Céramiques & Supper Community Night
Céramiques & Supper Community Night
Varro, the learned librarian, tells us that the number of guests at a Roman dinner was ordinarily three or nine — as many as the Graces, no more than the Muses. Among the Greeks, there were sometimes seven diners, in honor of Pallas. The sterile number seven was consecrated to the goddess of wisdom, but the Greeks especially liked the number six, because it is round. Plato favored the number twenty-eight, in honor of Phoebe, who runs her course in twenty-eight days. The Emperor Verus wanted twelve guests at his table in honor of Jupiter, which takes twelve years to revolve around the sun. Augustus, under whose reign women began to take their place in Roman society, habitually had twelve men and twelve women, in honor of the twelve gods and goddesses. In France, any number except thirteen is good and at my table on September 17th, 2022, 14 creative women whom I admire and adore gather for creative kinship.
As I thought of my creative practice this year, what I continually found myself craving was community, the creative company of women in particular. I think the past couple of years has separated me from those I hold dear and I set about to change that with the first of what I hope will be many céramiques and supper community nights. I wanted to share some details from the evening and I hope that if you have also been wanting to build a place of belonging you will find something to carry with you as you consider how your talents can be used to bring people together in the name of something greater than ourselves.
Gather imperfectly, but gather we must.
“When is the last time that you had a great conversation? A conversation which wasn’t just two intersecting monologues, which is what passes for conversation a lot in this culture. But when had you last a great conversation in which you overheard yourself saying things that you never knew you knew, that you heard yourself receiving from somebody words that absolutely found places within you that you thought you had lost and a sense of an event of a conversation that brought the two of you on to a different plain, and then fourthly, a conversation that continued to sing in your mind for weeks afterwards.”
John O'Donohue, On Being excerpt from interview with Krista Tippett
It's always nice to be thought of isn't it? To be invited and know you were on someone’s mind and heart. It's also very nice to receive something special in the mail so I chose to send my invitations by mail. I designed them on a website called Papier and I believe it was originally a wedding invitation but I liked that it had two parts to the invitation so I could explain the purpose of the evening and then provide the details almost as though it was a save the date card. I decided to invite friends in pairs so that everyone would have at least one other person they knew other than myself, a few introverts have adopted me as their extrovert and I have become quite sensitive to the things that someone might like to know in order to venture out and come to a party which can be incredibly draining if you have any anxiety surrounding social gatherings ( I forgot to mention what to wear on my invitation but that probably would have been useful except it would have said wear anything that makes you feel fabulous) Considering the feelings of others is important in a community. I wanted everyone to feel comfortable.
Tip: Consider the purpose of your gathering and then invite accordingly. A tip I learned from The Art Of Gathering by Priya Parker: Protect your guests, Equalize your guests, and Connect your guests. Another way you could help your guests feel comfortable is to welcome a plus one if you aren't familiar with who knows who.
Welcome The Talents of Your Friends
If your friends would like to help you, welcome their contributions. Our Céramiques & Supper evening was made so incredibly beautiful, beyond what I could contribute with even all my planning and preparations, when my friends asked what they could contribute. My friend Kate Lines from kismet polaroid offered to photograph each woman and she one by one invited guests into my studio where we had hung up camel colored paper and she helped to pose each guest, captured their beauty, and then gifted us each our polaroid at the end of the evening. I will treasure mine for always, I took mine with my Mama.
My friend Angela Hardison has a special relationship with flowers and asked if she could arrange some flowers for the gathering. She asked me to send her photos of the place settings, linens, and delights I had been gathering for the evening so she could get the vibe right for the flowers and they were incredible, including little limes she clipped from her own yard.
I originally thought I could just whip something up for my guests to eat, AND host, AND guide my guests in creating a candle stick holder. I realized that I would be limited in how I would be able to enjoy the evening and interact with my guests so I got in touch with my friend Breann Bowman, owner of Le Butter. She and I spoke of our love for gathering people together over food and bounty. Breann from the perspective of creating beautiful food to show love and I from the perspective of making ceramics that would allow us to gather and eat together. Breann created a menu inspired by 4 of her culinary heroes Alice Waters, Erin French, Julia Child, and Christina Tosi and she took a moment to share her inspiration behind the dishes, the farmers and artisans who created the ingredients she used, and how these 4 women shaped her appreciation for nourishing others and we all teared up a little when Bre shared a piece of her story. She realized that she could make food in a way that celebrates the senses and allows her to connect with other people at her table. The final gift was when Breann and her dear friend Mandy served each of us the food that had taken days to prepare. It was such an experience for the senses.
This is one of my favorite appetizers and it surprised me with how magical it was with only a few ingredients. Breann made these marinated olives as part of our cheese snacking boards and I couldn't stop eating them, I even snuck a few before the party! I was just observing her making these, Bre said she’d share the full recipe soon but this will get you started!
4 cups Cerignola olives
⅔ cup olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
The zest of 4 lemons
Drain the olives and add all of the ingredients to a sauce pan, begin to warm the ingredients until the olive oil begins to sizzle, lower the heat and keep warm until you are ready to serve as part of your cheese board.
A Blessing For The Senses
I have been studying Irish poetry in preparation for a collaboration I am a part of and I found this blessing written by John O’ Donohue that was a blessing for the senses. I read this to begin our evening together:
“For The Senses”
May the touch of your skin
Register the beauty
Of the otherness
That surrounds you.
May your listening be attuned
To the deeper silence
Where sound is honed
To bring distance home.
May the fragrance
Of a breathing meadow
Refresh your heart
And remind you you are
A child of the earth.
And when you partake
Of food and drink,
May your taste quicken
To the gift and sweetness
That flows from the earth.
May your inner eye
See through the surfaces
And glean the real presence
Of everything that meets you.
May your soul beautify
The desire of your eyes
That you might glimpse
The infinity that hides
In the simple sights
That seem worn
To your usual eyes.
We listened to this playlist I made for the occasion as my friends crafted their own ceramic candle stick holders to bless all their gatherings to come. There is something so warming about a flickering candle and this simple tradition of lighting them when my family gathers for a meal has been one of my favorite traditions this year. This was my gift. This is what I could offer my friends and the way I feel we best build community is to begin with what we have to offer. What talents and skills of ours can we generously and abundantly share? What you have is unique, and wonderful. Amidst the right company, these gifts will be fully appreciated and honored.
The final word is belonging. I hope you will sense in your life the presence, power, and light of your soul. Your talents in their brightness connect you intimately with others. May you have respect for your own individuality and difference as you gather people together realizing that coming together imperfectly will cast a warming glow to your life.
Comments on this post (1)
So, so beautiful, Krista. This night sounds like a night of absolute dreams. Thank you for sharing a lovely glimpse of it with us. I feel so inspired to create a night of celebration & rest for my community as well.
— Sarah Scheer