These two unique coffee sets are from the personal archive of Dorothy Hafner, whose ceramic designs of the 1980s, both handmade and industrially produced are highly sought after as icons of their time.

The shapes were designed and cast in 1981 as prototypes for a new dinnerware collection Hafner was then designing. However, these two sets were not actually decorated until much later in the decade when Hafner personally painted them for her own pleasure and delight.

The origin of these two sets within the evolution of Hafner’s vast ceramic output of the 1980s is worthy of note. In 1981 Hafner, already well known for her riotously patterned square porcelain plates, bowls and tea sets, decided to create a completely new set of shapes to carry her ever more aggressively patterned decorations.

The result was a completely new collection of shapes titled “Fred Flintstone, Flash Gordon and Marie Antoinette”, a complete range of triangular plates, square coffee cups, and hexagonal shaped coffee and tea sets, all handmade and hand painted in Hafner’s Manhattan atelier.

The tea and coffee sets were first exhibited in American galleries in 1984 and were enthusiastically received. Almost all of the original handmade sets had their own completely unique decorations. One of the patterns, “Blue Loop with Headdress,” was produced in an edition of six, many of which toured in museum shows worldwide.

Unfortunately, the series proved to be prohibitively expensive to produce by hand so Hafner sought out an affiliation with an industrial manufacturer with whom to collaborate on production. As luck would have it, the work quickly won the eye of Rosenthal Studio Line, the prestigious German manufacturer of tablewares, and quickly a deal was struck between the two studios. Hafner would design and Rosenthal would produce and distribute.

The resulting collection, fine tuned for industrial production, was titled “Flash”. It was introduced in 1984 and quickly won both critical and commercial success worldwide. Over the next 10 years, Hafner and Rosenthal enjoyed a fruitful collaboration, producing over a dozen new collections by Hafner and expanding the “Flash” collection to include more serveware and many giftware items. At its peak there were 48 pieces in “Flash” alone.

But what would become of the handmade originals made by Hafner herself? Savvy collectors and museums quickly bought up the one-of-a-kind sets available and the remaining bisque ware, undecorated, went into Hafner’s storage for many years.

Today, numerous museums have these iconic Hafner designs from the 1980’s in their permanent collections. A sampling of that list includes:

Los Angeles Museum of Art
Museum of Arts and Design, NYC
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC
Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York, NY
Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Berlin
Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst, Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
Newark Museum, Newark, NJ

Now on view at Ferrin Contemporary in North Adams, MA, are the two very special coffee sets that Hafner has kept in her personal archive since 1991 when her studio ceased ceramic production so the artist could set her sights on painting and glass.

One is from 1988, “Fireflies”, a salute to one of Hafner’s favorite signature motifs. The other, “Asterisks” was painted in 1991. Each is completely one-of-a-kind, signed, dated and numbered. There are no others like them.

Dorothy Hafner

BORN: Woodbridge, CT

EDUCATION: BA, Fine Arts, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, 1974


Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY
Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC
Los Angeles County Museum, CA
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Museum of Arts and Design, NYC
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada, (Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC
Dallas Museum of Art, TX
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Yale University Art Museum, New Haven, CT
Cooper Hewitt Museum, NYC
Brooklyn Museum, New York
Denver Museum of Art, Denver, CO
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse
Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI
Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Berlin
Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst, Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands
Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, FL
Palmer Museum of Art, Pennnsylvania State University, PA, promised gift
American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, CA


Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard University, Boston, MA (permanent lobby installation)
Frisbie Memorial Hospital, Rochester, NH (permanent lobby installation)
Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO (permanent chapel installation)
Spaulding Rehabilitation Center, Charlestown, MA
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
J. Patrick Lannan Foundation, Palm Beach, FL
Gracie Mansion, New York, NY


