Sunday, October 29, 2023

Setting the Table with Art

Welcome friends! I'm celebrating seven years with Dinner at Eight by sharing a special tablescape with you. Thank you so much for visiting since I began posting tables!

Tablescapes can begin with lovely dishes, gorgeous crystal, or interesting table linens. Or they may celebrate an occasion, a holiday or a season, all of which come with traditional colors or iconic images. My table today begins with art. Art in the form of hand-coiled pottery and intricately woven basketry, created by members of southwestern pueblos and the eastern band of the Cherokee respectively.

I have been collecting Native American art for years. One of the things that attracts me are the graphic patterns and representations that are painted and woven in useful items that transcend ordinary.

Black and white napkins in bold stripes of varying widths complement the elaborate designs on the pots and baskets. For plates I chose two patterns that are edged with thin lines of gold, placed on top of bright silver chargers. The dinner plates were purchased for their versatility, as demonstrated recently in an October table.

The weave of the copper-colored table linens have a slight metallic shimmer. The linens have made appearances before, as in Blue and Copper for Effortless Style. The orange inner napkins pick up the terracotta colors in the pots. The napkins at the ends of the table are held by carved wooden rings; the remaining four table settings have napkins held by silver rings. The strong lines of the flatware seemed perfect for a graphically based table.
The pots and baskets undulate down the center of the table, softened by fall berries placed in amber votives. I chose these particular pieces because they were of similar size and would not interfere with easy conversation. The pottery and basketry are normally on display throughout my house.

I took some closeups of the amazingly painted surfaces. The pots themselves are polychrome, traditional in form, constructed by hand using the traditional horizontal coil method or by freely forming the shape. They are not thrown on a wheel.

Acoma vessel

The textural nature of basketry contrasts with the pottery. These baskets are made of strips of wood, rather than reeds, grasses or other types of materials. All the baskets were made by artisans of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, a sovereign nation in the Qualla Boundary, which encompasses mountains, rivers, and forests located next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Eastern Band Cherokee basket, Acoma pot
The artist used white oak with butternut dyes. The interior of the basket is shown below, with the base design done in opposite colorways.

I love the wooden handles on this basket and the 3-D effect of the wide curlicue wood band around the middle. Made from maple and white oak, with the "twist" pattern.

Eastern Band Cherokee basket

In addition to geometric patterns, figural and floral designs are found on pottery. Not only is this figure painted on the pot, the clay was excised from the figure to the geometric borders at the top and bottom.

The Avanyu is the guardian of water. Depicted as a horned serpent with lightning emerging from its mouth, its body resembles a rippling stream; the lightning signifies thunderstorms that bring rain.
Acoma vase

Acoma bowl

The ceramic mugs at the place settings bear a commissioned original design by Pueblo artisans. The mugs were then commercially produced. All of the participating artists receive royalties for each mug sold, with proceeds also supporting the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (with which I have no affiliation) and the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico. 

The designs on my mugs were created by six artists and represent their individual Pueblos, Each pueblo is a separate, sovereign nation.

left to right, top row: Isleta, Acoma, Laguna
left to right, bottom row: Acoma, San Ildefonso, Jemez

The tray I designed for autumn still sits on the buffet. The double spouted black vessel is a wedding vase. Each spout represents one member of the couple; the handle in the middle represents their union on their wedding day. 
Next to it is a contemporary design where the pot was excised within the triangular lines (the cream-colored areas). The artist then added a wooden ladder in the traditional style used to access the upper floors of pueblos.
both vessels Acoma

To the left of the tray is a large basket made of white oak woven in various patterns. The dyes used were made from walnut and bloodroot.

Eastern Band Cherokee

Set your table with things you love, things you collect, things that mean something to you!

Using and enjoying art brings another dimension to your table for a style that is unmistakably yours!

Thank you for stopping by!

Table details   
Dinner plates | Mikasa 'Onyx'   
Salad plates |  Royal Doulton 'Alice'  
Flatware | Mikasa 'Italian Countryside' 
Mugs | Sixteen artists available at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center  (I have no affiliation with the center)
Shared with   
Tell It to Me Tuesday       
Home Imagined     
Vintage Charm      
Wednesday party      
Tablescape Thursday       
County Road      
Home Matters      
Saturday Sparks      
Karins Kottage     
Hearth and Soul     



  1. Amazing pottery pieces you have here, I just love pottery
    I visited you via To Grandma’s House we go! (Wednesday Link Party #372
    I linked up this week with = 33+34. Come and join us Mon - Saturday at SeniorSalonPitStop as well as #WordlessWednesday #Photography Wednesday - Saturday. You will find the info under BLOGGING

    1. Sandra @ Dinner at EightNovember 3, 2023 at 12:28 PM

      Thank you. I am awed by their artistry and precision of their craftmanship.

  2. Hi Sandra - I always love to see the different tablescapes you create. You always amaze me with your talent. Thank you for sharing this post with the Home Imagined Link Party.

    1. Sandra @ Dinner at EightNovember 5, 2023 at 9:15 PM

      Aww, thanks! How nice of you to say! I always enjoy coming to the party.

  3. Sandra, These pieces are all so beautiful, and I love how you put it all together! I'll be featuring this today at Thursday Favorite Things. :)

    1. Sandra @ Dinner at EightNovember 9, 2023 at 10:39 AM

      Pam, thank you! There are so many beautiful examples of merging art with utility in exquisite pottery and basketry that I'm sure I'll be collecting them for a long time! I love that I can support artists this way.


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