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News at Brookhaven College

For Immediate Release

DALLAS  •  “One-of-a-kind dishes" at a restaurant usually refers to the food, but not in this case. Ceramics students at Brookhaven College collaborated with Mitch and Kristen Kaufman, owners of Urbano Paninoteca, to create special serving dishes for some of the restaurant’s signature dishes.

Lisa Ehrich, art professor and department chair, and Susan Mollet, adjunct art professor and instructional associate,team-taught an advanced-level ceramics course that gave students a unique opportunity to put their artistic lessons to practical work this spring. The students created unique serving dishes for the desserts, steamed mussels and other special dishes at the restaurant in downtown Dallas. They worked with the Kaufmans, much the same way artists work on commissioned pieces, to create something that would satisfy both the artist and the client.

“It’s a very different experience,” said one of the students, “working and creating for someone else instead of for yourself.” The students first met with the Kaufmans to get ideas for the pieces the restaurant would need. They worked on drawings and created prototype pieces that were shown to the Kaufmans for approval. That was when art and business began to collide.

There were specific needs that the Kaufmans had for the dishes that presented challenges for the students. Creating glazes that worked with the colors in the restaurant and designing the pieces so rough edges wouldn’t be seen by customers or catch on tablecloths, are just some of the challenges the students faced in moving their artwork into working pieces.

Ehrich was familiar with a similar project that a class at Southern Methodist University had undertaken with an area restaurant. Ehrich and Mollet decided to create a similar project to expose advanced students to a different learning experience. The project had two purposes for Ehrich and Mollet, the project displays the art medium to the public in a functional way and gives the students a new understanding of how their art can be used.

At a celebration dinner at the restaurant, the dishes were used for the first time. The students in the class worked together to create six distinctive dish designs, then produced between 10 and 12 pieces from each design so the restaurant would be able to put them to use. All together, the students completed 75 pieces that are currently being used at the restaurant and some additional pieces are being completed to add to that total in the coming weeks.

The ceramics program at Brookhaven College is recognized as one of the most comprehensive in the area with salt, wood, high-fire reduction, raku and electric kilns. Both instructors are professional artists who have exhibited their work nationally. Ehrich recently completed the design of a Farmers Branch DART station and currently has work on exhibit at the San Angelo Museum of Art and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Mollet participated in a Fulbright study trip to Turkey and has most recently exhibited her work in the University of Texas Pan American University Gallery along with a solo exhibit at Brookhaven College.



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