2015 Palmer Museum of Art, “Luminous Allure: Studio Glass from the Collection of Audrey and Norbert Gaelen,” Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Morris Museum of Art, “Clearly Compelling: Glass Art from Tiffany to Chihuly,” Morristown, NJ
Silvermine Gallery of Art, “Structure: Space and Light, Contemporary Regional Glass,” New Canaan, CT
2014 Liberty Museum, “Create + Collect = Connect,” Philadelphia, PA
2012 Museum of Art and Design, “Playing with Fire, 50 Years of Contemporary Glass,” New York, NY
Craft Alliance Delmar Loop Gallery, “Without Boundaries: Transformation in American Craft,” St. Louis, MO
Schick Art Gallery, “A Resolution of the Arts and Science,s” Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
2008 New Britain Museum, “Contemporary Glass: Chihuly and Beyond,” New Britain, CT
Racine Art Museum, “New and Never Shown Before,” Racine, WI
2007 Carnegie Museum of Art, “Viva Vetro! Glass Alive! Venice and America, 1950-2006,” Pittsburgh, PA
Brooklyn Museum, “Women Ceramists from the Permanent Collection, 1900-2006,” Brooklyn, NY
Hewitt Gallery of Art, “Glassworks,” Marymount Manhattan College, New York, NY
2006 Everhart Museum, “Projected Light: Masterworks of Contemporary Glass,” Scranton, PA
2005 Chautauqua Center of Visual Arts, “The Art of Craft in America,” Chautauqua, NY
“Continuity: Glass in 2005”, (online)
2004 Corning Museum of Glass, “The Italian Influence in Contemporary Glass,” Corning, NY & NYC (traveled)
2003 Berkshire Museum of Art, “Masters of Contemporary Glass” – Pittsfield, MA
Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, “Trial by Fire : Contemporary Glass,” Tallahassee, FL
Newark Museum, “Great Pots: Contemporary Ceramics from Function to Fantasy,” Newark, NJ
2002 Denver Art Museum, “US DESIGN, 1975-2000,” Denver, CO (traveled)
2001 Bard Graduate Center for the Decorative Arts, “Women Designers in the USA, l900-2000: Diversity and Difference,” New York, NY
2000 Mint Museum of Craft & Design, “Alan Chasanoff Ceramic Collection,” Charlotte, NC
Dallas Museum of Art & Newark Museum, “Tabletop to TV Tray: China & Glass in America 1880-1980” TX & NJ (traveled)
l999 Tampa Museum of Art, “Clearly Inspired; Contemporary Glass and Its Origins,” Tampa, FL (traveled)
1996 Corning Museum of Glass, “New Glass Review, l996,” Corning, NY
1995 Musee des Arts Decoratifs, “Designed for Delight,” Montreal, ONT (traveled)
1992-4 American Craft Museum, “More Than One: Contemporary Studio Production,” New York, NY (traveled)
1990-3 “Art That Works: Decorative Arts of the ‘80s, Crafted in America,” traveling exhibition organized by Alexandria, VA (traveled)
1989-91 “Design USA,” traveling exhibition organized by U.S. Information Agency
1987-89 Everson Museum of Art, “American Ceramics Now,” Syracuse, NY (traveled)
1989 Everson Museum of Art & American Craft Museum, “Fragile Blossoms, Enduring Earth: the Japanese Influence on American Ceramics,” Syracuse, NY & New York, NY (traveled)
National Museum of Ceramic Art, “Surface and Form,” Baltimore, MD
Canton Art Institute, “Third National Ceramic Invitational,” Canton, OH
1988 University of Oregon Museum of Art, “Contemporary Cups,” (traveled to 12 venues in U.S.)
Muchenthaler Cultural Center, “Surface and Form, A Woman’s Perspective,” Fullerton, CA
1987 “International Ceramics Festival ‘86,” Mino, Japan
Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst, “Functional Glamour,” Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
Snug Harbor Cultural Center, “Clay Feats,” Staten Island, NY
1986 American Craft Museum, “Craft Today: Poetry of the Physical,” New York, NY (traveled)
“Design in America,” traveling exhibition org. by U.S. Information Agency
John Michael Kohler Art Center, “Clay: Everyday Plus Sunday,” Sheboygan, WI
1984 Cooper Hewitt Museum, “Design in the Service of Tea,” New York, NY
1983-5 “Soup, Soup, Beautiful Soup,” traveling exhibition org. by the Campbell Museum, Camden, NJ
1983 Cooper Hewitt Museum, “Continuous Contemporary Pattern,” New York, NY
Hudson River Museum, “Ornamentalism: The New Decorativeness in Architecture and Design,” Yonkers, NY (traveled)
John Michael Kohler Art Center, “Craft: An Expanding Definition,” Sheboygan, WI
1982-4 Roberson Center for Arts, “Ancient Inspirations/Contemporary Interpretations,” Binghamton, NY (traveled)
1982 American Craft Museum, “Pattern: An Exhibition of the Decorated Surface,” New York, NY (traveled)
1980-2 American Craft Museum, “For the Table top,” New York, NY (traveled)
Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institute, “American Porcelain: New Expressions in an Ancient Art,” Washington, DC (traveled)
1981 Museum of Art at RISD, “Function and Ritual,” Providence, RI
1977,9 El Paso Museum of Art, “El Paso Designer Craftsman Biennial,” El Paso, TX


