Dinnerware can be considered an essential part for any casual gathering, holiday dinner, or formal soiree. We are excited to be bringing you handmade dinner and serve ware from Convivial Production. The geometric and minimal style of these pieces mesh well with any room decor. We spoke with owner and founder Chentell Shannon who told us about the start of her love for ceramics and what keeps that love going.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What made it special?
Chentell: My name is Chentell Shannon, I am the founder of Convivial Production, Inc, based in Kansas City, MO. Originally, however I am from Maui, Hawaii. I was born and raised on the island and remained there until high school graduation led me to further pursue my education in Chicago and then ultimately landed me in Kansas City. Maui was an incredibly unique place to grow up. The access to adventure was available in every direction. Countless valley trails to hike, ocean beaches to swim, grounds to camp and land to simply explore. Fresh fruit growing in nearly every back yard, neighborhood chickens running wild, sun filled skies year round. Theres no place quite like it.When did you first start creating handmade goods?
Chentell: I first began working with my hands during my freshman year of high school. My older sister was enrolled in ceramics as an elective, and being the awestruck younger sister that I was, I decided to take the same course. As it turns out, I loved it. My teacher introduced me to traditional techniques, I took every ceramics class available, and when I ran out of options, I built an independent curriculum. I was mesmerized and in many ways I found it to be therapeutic. Discovering this really drove me to continue to work with clay and to seek ways to make the craft a long-term endeavor.
What drew you to ceramics? What do you enjoy most about it?
Chentell: Convivial Production, Inc is the product of years of technical development colliding with my passion for hospitality and love for simplistic beauty. The potential functional wares hold for both beauty and utility stole my attention. I found the possibilities for hospitality, service and conviviality - the joining of people to eat, drink, and be well with one another - to be unique amounts a sea of artistic mediums. Often I tell people, it’s not ceramics that I am passionate about, rather how ceramics can be designed and utilized to serve others. Convivial Production was founded by these principles - the love of beauty, hospitality and the ways ceramic goods can set the scene for social vitality, gatherings, and ultimately conviviality.
What is your creative process when you’re trying to create a new product?
Chentell: Deciding on new products is initially a natural progression. Ideas come and go. I have a new idea when I am cooking dinner and want a certain size dish, when I am sitting outside on the porch and see that I have a plant that needs potting, or when I am organizing my apartment and looking for the right bottle, votive, or bowl to set the scene. I often catch myself thinking, something of this shape and this size would look good here, and if I can see others thinking the same thing, I take the idea seriously. A strategic part of my role as a designer is to discern which ideas are worth pursuing, worth bringing to life, worth making a thousand times, and then selling and shipping all over the nation.
How did you come up with your company's name?
Chentell: Conviviality, if you are unfamiliar with the term, means “the joining together of people to eat, to drink, and to be well with one another.” I came across this concept in college and was reminded of it by my husband when we were brainstorming company names. All of the products within Convivial are designed with the intention of setting the scene for conviviality. We make the plates, cups, and serving dishes that are essential for hosting and the surrounding décor that sets the scene. The vision within Convivial is that through our products we will continually inspire and enable individuals to host well—to gather, commune, and to share life with each other.