It is with pure joy that we introduce you to our new SAND Collection. This collection is a new line of Convivial wares that will be made within our production studio using a proprietary sand-colored clay. The SAND clay is designed to embody the subtle grit and warmth of Hawaiian Sand, a nostalgic material from the home state of Chentell Shannon, our Founder + Designer. Here is a glimpse into the thoughts and story behind this new line of wares.
OUR START - IVORY
Six years ago, fresh out of college, I found myself living in Kansas City with the vision of starting a ceramic design and manufacturing company. I wanted to create beautiful, simple, handmade wares that would function for everyday life. When I started producing the initial designs for Convivial I explored various color ways that I was interested in - specifically, black, a dark-rustic stoneware, and of course, white. After much testing and contemplation, I ultimately decided to narrow in and pursue a line of wares that was committed to a single color combination - a white porcelain clay paired with our signature ivory glaze. This is the line of wares that Convivial has become known for. Doing so has allowed us to refine our products, finishes, and techniques in a way we would not have been able to do if we were constantly chasing new colors and recipes. I couldn’t be more proud of the products we’ve created thus far AND I am excited to continue to create within our ivory line. The SAND collection is an evolution of our products that compliments our past work while bringing a new depth to what we offer. So, why SAND and why now?
THE PROGRESSION - SAND
Putting a reason to art and the intuitive decisions that go into designing isn’t easily accomplished, but here’s a shot at putting this design and process of inspiration process into words.
For those who don’t know my personal story, I’ll briefly share parts that are important to this topic. I am originally from Hawaii. I was born and raised on Maui, which is where I had my first introduction to ceramics. As a high school senior I had an uncanny commitment to pursuing the medium and despite all counsel that, “there would be no jobs in the arts,” I decided to go to school for ceramics anyways. I attended a university in Chicago, where I received my degree in Ceramics, Urban Studies, and Community Art. In 2013, as senior with college graduation drawing near, I began to think seriously about how I would support myself in ceramics. Long story short, I ended up moving to Kansas City, a place notorious for its support of the arts and entrepreneurial beginnings. It was here that I began conceptualizing Convivial and designing our first lines of wares.
As a designer, I have always sourced inspiration from architecture. I vividly remember being mesmerized by the difference in the structural details of buildings when I first moved from Maui to Chicago. From this, my love for the sophisticated, refined, repetitious angles of city structures have become the main source of inspiration behind all Convivial wares. My thought has been - people have loved and been moved by timeless architecture for centuries so if I can draw out aspects of these beloved buildings, and infuse it into Convivial designs, then hopefully, our products will be just as timeless and well loved. Beauty. Simplicity. Timelessness. Functionality. These have always been my aspirations when it comes to design.
Fast forward six years and Convivial is now a fully functioning design and manufacturing company, producing hundreds of thoughtful, handmade designs every day. As a designer, I have come to a place where I am still just as inspired by the architecture of the midwest, but noticing a internal draw to pay tribute to the place I was raised.
So this past year I booked two trips home to Hawaii with a plan to gather inspiration for upcoming designs. Both trips were to Oahu (where my oldest sister now lives), an ideal place to see iconic, natural Hawaiian elements as well as architectural details (being that Honolulu is the state capitol and holds the largest city in all the islands). On my trips I ran through neighborhoods in the morning, and explored the ins and outs of the city streets through the days. I took mental notes and captured photos of details that struck me. My intention was to find something unique in the architecture that I could pull from. To my surprise, I was inspired by structures, but not in the city as I would expect, rather in the sand. Yes, you read that correctly….structures found in the organic, always changing form of sand. One afternoon when I was walking down the beach (thinking about how beautiful the white water was contrasted against the sand) I was watching the water wash white over the sand and as it pulled back to the sea it created a beautiful lattice-like design. I remember my eyes lighting up. Seeing the pattern, I immediately associated it with our iconic Convivial structures. I immediately ran to get my phone and captured it for you all to see.
From there inspiration took it’s mysterious path. I thought, how beautiful….the combination of structure and organic, sand and white. It clicked. The same Convivial feel, just a little more grit. Sand. Clay. Sand-colored clay.
So that was it. I went back to the studio where the studio girls and I worked hand in hand, testing recipes and working thoughtfully to create a new clay body that would embody the same grit and warmth of Hawaiian sand. After months of secret testing and refining, our SAND Collection is now here. The perfect combination of refined, architectural details, paired with the organic, warm notes of Hawaii.
DESIGN NOTES - EXPOSED RIMS
AND why the raw rims? As a designer, I’ve always been drawn to this glaze application. It’s a very timeless aesthetic within ceramics and it is a common theme with outdoor planters in Hawaii. In fact, a lot of the ceramic pieces there are completely raw on the exterior. Here’s a glimpse of a photo I took highlighting the raw rim feature. This is initially where the thought of removing the glaze from the rim came to mind. It’s a intentional touch - a thoughtful way to highlight the color of the clay.
If you think this is a hint of planters to come, you bet it is! Spring 2019, get excited. But until then, we have decided to release our first line of SAND wares within our Table category just in time for holiday hosting. Plates, bowls, mugs, and serving dishes. All available now to collect, simply click the link below.
Click here to explore all SAND wares and let us know what you think about our new collection in the comments below. AND if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment as well. We love and appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you for following our company as it continues to grow and evolve.