Artist Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts, l986
Fellissimo Design Award, NY Foundation for the Arts, l997
Artist Residency, Fabric Workshop, Philadelphia, PA 1984
First Prize, 1st International Tabletop Award, Natl Tabletop Assn., Dallas, l988
Design Excellence, Stuttgart Design Center Award, Stuttgart, l988
Design Excellence, Stuttgart Design Center Award, Stuttgart, l987
Honorable Mention, 1st International Ceramics Contest, Mino, Japan, l986
Artist Residency, Artpark, Lewiston, NY, 1977 & 1978
First Prize, Westerwald Prize for Industrial Design, Germany, l985
Juror’s Award, Small Works National, Zaner Gallery, Rochester, l985
Artist in Residence @ Fabric Workshop, New York State Council on the Arts, NY & PA, 1984
Salute to Achievers Award, National Home Fashions League, l984
Certificate of Honor, Women in Design International, l983
Artist in Residence @ ArtPark, Lewiston, NY, l977 and l978


2015 Schantz Galleries, “Annual Glass Invitational,” Stockbridge, MA
“Glass Weekend,” Bender Gallery, Wheaton Village, NJ
2014 Morgan Contemporary Glass, “Synthesis2” invitational exhibition, Pittsburgh, PA
Schantz Galleries, “Annual Glass Invitational,” Stockbridge, MA
Gravers Lane Gallery, “Celebrating Color,” Philadelphia, PA
2013 Mary Childs Gallery & McClennan Gallery “Distant Visions II,” St. Petersburg, FL
2012 Stewart Fine Art, Boca Raton, Fl (Solo Exhibition)
2011 Schantz Galleries, “Annual Glass Invitational,” Stockbridge, MA
Schick Art Gallery, “A Resolution of Arts and Sciences,” Saratoga Springs, NY
2010 Schantz Galleries, “Inaugural Glass Invitational,” Stockbridge, MA
Palette Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Albuquerque, NM
2009 Holsten Gallery, “Stockbridge Glass Invitational,” featured artist, Stockbridge, MA
LA Art Show, (Holsten Gallery), Los Angeles, CA
SOFA/Santa Fe, (Palette Gallery), NM
2008 Holsten Gallery, “Stockbridge Glass Invitational,” Stockbridge, MA
2007 Holsten Gallery, “Stockbridge Glass Invitational,” featured artist, Stockbridge, MA
SOFA/Chicago, with Sanske Galeriie, Zurich, Switzerland
2006 SOFA/NY, (Holsten Gallery)
Holsten Gallery, “Stockbridge Glass Invitational,” featured artist, Stockbridge, MA
Pismo Gallery , “Winter Invitational,” Denver and Aspen, CO
2005 Holsten Gallery, “Stockbridge Glass Invitational,” featured artist, Stockbridge, MA
2004 Holsten Gallery, “Stockbridge Glass Invitational,” Stockbridge, MA
Heller Gallery, “Pixilations,” New York, NY
Sandra Aisley Gallery, Toronto, Canada
SOFA/NY, (R. Duane Reed Gallery)
SOFA/Chicago, (R. Duane Reed Gallery)
2003 Holsten Gallery, “Stockbridge Glass Invitational,” Stockbridge, MA
ARTform, West Palm Beach, R. Duane Reed Gallery
SOFA/NY, (R. Duane Reed Gallery)
Heller Gallery, “Glass & Modern Furniture,” NYC
Toronto Art Fair, Sandra Ainsley Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2002 “Stockbridge Glass Invitational,” Holsten Gallery, Stockbridge, MA
Glass America 2002, Heller Gallery, New York, NY
2001 Holsten Gallery, Stockbridge, MA
Garth Clark Gallery, New York, NY (retrospective of ceramics from the 1980s)
Compositions Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Riley Hawk Galleries, Columbus and Cleveland, OH
2000 Heller Gallery, New York, NY
Holsten Gallery, Stockbridge, MA
SOFA /Chicago, IL
Riley-Hawk Galleries, Cleveland, OH
Riley-Hawk Galleries, Columbus, OH
1999 Heller Gallery, New York, NY
1999 Holsten Gallery, Stockbridge, MA
Riley-Hawk Galleries, Cleveland, OH
Riley-Hawk Galleries, Redmond, WA
Grand Central Gallery, Tampa, FL
Gump’s, San Francisco, CA
Habitat Galleries, Pontiac, MI
1998 Heller Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
SOFA/Chicago (Heller Gallery)
Sanske Galerie, Zurich & Venice (solo, Zurich)
Habitat Galleries, Pontiac, MI (Glass Invitational)
1997 Imago Galleries, Palm Beach, CA
Riley-Hawk Galleries, Cleveland, OH
Morgan at Mendelsohn, Pittsburgh, PA
1996 Heller Gallery, New York
Imago Galleries, Palm Desert, CA
1995 Heller Gallery, New York, (solo)
Sanske Galerie, Zurich, (solo)
Barovier Galerie, Venice, Italy
SOFA/Chicago (Heller Gallery)
Wheaton Village/Collector’s Weekend (Heller Gallery)
1989 Caplan/Duval, Montreal (solo)
Rosenthal Design Showroom, Dania, FL, (solo)
1987 Sybil Kahn Gallery, Kansas City, MO (solo exhibition)
Nessa Galois, Miami, FL, (solo exhibition)
1986 Rosenthal Studio Haus Gallery, Amsterdam (solo exhibition)
Rosenthal Studio Haus Gallery, Bonn (solo exhibition)
1985 The Ginza Art Space, Tokyo, (solo exhibition)
Rosenthal Studio Haus Gallery, Berlin, (solo exhibition)
Elan Home Fashion, Trump Tower, New York, (solo exhibition)
Rosenthal Studio Haus Gallery, Dusseldorf , (solo exhibition)
1984 Rosenthal Studio Haus Gallery, Stockholm, (solo exhibition)
Caroline Lee Gallery, San Antonio, (solo exhibition)
Rosenthal Studio Haus Gallery, Copenhagen, (solo exhibition)
Rosenthal Studio Haus Gallery, Munich, (solo exhibition)
1983 Dorothy Weiss Gallery, San Francisco, (solo exhibition)
Rosenthal Studio Haus Gallery, Hamburg, (solo exhibition)


