Working knowledge What a glass maker thinks you should know Nosing around for the best vessel

Erin Connelly, co-owner of The Commons, talks about different glasses that can be used with different tableware.

Erin Connelly is co-owner of The Commons, a downtown home goods boutique. While the shop has sold plates, napkin rings and slat cellars since opening two years ago, it’s never stocked glasses, because Connelly and partner Kerry Speake couldn’t find quality glassware made in America.

This fall, though, the shop launched its own line of drinking glasses, produced by a nonprofit in central North Carolina. That means Connelly is savvier about tabletop vessels than most diners. Here’s what she’d like them to know about glasses:

Glasses are just as interesting as ceramic mugs and steins.

“Ceramics are huge,” Connelly sighs. “In the home market, that’s the trend. There’s a million Brooklyn artists doing ceramics. I love pottery, and we’re also doing that, but I’ve been looking everywhere for glass.” Connelly has a theory that people are quick to associate ceramics with craftsmanship because they’re familiar with the process of throwing pots, while glassblowing remains relatively mysterious. And for that reason, they don’t want to pay the prices that art commands when considering highballs. But Connelly was struck by the “dance” required to create a glass, in which two or three people are locked in a nonstop bout with molten liquid.

Find a glass that fits your nose.

When designing the prototype for the small glass, large glass and pitcher that constitute The Commons’ line, Connelly wanted to make sure the glasses’ openings left ample room for drinkers’ noses, but were tapered so aromas wouldn’t escape, and didn’t complicate cleaning. Other considerations worth applying to any glass purchase included thickness (“I am not a fan of ultra-thin glass that is terrifying to wash, and cuts your lip. But I also don’t like very chunky heavy glass,” Connelly says) and color, which beverages reflect.

“Glasses are sort of the most intimate thing you have on your table.”

As someone once told Connelly, you don’t put your mouth on your plate. Connelly suspects glasses will become the topic of increased discussion in coming years. “We’re all so focused on what we’re eating, which is relatively new,” she says. “The next wave is what people are eating and drinking out of. It’s such a nice feeling to know who made what you have in your hand: Once you have your table set with handmade glass, it almost doesn’t make sense ever again to have mold-casted.”

Hanna Raskin