Artist Gina DeSantis puts a new spin on showcasing her work

As much as she likes to show off her ceramics, artist Gina DeSantis wanted a new way to highlight the works she creates in her studio at the Screw Factory in Lakewood. “I hate showing my work in galleries,” she declares. “It just sits on a white pedestal and it’s like, ‘oh look, a mug.’”

Then DeSantis started thinking about the whole farm-to-table movement, and the practice of sourcing food locally. She thought, why can’t that practice apply to the plates people use to eat their local food?
So DeSantis contacted her friend Jillian Davis, owner of Toast restaurant, about a showing her work in the restaurant. Davis loved the idea, and with that Kiln to Table: An evening of fine craft and fine dining was born.
DeSantis designed 50 three-piece place settings – a salad plate, a dinner plate and a soup bowl – for the restaurant. Diners have the option to buy their place settings after dinner (the setting will be cleaned and packed up for pick up on Friday). Of course, guests are not obligated to buy their settings.
"I came up with rustic, simple dinnerware for Toast,” DeSantis says. “It accentuates the food and doesn’t distract from it.”
Kiln to Table is a one-night exhibit. But DeSantis would like to see restaurant shows become a regular thing. “It’s one night only, but hopefully it will be more,” she says. “I might get other artists involved and we’ll hop around the city. “
DeSantis adds that she wants to continue the trend of buying locally. “There’s this frenzy for everything local,” she says. “We’re growing and sourcing everything locally and then throw it on a 50-cent Ikea plate.”
She encourages people to take the trend a step further and buy their dinnerware locally as well.  We’re so concerned about sourcing everything local, but we get from A to Y,” DeSantis explains. “It may be more costly, but if you’re really concerned about sourcing local, it’s worth it.”
 Kiln to Table is scheduled for Thursday, November 5 from 4:30 pm to 11 pm. Reservations are recommended.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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