American Craft Museum, MORE THAN ONE, (exhib. cat.), 1992
American Craft Museum, FOR THE TABLETOP (exhib. cat.), l980
Amie Ahn, Park So-young, Shin soo-hye, NOUVEL OBJECT VI, Design House Inc., Korea, 2001
Axel, Jan & McCready, Karen, PORCELAIN, TRADITIONS & NEW VISIONS, Watson Guptil, l981
Burstein, Joanne, CERAMICS TEXTBOOK, Holt Rinehart, l985
Busch, Akiko, FLOORWORKS, Bantam, l988
Busch, Akiko, WALLWORKS, Bantam, l988
Byers, Mel, THE DESIGN ENCYCLOPEDIA, Museum of Modern Art, NY, 1994 & 2004
Chambers, Karen and Oldknow, Tina, CLEARLY INSPIRED: Contemporary Glass and Its Origins, Tampa Museum of Art, Pomegranate Press, 1999 (exhib. catalog)
Clark, Garth, AMERICAN CERAMICS, 1876 TO THE PRESENT, Abbeville, l987
Danto, Arthur C., 397 CHAIRS, The Architectural League of New York, Harry Abrams, Inc. NY, 1988
Denver Art Museum, US DESIGN 1975-2000, Prestel Verlag, London, 2002
Dietz, Ulysses, GREAT POTS: Contemporary Ceramics from Function to Fantasy, Newark Museum, 2004
Dunn, Chris, ART & DESIGN; SCULPTURE AND CERAMICS, Hodder & Stoughton, l996
Eidelberg, Martin, ed., DESIGNED FOR DELIGHT: Alternative Aspects of 20th Century Decorative Arts, Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, Flammarion, New York and Paris, 1977
Edwards, Sandra, PRODUCT DESIGN 2, PCB International, Locust Vallery, NY, 1987
Everson Museum of Art, AMERICAN CERAMICS NOW, Syracuse, NY, 1987 (exhib. catalog)
Everson Museum of Art, FRAGILE BLOSSOMS, ENDURING EARTH, Syracuse, NY (exhib. catalog), 1989
Frith, Donald, PLASTER MOLDS FOR CERAMICS, Chilton Books, l985
Ferrin, Leslie, TEAPOTS TRANSFORMED, Guild Publishing, 2000
Gura, Judith, LIGHTING, Inspiring Ideas for Lighting Effects, Hearst Books, NY, 2002
Goldgate, Steven, DICTIONARY OF CERAMIC ARTISTS, forthcoming, 2005
Grow, Lawrence, MODERN STYLE, Main Street Press, l985
Hanks, David, A CENTURY OF MODERN DESIGN, Flammarion, Paris, 2010
Herman, Lloyd, AMERICAN PORCELAIN: New Expressions in an Ancient Art, Smithsonian Institution, Timber Press, Forest Grove, OR, 1981 (exhib. catalog)
Heller, Jules and Heller, Nancy, NORTH AMERICAN WOMEN ARTISTS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: A Biograhpical Dictionary, Routledge, 2013
Horn, Richard, FIFTIES STYLE, Barnes & Noble, l985
Isozaki, Arata, ed. THE INTERNATIONAL DESIGN YEARBOOK 4, Abbeville Press, NY, 1988
Kirkham, Pat, WOMEN DESIGNERS IN THE USA, 1900-2000: DIVERSITY AND DIFFERENCE, Bard Graduate Center, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2000
Kohler, Lucartha, WOMEN WORKING IN GLASS, Schiffer Art Books, 2003 (cover photo)
