of the room. I love the methodical process of layering plates, filling cups, lining silverware and the final moment of dimming the surrounding lights to set the mood.  I love when all settings have been accounted for, candles are lit and everyone gathers around their chairs to sit. I've found that the care put into designing a table and a space is my way of outwardly expressing the inward joy I feel about the gathering. It marks the grandeur of the occasion.

          I believe this thought largely touches at the heart of Convivial as as company. Handmade wares designed to inspire conviviality. This realization has re-inspired me to create beautiful products and warm spaces this season and I hope it does that same for you. 



          Because Setting the Scene is my go-to task during the holiday season, I decided to put together a simple, Friends-giving inspired shoot to capture how I envision our wares being used. My hope within this shoot was to highlight wares that have been designed for hosting as well as provide visual inspiration for you as you approach hosting  within your home this season. When designing this shoot, I teamed up with a handful of Kansas City design companies who share our vision for conviviality.  I put together two table scenes for your eyes to feast upon, one for Thanksgiving and another for Christmas. Stay tuned for the Christmas inspired table scape coming early December. I hope you enjoy!



          The Convivial items that I choose for this table setting were our Minimal Dinner Plates, Minimal Salad Plates, Minimal Ivory VasesStructured Candle Holders and our 2V Geodesic Bowl. The combination of minimal and structural forms provide subtle dimension to the table and achieve a beautiful balance of intricacy and simplicity. 



          For this setting I went with a rustic, full length table from our friends at Ultra Pom - a local event rental company. I intentionally left the wood raw (no table cloth) to provide a stark contrast for our bright, white wares and to achieve the deep warmth that I associate with fall and thanksgiving. For dinnerware I chose to use our Minimal Dinner and  Salad Plates. This line is apart of our newly released Fall Collection. The simple, circular form was designed to incorporate well with any style and to truly allow the food presentation to be the main focus when serving. The gold silverware (also from Ultra Pom) gives the table a special, grander feel, which I found fitting for such a special occasion.



          Adding candle light to your table is the easiest way to create a cozy, intimate setting.. For this table, I used our Structured Candle Holders and paired them with pillar inserts from local candle company Creative Candles. Our votive designs were apart of the first collection released as a company and they've been a favorite item throughout the years. Within the production process we hand-carve each structure to allow the candle light to glow through the porcelain. The end product is both memorizing and simple. We recommend pairing these holders with the following size inserts: Small + Medium Votives w/ 3" x 4" Pillar Insert, Large Votive w/ 3" x 6" Pillar Insert



          To compliment the form and heights of the candle holders, we recently released three sizes of our Minimal Vase design. The various sizes of these forms paired together provide beautiful height and dimension when placed throughout the middle of a table setting.  Within this tablescape we partnered with Amyann Kahler of Daylightmind Design to fill our vases with simple, festive arrangements. The addition of these greens truly pulled together the scene. They brought a delicate, fullness and burst of life to the table that no man made product could ever achieve on its own.  And can we appreciate that floral chandelier for a moment? All arrangements  within this table were made using Chrysanthemums, Myrtle, Rose Buds, Plumosus Ferns and Crabapples.  Amazing, right?

          Side Note: If you are not familiar with Amyanns work via Daylightmind, get on it! Amyann was one of the first employees to work for Convivial and she transitioned out of production last Fall to pursue a career in florals. Stay connected with our Editorial next week - we'll be interviewing Amyann to learn a bit more about her love for florals and how she recommends approaching table top garlands and arrangements. We also have a Floral Workshop scheduled with Amyann on December 3rd and we'd love to have you join us for the fun. Stay tuned on our Instagram + TOURS page for event details. Space will be limited.



          The last Convivial piece to highlight for this table setting is our 2V Geodesic Bowl. This design embodies the classic Convivial aesthetic. It's runs the line of complexity and simplicity. The intricate structured design is hand carved in shop and is finished with our bright, ivory glaze. The design is a beautiful way to serve fresh baked bread and a great gift to bring if you are being hosted this season. Simply line the bowl with a linen cloth, cut and dress the bread, and nestle the slices within the bowl. If you live in Kansas City, we recommend getting in touch with Ibis Bakery and pre-ordering a loaf or two from their Holiday Menu (last day to order is Friday, November 16th, so get on it!).


Thank you for taking the time to mull over these thoughts and images with me. I truly hope our work through Convivial inspires and informs how you approach this holiday season. As always, stay tuned for more to come! 

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