Dinner in a Field


Mari Greene, Searra Frostman, Reporter

Kathy Irwin, South Shore’s new art teacher, headed back to her home state of New York, for an event featuring her ceramic work. On Saturday, September 7th, Ms. Irwin traveled to Elizabethtown, New York, for a unique event: Dinner in a Field, hosted by an organization called Craigardan. 

Dinner in a Field is exactly what it sounds like. People bought tickets to attend a dinner held in a tent out in the field. Ms. Irwin described it as “art, farm, food, and location all in one.” Here is the twist: all of the plates, bowls, and platters are handmade. This year, all of the dinner plates, dessert plates, and some of the platters used for appetizers were made by Ms. Irwin. She hand-made 200 plates, made her own glaze, and hand fired all of them.  

Since she stayed in Elizabethtown during her residency in the winter months, she drew inspiration for her pieces from her favorite things about the area such as the snow, mountains, and rock formations. She wanted her work to resemble the area it was created in. Her favorite pieces of work in the show were the dessert plates, which were shaped like hexagons and inspired by the environment around her.

Throughout another residency program that she attended, Ms. Irwin met a fellow ceramic artist who informed her about the Craigardan organization. She then applied for the program, and once she was accepted, she got the time, materials, and space to make tableware for the event. The proceeds from the event that took place this year will go back into the program, so that the artists supplies for the dinner next year will be funded.

Ms. Irwin grew up in Oswego, New York, about four and a half hours from the location of the show that she attended. Both of her parents were artists, which influenced her to begin making art at a young age. Her mother worked at a bookstore and would bring home samples to explore with her. This began her passion of art. She attended college to receive a major in painting.

After moving to Bayfield, Ms. Irwin taught as a special-ed aide in Washburn and had been considering teaching art for a couple years, because she wanted to give back her knowledge to the community from her time spent working on her art. When the opportunity came up to teach at South Shore, she was thrilled. She is very excited to be teaching here and working with such an open community. She loves the closeness and personality of the school.