Carney's goal is to protect, nurture, and share tableware created throughout human history, from the humble to the gaudy. When the Ceramics Museum at Alfred University rediscovered the molds used to form eminent ceramicist Eva Zeisel's white porcelain, she wrote the catalog for the resulting exhibit--and Crate and Barrel subsequently used the molds to reproduce Zeisel's designs.
Carney says she and her husband, Bill Walker, are "like bookends around the art and technology of ceramics." A ceramics engineer, Walker has designed industrial ceramic objects ranging from spark plugs to hip joints. They worked together to design the museum's beautiful and iconic logo.
"The nucleus [of the museum's collection] is made up of things I collected over the years," Carney says. Its thousands of items include elegant porcelain, Pyrex teapots, designer stoneware, handmade pieces by famous potters, art works related to dinnerware, and even aluminum TV dinner trays. It's growing quickly now. "Since we got our nonprofit status, people have started making donations," she says.