Guest Curator: Ray McKenzie

By Ray McKenzie.

We first came across Ray when he was running the store for the Museum of Craft and Design. Museum stores can be fun, but we’ve found that there’s often a razor-thin line between cool and contrived (all that enforced crafty cleverness). But there was something about the curatorial eye at the MCD store that just made us want do a little more exploring (and spending). Ray’s got a refined yet quirky sense of both design and contemporary craft. Now Assistant Manager of Retail Operations for the Asian Art Museum in SF, Ray generously agreed to curate a table full of handcrafted, responsibly-made pieces for us…just in time for the you know whats…Take it away, Ray!

I love my table…the richness of the wood, the food served from it and, most importantly, the people gathered around it.  There’s nothing better than the sounds of laughter and conversation as stories are shared, jokes are told and new, creative ideas are born over a glass of bubbly. I fill my table with items that are not only beautiful to look at but also bring something to the other senses.

Andy Paiko is a Portland glass artist whose work explores old technology and experiences.  Andy’s goblets are proof that functionality doesn’t have to exclude beauty. Paying tradition to Venetian goblets but with their own unique style, these goblets will stir as much conversation as the drinks served from them.

Photo Courtesy of James Aarons

James Aarons is a California potter and dancer (check out his recent profile here!)  His dinner ware line Catlin is hand crafted in his studio by hand rolling earthenware and then altering them on the wheel. Each piece is unique and shows the nature of the material.  I love my platter and serving bowl. They’re present at every event.

Photo Courtesy of Iron Design Company

Marc Maiorana founded Iron Design Company to explore and create hand formed iron objects. Marc transforms this industrial material into everyday items that are both innovative and inviting to touch. In addition to his production studio, Marc also runs an apprenticeship program where  local highschoolers can  work with their hands. These candle sticks use tension to hold the tapers, allowing you to use the entire taper without messy clean up.

Photo Courtesy of Celine Mancurti

These are my new go to napkins.  They’re perfect for every meal, whether it’s a casual evening with friends or holiday sit downs. Made by Celine Mancurti, the 100% linen napkins are inspired by the white table cloth her Grandmother used for Sunday meals. On a trip back to her native Buenos Aires, Celine found her Grandmother’s collection of vintage buttons…the perfect decoration to transform simple napkins into well dressed table accessories.

Photo Courtesy of Big Dipper

Sone of my favorite candles, the only ones that go on my table, are from Big Dipper. This Seattle-based studio is committed to not only creating quality products but giving back to the community. Each candle is either hand dipped or poured, and the sweet fragrance of pure beeswax perfumes the air.

Photo Courtesy of Ray McKenzie

The last thing that makes my table complete is this vintage dinnerware: Moonglow by Federal Glass. It’s simple lines and irridescent white color set the table on fire, reflecting light like old opals.  The perfect presentation for food. My set was purchased by my Great Grandmother and was used by my father on visits and was part of every family meal when I was a child.  I’m lucky to now share not only the recipes of my childhood with my son, but to share them on the same dishes.

Photo Courtesy of Big Dipper Candles

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