Koplos, Janet and Bruce Metcalf, MAKERS: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN STUDIO CRAFT, University of North Carolina Press, 2010
Lane, Peter, EXPLORATIONS IN CERAMIC FORM, Collins, l986
Lane, Peter, CERAMIC FORM, Rizzoli International, 1988.
Lane, Peter, STUDIO CERAMICS, Chilton Books, l983
Levin, Elaine HISTORY OF AMERICAN CERAMICS (cover), Watson-Guptill, l984
Lynn, Martha, CLAY TODAY, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 1990
McTwigan, Michael, SURFACE AND FORM, A Union of Polarities in Contemporary Ceramics, The National Museum of Contemporary Ceramics, Baltimore, MD, (exhib. cat.) 1980
Miller, Judith, 20TH CENTURY GLASS, A Collector’s Guide, DK Publishing, USA, 2005
Museum of Art, RI School of Design, RITUAL AND FUNCTION (exhib. cat.), l98l
Musee des Arts Decoratifs, DESIGNED FOR DELIGHT, 1997 (exhib. cat.), 1997
Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst, FUNCTIONAL GLAMOUR (exhib. Cat.) Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, l987
Nigrosh Leon, CLAYWORK, VOL.II, Davis, l985
Oldknow, Tina, 25 YEARS OF NEW GLASS REVIEW, Corning Museum of Glass, NY, 2006
Pearson, Katherine, AMERICAN CRAFTS, A Sourcebook for the Home, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, l983
Peterson, Susan, CRAFT AND THE ART OF CLAY, Overlook/Viking, 1992 & 2000
Peterson, Susan, CERAMIC HANDBOOK, Alfred Knopf, 1983
Roberson Center for the Arts & Sciences, ANCIENT INSPIRATIONS/CONTEMPORARY INTERPRETATIONS, Syracuse, NY (exhib. cat.), l982
Rooney, Ashley E., GLASS ART 112 Contemporary Artists, Schiffer Publishing, NYC, 2016
Rooney, Ashley E., 100 NEW ENGLAND ARTISTS, Schiffer Publishing, NYC, 2010
Smith, Paul J. and Lucie-Smith Edward, CRAFT TODAY: POETRY OF THE PHYSICAL, American Craft Museum, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, NY, 1986 (exhib. catalog)
Smith, Paul J., MASTERS OF CRAFT: PORTRAITS BY PAUL J. SMITH, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2015
Schwartz, Carol, COLORWORKS (provisional title), Harry N. Abrams, 2006
Walker, Brad, CONTEMPORARY FUSED GLASS, Four Corners International, Inc. 2010
Whitehouse, David, THE CORNING MUSEUM OF GLASS, A DECADE OF COLLECTING, 1990-1999, Abrams Publishers, 2000 (cover photo)
Wolk, Michael, DESIGNING FOR THE TABLE, Decorative and Functional Products, PBC Intl, l992 (cover photo)
Yelle, Richard, GLASS ART FROM URBAN GLASS, Schifflin Art Books, 2000
Yelle, Richard, INTERNATIONAL GLASS ART, Schiffer Pubishing ltd., 2003
Zakin, Richard, ELECTRIC KILN CERAMICS, Chilton Books, l98l

