Captivating From Chic To Comic

Enthralling table settings amaze visitors at Bosque Arts Center Tablescapes fundraiser now open to the public daily through Dec. 9 in Clifton

CLIFTON – A beautiful table setting instantly tells dinner guests that the hostess has gone the extra mile to ensure the dinner will be a memorable one; showing how much she cherishes her guests.

At the Bosque Arts Center, Tablescapes shows table settings exceed imagination. One table after another leave the view wondering in amazement about the amount of creativity, time and effort poured into the exquisite displays. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, another table setting trumps the previous one in detail, use of color or whimsicalness – is that even a word?

Approximately 45 breathtakingly beautiful, grinningly humorous or creatively themed tables fill the Tin Building Theater. The Tablescapes fundraising exhibit put together by local ladies, BAC sub groups and several group efforts can be admired from Nov. 18 through Dec. 9 during BAC opening hours of Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., as well as specially selected Saturdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Nov. 19, Nov. 26, and Dec. 3). Admission is just $5 per person.

“We all love to have this on display for about three weeks,” event organizer and ringmaster Jan Kieta said. “There is so, so much time, effort, planning and emotions that go into this event; having it longer enables many to come and see these creations.”

Guests to the Tablescapes Opening Reception Thursday, Nov. 17 were the first to see the decorative talents while savoring a wide array of delectable appetizers furnished by the ladies and gentlemen of Tablescapes, combined with the special wine and cocktail bar. It is quite the social gathering.

Each table sparks one’s imagination on the back story. Even if you go round the exhibit twice, something new will catch your eye. The sheer creativity and thought put behind the tables is astounding, and the first class execution and attention to detail astonishing. For example, take the Cat’n Around dinner table – goldfish in the water goblets, cat kibble in jars, a trout for the more discerned cat, mice for the bored guests to play with, cat plates, cat mugs, cat name tag holders with cats’ names like Catarina, and a turf table runner. A lot of thought goes into that kind of detail.

Many of the participants beg, steal and borrow items from friends and family and fellow table decorators to complete their perfect table setting. The Wreaths Across America table for example had wine goblets from one friend and the red-white and blue nutcrackers from another.

For those familiar to Tablescapes, everybody’s favorite sloppy uncle’s TV tray and hideous chair was back with a vengeance. This year Bubba T. Johnston is playing Scrabble with four friends, complete with decade-worn Scrabble set and dictionary. Bubba T. Johnston’s set up just makes you smile – from the VFW cap to the hideous lamp, the bottles of Pepsi, the flip up address book, the list of goals, the Itch-X. You can only imagine the discussion about the validity of a word put down, or the other discussion taking place as a player contemplates their next word.

Other tables take you on a trip around the world from the John Deere farm and bath-time at another, by helicopter to Ancient Egypt, a day at the beach with the pooches, twice to Hollywood, to England to honor Queen Elizabeth II, a Halloween visit with our dear friend Charlie Brown, to a stop in NOLA for Mardi Gras to Gingerbread Boulevard via a stylish book store and finally end up just down the road at the iconic Horny Toad Bar and Grill in Cranfills Gap, and with a whole lot of traditional, beautiful table settings in between.

And several tables remembered loved ones passed on. Blue Funk honored local blues guitarist Dennis Willingham and Percy Sledge; Dinner at the Front honored soldiers of the past; A Man of Many Hats honored Virgil Curtis and Brand New Pair of Roller Skates honored music of yesteryear and the King Elvis, of course.

Many BAC sub-groups had a table on display, highlighting their group, like the needle point group, the quilting guild, the Bosque County Music Association, the Culinary Club. This year, there were two tables by the 4-H youth.

“This is the kind of event where we can foster and teach by viewing the niceties of this ‘crazy world’” Kieta said, thrilled that young people were wanting to join in the fun. “The joy of creating gorgeous, pleasant, simple, elegant, fun tables to enjoy with our families and friends.”

In spite of many requests for placings and “people’s Choice,” Kieta deliberately keeps the competition element out of the event, saying “all tables are wonderfully and beautifully equal.”

Other tables were sponsored by businesses or civic organizations like the Rotary, Bosque Spay and Neuter, Bosque Animal Rescue Kennels or the Bosque Museum. And for some participants one table was not enough to satisfy their drive to create, and they poured their imaginations into two or three exceptional settings. More than half of the participants have poured their creativity into their table settings for the six years it has been in existence.

The popular event is a general fundraiser for the BAC, with the $5 entry fee and the reception tickets bringing in the funds. Kieta expressly keeps the entry fee low, to make it possible for a lot of people into the art center. This year three ladies from Waco made it a day outing – viewing the tablescapes before enjoying lunch together. And Kieta promises that it’s not just a “chick” event; the fact that more and more gentlemen are attending. Under the motto “Cook it and they will come!” the fabulous buffet is a big draw for them.

These are but a few examples of the 45-plus tables on display – 11 more than last year – worth seeing and admiring, twice or three times to take in all the details. And who knows, maybe it will spark some creative table setting ideas for the upcoming holiday season with its many family gatherings


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