We are seeking creative, talented members of the community to submit designs for our Tables & Tastings fundraising event! Table Designers put together unique creations following a theme of their choice, to be sold at silent auction. The deadline for signing up to be a table designer is April 1st, so don't wait until it's too late!
To complete our Table Designer Registration Form, just click here! More information can be found below, along with download-and-print resources to help you along your Table Design adventure!
What is a Table Design, exactly?
Table Designs are unique, themed creations assembled by talented local individuals for display and sale at Tables & Tastings. Many Table Designs start with the basic idea of a dining table, including service for four. However, the sky is the limit, and our designers get more creative every year!
Some of our Table Designs are meant to be assembled into an elegant dining room, and include everything you would need to create a room around them. Some even include wall hangings, chairs and even a new table itself!
Many of the creations could stand as works of art on their own. Designers with excellent taste and a critical eye bring together something that wouldn't look out of place in a gallery; modern sculpture via flatware!
Other Table Designers take a more whimsical approach, and load their tables with goodies! One idea is to include a variety of gift certificates that follow the theme, while others simply include a collection of items that anyone would feel lucky to own. Through cooperation with sponsors and their own generosity, designers make these tables a true prize!
A few Table Designers have pulled out all the stops, creating elaborate displays that could outfit an entire room of your house or a luxurious outdoor patio space!
Of course, in the end a few tables are completely unique! How about a complete setup for breakfast in bed; including the bed? Maybe an outdoor patio set, with fountains, a new grill and wind chimes to transform your backyard? Perhaps even a canoe and picnic backpack for exploring the Adirondacks, or the supplies and ideas for an entire year of monthly get-togethers with a group of friends? All of these and more have been past design submissions, and there's no telling how far this year's Table Designers will push the envelope!
How do I choose a theme for my Table Design?
There are hundreds of themes that have been chosen over the years, and just as many strategies from designers on how to choose one. Here are a few ideas.
One of the most popular choices is holidays, like Christmas or Saint Patrick's Day. These themes offer an easy way to keep all your components matching; there are lots of Halloween-themed dishes and other items if you shop at the right time of year. In addition, clearance sales just after a holiday offer a way to keep your costs low. On the other hand, these designs don't sell for as much at the event, since few attendees want a Valentine's design on display year 'round.
Another approach is to appeal to a particular culture or subgroup. A table targeting cigar lovers, Yankees fans, or Coca-Cola collectors is sure to find a few die-hard bidders at the event. Plus, any easily recognizable brand will offer a ready color scheme to coordinate with. If your centerpiece is a Harley-Davidson package, your linens can all be simple black and orange. The downside is that for every fan who wants this table, twenty will pass it by.
Perhaps the most common approach is to just go out and start shopping! Wait to be inspired by one item you fall in love with. Maybe it's a mocha-colored serving platter, and that inspires your Coffee Break theme. You could get an amazing deal on a blue crystal vase, and build a She Sells Seashells table around it. Maybe a business donates a golf bag, and Dinner for Fore! is the result. Who knows?
Whatever theme you choose, just make sure you're excited about it. This design isn't just a fundraiser. It's also a work of art, and a labor of love. You should enjoy every minute of making it.
How do I manage the costs?
Some of our designers "sponsor" themselves, paying the entire cost out of pocket. While this is a large expense to carry, it does allow you complete control over the Table Design. To ease the expense a little, most of our table design submissions have multiple designers working as a team. Not only does this increase the number of people working to contribute funds, but it also provides an additional source of ideas, time, and talent for the design. As a bonus, the Table Design can become a fun project for a group of friends to work on over the course of a few months.
Another option is to solicit sponsors for your entry. While Empowered Pathways does not provide a listing of potential sponsors, you can download a Donation Receipt with pictures of past Table Designs and a letter explaining the event to ease the process of "making the ask". Table sponsors can be family, friends, employers, or local businesses. They can contribute cash to the purchase of supplies, or donate items such as flatware and gift certificates that add value to the table design. Many of our most successful designs in past years have been those that included a high degree of "loot"; valuable items donated by local businesses, which fitted with the theme of the design and presented an excellent value to bidders.
There is a benefit to anyone who sponsors your Table Design. All sponsors will receive recognition at the event. You are also encouraged to leave business cards on the table for further advertisement. Your design is a tax deductible donation that will benefit programs for women in need of job training, children and the disabled who need voices in court, and families in conflict within our community.
Last, but not least, we want to make sure that you can join us at the event! Every Table Design submitted receives two free tickets to the event, with additional tickets available for purchase! Who knows? One of the other designs at the event might just catch your eye...
Are there any materials that can help me?
Glad you asked! You can download the newest version of our printable Designer Packet below. It includes:
- Our Table Designer Registration Form, which includes the Rules for Designing a Table
- Our Table Design Tips and Value Planning Sheet, which will help you get the most out of your experience
- Our Tables and Tastings Donation Receipt, which you can use to help solicit Table Design sponsors