Behind “Relations Between: A Dinner Experience” with Elysia Vandenbussche X Dr. Sushi on July 11th

Artist Elysia Vandenbussche and Dr. Sushi have created a unique collaboration for an intimate dinner featuring hand made ceramic wares made exclusively for this experience taking place during her exhibition on view, Relations Between.

The event will take place on Wednesday July 11th, at 7pm at PLAYGROUND DETROIT, with limited 30 person seating available. (Purchase remaining tickets available here).

Her hand-crafted dinnerware and serving wares will be available for guests to enjoy with a curated four course dinner designed to highlight these pieces. Her pottery for this special dinner event is a “soft launch” of her rental dinner ware line, that will available for anyone interested in collaborating. She hopes that this endeavor bridges the gap of food and vessel, elevating the tactile experience.

Vandenbussche found much of her inspiration in the Wabi-sabi aesthetic for this collection of pieces. In traditional Japanese aesthetics it is a “world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection, sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.”[1]

“For this first gathering, I thought it appropriate to begin with my dinnerware collection that embodies aesthetics of Wabi-sabi. It can be vulnerable to eat with strangers, and I hope the vessels remind us to celebrate our imperfections, unique marks making us more valuable.”

Photography credit, Bre’Ann White.

She continues to explain, “I’m fascinated by the diversity of clay. Something you will get to observe in this dining experience is the variation of aesthetics. It’s all clay, but the feeling, the style communicate very different things. You get to experience in person how I influence the skin of clay to denote multiple expressions.”

Toshiki Yamada is the head sushi chef Slurping Turtle ramen bar (Ann Arbor) and has been working with Nick George, founder of Dr. Sushi, for almost two years. As Dr. Sushi Sous Chef, Yamada has prepared a unique menu to highlight her beautiful series. He explains that Wabi-Sabi is the exact aesthetic at Dr. Sushi, as they do not follow recipes in most of their cooking.

“With this opportunity,  I am able to put together a menu that I came up with on my own. It’s a liberating feeling- I wanted to challenge myself and make a menu that not only is unique but also unusual. At Dr. Sushi have always been known to have at least one weird menu item, and it’s usually the best thing on the menu.”


IKA & UNI SOMEN Santa Barbara Sea Urchin, Squid

TUNA TATAKI Seared Big Eye Tuna with Schezuan Vegetable Root Salad

NIGIRI SASHIMI Assorted selections from Motor City Seafood Company

DESSERT Japanese cheesecake with azuki & white chocolate mousse


Including a fine selection of Japanese Whiskey Tasting featuring

Yamazaki 12, Hakushu 12, Hibiki Harmony & Suntory Toki, and ENTER Sake.

(Reserve your seat here)

Vandenbussche has wanted to do a dinner event like this for years.

“I’ve been to a handful of private pop up dinners around the city. The Chefs work so hard preparing a creative meal, and a good presentation deserves a quality canvas to support the vision. I put a lot of thoughtfulness into my work and I believe people will feel that energy behind the object that was formed through my hands.”

Photography credit, Charlies William Kelly

What are you looking forward to most about this dinner experience?

EV: The food and conversations. One of the ways I’m constantly inspired is through dialogue with others – it’s the most spontaneous thing we do everyday. I love learning about the way people think— that excites me.

Can you share the ‘Relations Between’ these works and the artwork on view in your exhibit? 

EV: My artwork in Relations Between (on view through July 14th) speaks subtly on relationships, while asking the question: Does the object define the space or does the space define the object? A constant investigation of mine. How do forms relate to each other? The way I arrange them in space creates different dialogues. How do we relate to these 3D forms?

I like to ask more questions in my work then give absolutes. The works on view in the exhibit are very complimentary to this dinner event, because my porcelain paintings are small parts curated into larger installations; commenting on the importance of the individual in a group context.

Like this dinner for example, there will be a mix of individuals coming together in a form of community and an opportunity to learn about each other, which will make any individual more developed. Individuality is important to community, community is important to individuality.

Photography credit, Charles William Kelly


Relations Between: A Dinner Experience will showcase the first finished collection of Elysia’s handmade rental dinnerware line. Rental collections will be available August 1st.  
A note from the artist: I look forward to collaborating with people by offering thoughtful vessels to complete a dining experience and support their vision. Other collections I’m working on are white porcelain, black porcelain, and an eclectic set that is tailored for family-style with large platters for casual vibe dining. 















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