#78 – Convivial Production
1026 Hickory St., 4th Floor, Kansas City, MO 64101
Features: Ceramic home wares, environmentally friendly, local business, woman-owned
Atmosphere: Airy, bright, dusty, green.
Tip: Sign up in advance for their monthly tours – capacity goes fast.
Convivial Production is a ceramic studio and manufacturer located in the West Bottoms district of Kansas City. The local, homegrown company produces beautiful, clean, geometric pieces for home, table and garden.
Chentell Shannon started Convivial Production in 2014. After graduating college, a friend asked Chentell to create a 300-piece set of dishware for their wedding. The wedding garnered a lot of interest in her work, so Chentell began producing items to sell. Since then, the company has blossomed throughout its 4-year history.
From its start in Chentell’s garage, the business now occupies a loft space in a historic building in the West Bottoms and employees five talented women. They sell their goods online for retail and wholesale orders, and create 800 – 1,000 pieces per week.
About the Convivial Tour
Chentell and her staff open up their studio space to accommodate tours during the West Bottoms’ Warehouse Weekends. The free tour was about 90 minutes long, covering a vast array of topics, including their five-step production process.
- Mixing slip, aka clay.
- Pouring the slip into their homemade plaster molds.
- Bisque firing in the kiln.
- Dipping the pieces into the glaze.
- Glaze firing in the kiln.
The tour was perfect. In depth, but not overwhelming. Long, but not obnoxiously so. I felt that everyone was intrigued the whole time, even the kids that were in attendance. Chentell keeps it very hands on – we dipped our fingers in slip, touched pieces in each phase of the process, and shopped the finished products.
In addition to each step of the ceramics process, Chentell shared her sources for inspiration and the history of Convivial. At the end of the tour, everyone was given a ring dish for attending. We also got access to shop the Seconds Shelves, or pieces with slight imperfections at half price. I got a beautiful hanging planter and coffee mug – pieces I am unbelievably excited to have in my home and use on a daily basis.
I am so happy to have found Convivial. It is a company that exemplifies the importance of shopping local. They produce beautiful, useful pieces in an environmentally friendly way, employ Kansas Citians and give back to the community.