From the preserves in grandma's storm cellar to that time you got hammered on girly drinks at that trendy new bar, Ball's glass canning jars
have become an iconic part of American culture. This evening, the 130-year-old brand provides an unlikely excuse for local artisans to get together and share their wares at Kansas City's first Made From Here event.
According to Brent Fernandez at Barkley, who helped organize the event, Made From Here is an art exhibit and party complete with dinner, drinks and live music. What makes it different is that pretty much everything was inspired by the jars that encouraged people to go green before that was even a thing.
"[The jars are] all about people creating their own food and having a sustainable lifestyle," Fernandez tells The Pitch
. "One of the big reasons I came to Kansas City was this really interesting culture of makers and doers that's happening here."
Among those makers is local artist Davey Gant, who will debut his new painting: a jar-inspired mural. In a semi-meta twist, local directors and photographers the Wade brothers will premiere their time-lapse documentary about the event and the mural's creation. According to Lyndon Wade, it's about the community more than the glassware.
"It's a cool way to collaborate with local artists," Wade says. "It's more about that than it is specifically about the jar, except it is a cool part of our heritage that's maybe even more relevant now."
Attendees will also get to take home a limited-edition print by Hammerpress' Brady Vest, who used the opportunity to channel craftspeople who lived more than a century ago - people like my grandma, whose homemade pickle relish was nothing short of art. Despite thematic limitations, Vest was able to hone his creativity; he didn't feel at all stuck under a glass Ball jar.
"This is much more of a group project to highlight craft, in a modern sense, and how it might connect to a brand that has been connected to craft for over 100 years," he says.
If thinking about preserves makes you salivate, no worries: Port Fonda chef Patrick Ryan will be roasting a hog for dinner, with aptly pickled sides, while local folk-Americana act Brian McCarty and His Party provide entertainment. Throughout the evening, Julep bartender Scott Tipton will be slinging craft cocktails inspired by a classic canning jar - and the first one is on the house.
But wait - what exactly goes into a jar-themed cocktail? Well, booze donated by KC's Dark Horse Distillery, for starters. And some of what you might find in your mom's homemade spaghetti sauce? Sure, why not?
"It's herbs and fresh fruit, veggies, things like that," Wade says. "It's classic cocktails utilizing elements commonly found in the canning process."
We'll drink to that. On a more practical note, the event will also feature canning demonstrations, giving you plenty of chances to tell your story about that time you tried to make strawberry-jalapeno jelly but ended up with pancake syrup. Or maybe that's just me. Oh, well - canning fails are all fun and games until you die of botulism.
Made From Here is tonight from 7 to 11 at the Guild Kansas City (1621 Locust). The event is free to attend.