Erin Hupp is an Oakland-based ceramic artist, best known for her impressive work with fine-dining chefs. She’s just launched a line of hand-thrown lamps and mirrors—largely inspired by her collaborations (plates and serving vessels) with chefs.  

To celebrate the holiday season and her well-timed new collections, Erin threw an intimate champagne and caviar dinner party with friends and artists alike. She partnered with The Caviar Co, with whom she’s also collaborated with to create a hand-thrown caviar server, for a fabulous event filled with good food, good music, and plenty of merriment. 

Below, the artist shares her tips for a similar soiree:

First pick a stunning, artful centerpiece and then set your table around it.
A great way to start setting a table for guests is to begin with the center of the table. My ink texture server is my go-to centerpiece around the holidays because it is both eye-catching and functional. I designed it to include a lower ice compartment to keep caviar, oysters, or shrimp chilled. 

For smaller parties, use the end of the table to make an unexpected statement. 
Allow your guests to find a surprise in your table setting. I overturn one of my Ink Ring vases and arrange flowers spilling out to give the table organic movement. Tip: slide a wet flower sponge into the vase to keep the flowers watered and artfully arranged. 

Arrange your ceramic tableware as a collection, keeping each guest’s setting unique. 
While setting a table, I reach for a collection of plates rather than the typical uniform set of identical plates and bowls. I artfully arrange various shapes and sizes on the table so the flat lay, or bird’s eye view, is a beautiful layered composition of varied ceramic forms, similar to one of my wall installations. I keep it cohesive by using plates that have a design connection, whether it be the shape or glaze. It tethers the settings while layering texture and color. During the holidays, I pair my moody ink texture salad plates alongside my alabaster chargers. Guests will notice that their dining companion’s plate is subtly different from their own, creating conversation. 

Serve shareable food.
During the holidays, we gather around a table of food to connect and celebrate. Serving shareable food allows guests to intermingle and chat. My holiday menu includes platters of oysters and caviar-loaded blini, and a tower of canelés surrounded by fruit. 

Pick a memory-evoking playlist.
Even though the weather outside is chilly, I choose playlists like Spotify’s “Italian Villa in the Summer” at December gatherings. Playlists like this keep it fresh while still nostalgic with songs like La Vie En Rose, Unforgettable by Nat King Cole and Come Fly With Me by Frank Sinatra. Guests can reminisce about sunkissed summers. I love holiday music but often by mid-December I’m ready to mix it up a bit.