INDUSTRIAL COLLABORATIONS – Ceramics, Textiles, Glass – Dorothy Hafner

Signature collections in tabletop, gifts, furniture and jewelry
Manufacture in Germany, distribution worldwide and on going today
Created all original models and camera ready artwork for decorations
“Flash” collection remains one of its most critically and commercially successful contemporary designs in the last 30 years.

TIFFANY & CO. 1979-1990
Signature collections in hand made porcelain dinnerware & giftware
First American women to design handmade porcelains for this firm

Signature bed and bath collections for in print and woven textiles
Created life camera-ready artwork for 9 complete bedding ensembles, 3 bath collections
Color proofing at mill in Charlotte, NC

V’SOSKE, INC. 1987-1989
Signature designs in hand tufted carpet
Created full size renderings for weavers

Design and manufacture of the limited series works in hand painted porcelain dinnerware, one-of-a-kind functional objects and architectural tile

BENNINGTON POTTERS, Bennington, NY 1976-1991
Directed this 70-person facility in the fabrication of Hafner designed bisque ware, prior to hand painting in Manhattan studio.

FABRIC WORKSHOP 1984-1989 – Signature collections in hand printed table linens

NOBLET SERIGRAPHIE 1989 – Serigraphy on paper, suite of 4 images, signed & numbered

MAKERS: A History of American Studio Craft

by Janet Koplos and Bruce Metcalf

University of North Carolina Press Chapel Hill, 2010

Read an excerpt about Dorothy Hafner by Janet Koplos & Bruce Metcalf