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     Doer's Profile: Dorothy Hafner


Her dinnerware designs were described as “avantgarde” when they were first introduced in the 1980s. Actually, Dorothy Hafner’s creations were authentically groundbreaking. Collaborating with Rosenthal Studio Line, she literally changed the shape of dinnerware as we know it. This intrepid ceramic artist gave new and radical forms to plates and hollowware, infusing them with raucous patterns and riotous colors. “Flash” and “Mars Landing” were among her innovative contributions and, as much as they shook up a dormant tabletop industry, they also became commercial successes. Though Hafner’s patterns are no longer in production, the shapes still are, and her originals are highly coveted by collectors. She is continually percolating with creative ideas, but a ceramics comeback remains to be seen. For the indisputable impact she’s had on the tabletop industry, we’re excited to spotlight Dorothy Hafner.

What china pattern/brand do you use in your home?
I have my own handmade patterns from the ’80s, and let my mood or the food that’s being served decide what I use. So if we’re eating Mexican, then out comes the more brightly colored designs, while if it’s a filet of sole, I pick out something a little more conservative. Appetizer, entrée, dessert – all get a different design.

What crystal pattern/brand do you use in your home?
Years ago I bought from Rosenthal a pattern called Skal-Clear. I love the chiseled and sculptural look of this – the tumblers are clear with a hefty, angular and faceted base.

If you could host a dinner party for six famous guests — living or dead — who would you invite?
I think the conversation would be lively, smart and fun with Stephen Colbert, Steve Martin and Charlie Rose plus Terry Gross, Rachel Maddow and Tina Fey. Can’t you just imagine the verbal fireworks?

What’s the last gift you purchased for someone, and the occasion?
For my studio manager’s birthday, I got her a coral red lambskin wallet by Proenza Schouler at Neiman Marcus.

What is your favorite getaway destination, and why?
Australia and a visit to the Great Barrier Reef. I love the color and motion of snorkeling, being outdoors and enjoying the sun and surf, and then following that up with a day or two in Sydney where I can go to all the museums.

What’s the last book you read?
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Reading is a passion, and this book had everything I look for: covering different cultures, generations, families.

What profession other than your own might you like to attempt?
I wish I could be a novelist.

What one thing about you might surprise others to know?
For all the exotic travel I’ve done and creative trails I’ve followed in my life, I’ve never been to Disneyland and have always wanted to go.




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