#BBLT x Sylvan Clayworks Cheese Trays

We all know I love me some cheese and wine and I would have just that for dinner every night of the week if it were healthy .. or socially acceptable .. so when my friend Sarah Longenecker, owner of Sylvan Clayworks (@sylvanclayworks), reached out about a collaboration to bring to my followers, I was SO excited because I knew exactly what we could do..


Sarah seemed equally excited about the idea being that she had never made Cheese Trays?!  .. however, don’t be fooled, Sarah’s expertise in clay & ceramics is more vast than most can comprehend..Sarah has been sculpting and working with ceramics long before I met her at our old mutual job serving tables about 5 years back

where she would bring a piece of clay to work and quickly mold it into the most elaborate, detailed object I’d ever seen..only to smoosh it up and shove the clay back into her apron

when she “got sat” (restaurant lingo for “you got a new table that hasn’t been greeted..”). Then eventually she would restart on a new piece once inspiration struck..or we were just waiting on a bartender to make our table’s drinks. 😛 HA. The creative mind is awesome. Anyway, Sarah’s been at it since she was 15 years old in high school and eventually attended college at Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia, which is ranked among our nations elite in Schools of Fine Art. Sarah even makes the tableware for local Nashville eatery, The Treehouse Nashville. So next time you stop by for a meal, tell your friends you know who made the beautiful plates you’re eating off of 😛 And if Sarah wasn’t already cool enough, to add to her already outstanding resume, she was just chosen as 1 of 6 “Emerging Artists” from hundreds of applicants to debut their work at the 47th Annual Tennessee Craft Fair this upcoming May! You can also find Sarah and Sylvan Clayworks as a local vendor at the 2018 Nashville Pride Festival June 23rd and 24th!

Y’all keep your eyes peeled because Sarah’s work will be everywhere before you know it!

So when Sarah and I decided to iron out the details of our collaboration I took my photographer, who I’m sure you all know by name now, Julia Perkins (@juliaperkinsphotography), and went over to Sarah’s beautiful Nashville space.

While we were there, Sarah not only took me through what all goes into making each of her handmade pieces but she even let me (attempt to) make one!! How cool is that?!

Let me tell y’all, I’ve always had respect for all types of artists but DAMN. After going through each step of ceramic making myself, it’s a wonder Sarah’s pieces aren’t triple the prices she sells them for.. 1. The TALENT that goes into the techniques used and 2. THE TIME. – Y’all don’t even know! Here are some pictures and a very non-professional description of the process I went through with Sarah to show you how I epically FAILED at trying to make a Sylvan Clayworks piece..

hahahha yall. I mean. EPIC FAIL.

see photo above ^ Sarah’s piece is on the the left .. and then she was kind enough to add my logo to my catastrophe of a piece..like a sweet southern way of saying, “Bless your heart, honey..let me spruce that up for you..” HAHAHA. Im dead.

start kneading clay that is as hard as rock into something soft enough to feed through a machine to fully flatten it..cut out the shapes and pieces of your designs..allow to dry..cover piece with “slip”..allow to dry..choose & then draw a design for piece onto wax paper..stencil that design onto piece..paint the piece..allow to dry..trim the design out of the piece using the “sgraffito” method..allow to dry..”fire”piece in a Bisque Kiln for 8-10 hours..”cool” piece in Bisque Kiln for another 8-10 hours..glaze the piece..allow to dry..”fire” piece in Glaze Kiln for 10 hours..”cool” piece in Glaze Kiln for another 12 hours…all of that (about 50 hours worth of work) before ONE of Sarah’s pieces is complete. LAWD HELP HER. – I mean, shit!

If it took me 40+ hours to paint a brides face I would have quit as a MUA or killed a bride by now 😛 ..

The process I did with Sarah, before the 40+ hours of kiln time, took the better part of 3 hours…for ONE piece. And those 3 hours happened with Sarah holding my hand but letting me (attempt) to do each step by myself all while secretly having a second of each step already correctly made, knowing I would mess everything up with the toddler level skills anyone would have without YEARS of experience in this art. It’s like when you watch a cooking show and Rachael Ray let’s the “special guest” ..emphasis on special.. make her dish but secretly already has it ready and waiting (the correct way) in the oven so everyone can see what’s actually supposed to go down. Hahaha that’s basically how mine and Sarah’s day went. She was a champion and so sweet to walk my ceramically-challenged self through her amazing, intricate and time consuming process.

ps. how beautiful and thoughtful is this makeup brush holder Sarah made me?! I almost cried when I opened it! I love handmade gifts with love behind them!


Y’all be sure to check Sarah and Sylvan Clayworks out on Instagram (@sylvanclayworks) and if you’re in Nashville in May or June, be sure to stop by one of the above mentioned festivals, say hello, tell Sarah @beautybyleightaylor sent you, and grab you a couple of her BEAUTIFUL pieces! Now..without further ado, click HERE to shop the amazingly intricate, handmade Cheese Trays brought to you by..my bad habits..and Sylvan Clayworks’ genius! And don’t forget Sarah has been gracious enough to give all my followers a 20% OFF DISCOUNT CODE to use at checkout on ANY Cheese Tray OR on ANY purchase over $50 on the ENTIRE Sylvan Clayworks website! Y’all hurry though, they’re limited and this offer expires one week from today at: 12pm CST Monday, April 9th.


Be sure to let me know your thoughts on this collaboration & if you were lucky enough to snag a limited edition #BBLT x Sylvan Clayworks piece!

Y’all also stay tuned for a “How to Build a Charcuterie Board” blog post coming this week featuring our BBLT x Sylvan Clayworks Cheese Trays! (..sneak peak pictured below!)