For the seventh installment of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s popular Design by Hand series, the museum will present hands-on workshops with world-renowned Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, celebrated for its technical innovation in form and materials throughout its 250-year history. Taking place May 15–20, the programs offer a unique opportunity for the public to engage with Sèvres’ exceptional artisans and intimately explore the company’s hand-painted porcelain designs and techniques.

“Design by Hand is among Cooper Hewitt’s most exciting and enriching educational programs,” said Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper Hewitt. “With the support of Van Cleef & Arpels, the museum has provided our audiences with unequaled access to the world’s most revered designers. I am delighted to welcome Sèvres, which is well represented in our permanent collection with 140 exceptional design objects and drawings that illuminate the manufactory’s technical inventiveness, superb design and execution skills, and artistry.”

“Van Cleef & Arpels is pleased to support the Design by Hand series as it reveals the process behind Sèvres’ exquisite creations, which align with our Maison’s values and attributes of exacting craftsmanship and exceptional skills behind every design,” said Alain Bernard, president and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, Americas.

The series begins with a lecture Monday, May 15, with Christine Germain-Donnat, Sèvres’ director of the department of heritage and collections, who will discuss the history of the manufactory and share an inside look into its design process. Programs continue May 16–20, with hands-on workshops for families, teens, college students and adults, who will work side by side with Sèvres artisans to create their own ceramic plate designs based on Sèvres’ iconic decorative patterns.

A partnership with Van Cleef & Arpels, the Design by Hand series previously has featured programs with Estudio Campana (2016), Pixar Animations Studios (2015), Ralph Rucci (2015), Heath Ceramics (2014) and Marimekko (2013).

Design by Hand is made possible by the support of Van Cleef & Arpels.


All programs take place at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (2 E. 91st St., New York City) and require advance registration at

Design by Hand Lecture with Sèvres’ Christine Germain-Donnat
Monday, May 15; 6–8 p.m.
$15 general admission; $8 members, educators, students and seniors
Christine Germain-Donnat, director of the department of heritage and collections for the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, will expand on the history of the manufactory, its innovations and the ornate designs produced by leading artists and designers of the day for the manufactory’s luxury objects.

Hands-on Workshops
A painter from Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory will lead participants through an introduction to the traditions of French painted porcelain. Using decorative motifs developed by Sèvres designers in the 18th century as inspiration, participants will experiment with pigments and techniques to create their own ceramic plate design.

College Students: Tuesday, May 16; 10 a.m.–noon
$8; open to college students with valid student ID.

Adults: Tuesday, May 16; 6–8 p.m.
$30 general admission; $20 members, educators, students and seniors.

Teens: Wednesday, May 17; 4:30–6:30 p.m.
Free; open to New York City high school students grades 9–12.

Families: Saturday, May 20; 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30–3 p.m.
Free; geared toward kids ages 5 through 12. Led by Cooper Hewitt educator.


Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. On Dec. 12, 2014, Cooper Hewitt reopened in the renovated and restored Carnegie Mansion, which offers 60 percent more exhibition space to showcase one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence. The renovation of the Carnegie Mansion and museum campus was recognized with LEED Silver certification. Visitors can experience a full range of new interactive capabilities, including the opportunity to explore the collection digitally on ultra-high-definition touch-screen tables, draw their own designs in the Immersion Room and address design problems in the Process Lab.


Founded in 1740 at Vincennes, France, under the patronage of Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour, the factory moved to Sèvres in 1756 where it has remained as the preeminent producer of French porcelain. Extraordinary Sèvres porcelain works are in major museum collections around the world, including Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, the V&A and the Hermitage Museum.


Van Cleef & Arpels was born in Paris’ Place Vendôme in 1906, following Alfred Van Cleef’s marriage to Estelle Arpels in 1895. Always striving for excellence, the Maison has become a worldwide reference through its unique designs, its choice of exceptional stones and its virtuoso craftsmanship, offering jewels and timepieces that tell stories and bring enchantment to life. In 2011, Cooper Hewitt mounted the exhibition “Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels,” which explored the historical significance of the house’s contributions to jewelry design in the 20th century.