Carney recently moved to Ann Arbor with plans to open the world's first Dinnerware Museum. While raising funds to rent a permanent location, she's mounting a temporary exhibit, Unforgettable Dinnerware, at the Ladies' Literary Club of Ypsilanti from April 27 to May 17 (see Galleries, p. 68.)
Architecture and furniture get lots of press, but much less attention has been paid to the plates, utensils, and other tabletop pieces that form the centerpiece of home life. Though loved by brides, ogled in antique stores, cosseted in galleries, and esteemed by aristocrats, they've never been brought together in a place that treasures the whole spectrum of what's out there.
Carney, a slim and charming dynamo, aims to correct that. An Iowa City native, the founder and director of the Dinnerware Museum nonetheless calls Ann Arbor her "ancestral home." Her grandfather, a U-M professor, lived on Lawrence Street, and she has sweet memories of his ice cream rewards for a little girl when she was good. She was also drawn here, she says, by Ann Arbor's "family" of generous, gregarious galleries, shops, and street events, into which her museum should be a natural fit.
Carney's made a career working with all things tabletop. A PhD in Asian art history fed her intense passion for ceramics, and she's had an impressive career as a writer (sixty-eight books, catalogs, and journal articles), curator (forty shows), and lecturer (forty public talks).