#tabletime goes viral

For over seventy years William Ashley has expounded the virtues of gathering at a table to share good food and ideas. In 2018 this message was electrified and moved from art to design to our own kitchen cupboards. Resolving to spend more time at the table has always been our credo, here is how #tabletime turned into a call to action.

Judy Chicago (American, born 1939). The Dinner Party, 1974–79. Ceramic, porcelain, textile, 576 × 576 in. (1463 × 1463 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. (Photo: Donald Woodman)

She: As the #metoo movement continued to shape the zeitgeist in early 2018, so renewed an interest in artist Judy Chicago. Her monumental installation, The Dinner Party, came back into focus with its hand-painted porcelain table settings, championing feminine strength. The artist, featured in an article by Sasha Weiss (The New York Times Style Magazine, February 7th), reflects on Judy Chicago’s body of work: facilitating the inclusion of women at every table. The Dinner Party, 1979, is permanently on view at The Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Christmas Campaign, Burberry 2018- Filmmaker Juno Calypso

We Are In This Together: By early fall, the Burberry Christmas Campaign unveiled a diverse and sparkling cast of icons gathered at a festive table. Hip hop star M.I.A., Kristin Scott-Thomas and the director of the video, Juno Calypso, sat pensive, radiating the essence of togetherness without giving up their individuality. Even Naomi Campbell’s mother graced this digital short. Lead designer, Burberry’s new Creative Director, Riccardo Tisci, knows how to set a table with flair.

“I am fascinated by this Japanese art called “Kintsugi” from the 16th century, which is to make visible repairs on ceramic made with a mix of lacquer and gold giving an even greater aesthetic value. In the workshops in Limoges, I worked like a calligrapher- highly concentrated, and did all the 12 plates in the same sitting. Inspiration struck like lightning.” Sarkis for Bernardaud

Let’s Talk About It: Closer to home, as the festive season bubbled over at the cusp of a new year, Canada’s own Loblaws supermarkets had a surprise for us. Channeling philosopher Alan Watts- who rose to fame translating Eastern philosophy for a Western audience- one of Canada’s largest grocery chains turned a commercial into a self-care mantra. The breathtaking short film was unleashed at local cinemas, urging a familiar call to action: spend more time offline breaking bread together.

Center: Bernadette Morra Co-Chair Bloor Street Entrertains 2018

What a satisfying start to 2019! We wish you all the joy and peace that comes with spending time with friends and family (no matter how you define the word). Everyone deserves a seat at the table. For seven years William Ashley has been a humble host to Bloor Street Entertains in benefit of CANFAR, supporting Canadian HIV research. Two months ago, we were honoured with the head table, receiving the elegant co-chair Bernadette Morra and a swath of socialites to our brand new store. It was a night to make any budding paparazzi salivate. There was not a dry eye in the house when Maluba Habanyama spoke her truth after the dinner, a poignant reminder of the power of community and what can be achieved around a dinner table. Scroll down for a video of Bloor Street Entertains 2018 in action.

Maluba Habanyama with friend.