‘Fifty gravy boats’ just in time for Thanksgiving

Art instructor Karl McDade is turning DVC’s art gallery into a gravy boat regatta just in time for Thanksgiving.

The exhibit, which runs Nov. 1 through Nov. 23, will showcase gravy boats made by artists from all over the country.

Arthur King, DVC’s art gallery coordinator and art instructor explained that the idea is to have something that is part of our everyday lives and transform it from something mundane, maybe even boring, to something artistic and therefore interesting.

Titled “Fifty Gravy Boats,” the art show will allow interested parties to admire each of the unique gravy boats, place bids on their favorite pieces, or buy them right away if they are so willing to pay the asking price. The participating artists were allowed to set both the starting bid for their piece as well as its buy-it-now price.

The idea for the show came about, McDade said, when a friend of his did him a favor and in exchange wanted McDade to make her a gravy boat. Five years went by and she kept reminding him of his promise. It wasn’t until Christa Assad, a Berkeley potter, came to DVC one day to make pots for students, showing them her techniques, that McDade asked her to make him a gravy boat.

But Assad had never made a gravy boat in her life, and that night she became obsessed with the idea and didn’t go to bed until she had made one.

“I don’t think very many potters ever made a gravy boat, that’s kind of cheesy and goofy, so I put out the call, and I sent this funny letter to like a hundred potters that I knew, and the response was huge,” McDade said.

 “It’s a fun show because it’s almost like I gave all of my colleagues an assignment. If I would have done a teapot show, or a cup show, well, they already make teapots and cups, right? But now I’m saying ‘you are going to have to make a gravy boat’. So they have to come up with a new idea for this one show,” McDade said.

As many of the participating artists are from all over the country, most will not be able to attend in person. Fortunately art students have volunteered to help McDade take pictures of the entire set of pieces and burn them on discs ready to be sent out to the artists.

Seventy percent of the proceeds will go back to the artists, while 30 percent will go right into the art department’s trust fund which helps pay for “taking the students to ceramic conferences, and things like that. That money just goes to support things that the college can’t afford to support,” McDade said.

A closing reception will be held from 7 to 9 p.m., on Nov. 23, which is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Bidding ends at 8 p.m. that same day, which is when buyers are allowed to finally take home their newly acquired gravy boats.


Contact Parjanya Holtz at [email protected]