"Keystone instructor and daughter combine talents to publish a book on table settings."
For Keystone College education instructor Judy Sweeney, a dining room table is much more than a place to sit down and eat a quick meal. With the right amount of care and creativity, it can be transformed into a work of art that can make dining at home a uniquely enjoyable experience.
Judy’s daughter, Rachel Sweeney, believes that taking photographs is more than just a way to record a history of people or events. Great photography can tell a meaningful story or make a seemingly routine experience take on a life of its own.
Judy and Rachel have combined their talents to create the book, “My Favorite Thing About Cooking Is …. Setting the Table.”
Judy, director of field and student teaching at Keystone, decorates tables using seasonal themes. Since the themes are driven by the seasons, they are highlighted in the book by poetry.
For example, the centerpiece for the September table came fresh from the Farmers’ Market to highlight the end of the summer growing season and the beginning of fall. The October table continues the autumn theme, with a little bit of glamour. Other winter, spring and summer months are featured according to what the particular time of year dictates. Photographs are taken by Rachel, who works as a professional photographer for Julie Jordan Photography in Clarks Summit. Judy also writes a blog about her table settings at http://www.ourhousefordinner.blogspot.com.
“For many years, I’ve loved to cook and entertain friends and family at dinner,” said Judy, a Scranton resident. “During that time, I’ve learned that an attractively set table can really create the tone for an entire evening. Even more importantly, it can create a wonderful opportunity for family and friends to share valuable conversation and laughter.”
Rachel’s photography brings Judy’s passion for fine table settings to life.
“I want to do more than just take a photo of a decorated table,” she says. “My mom’s message is that you don’t always have to go out and buy things to express yourself. Often there are things around your home that can be used on the table and will have a special meaning. I want to help convey that message in my photography.”
Besides being a work of art, the project has enabled Judy and Rachel to combine their talents to form a great mother-daughter team.
“Having the chance to work with my Mom has been a lot of fun,” says Rachel. “We both have the opportunity to express ourselves in a way that we really love.”
“I really enjoy creating beautiful table settings and sharing them with others,” says Judy. “Having the chance to work with Rachel has made this journey even more special.”
Photo 1: Judy (right) and Rachel Sweeney
Photo 2: October 2012 Table: Autumn Comes Alive
Photo 3: September 2012 Table: The Gazebo at Keystone College