12 April 2008

say cheese

two large platters, sixteen small plates and one cheese maker

Amidst the long hours I put in at my studio, the never ending lists of things that need to be done and the moments when I feel crushed by the responsibility of it all there are times when it all comes together in a perfect moment of harmony and I am reminded that I am in the exact place that I want to be.

One of the reasons why I do what I do and make what I make is not only because I have a deep fondness for objects of beauty but also because I enjoy the relationship aspect of making things that become part of peoples lives. There is no joy greater for me than hearing from people that somehow my work has touched them. It's awfully sentimental I know but hell I don't care, I am sentimental.

It can be something as simple as eating their yogurt out of one of my tea bowls in the morning. Or one of my favorite stories... A few years back a women came up to me at one of my sales and told me she had bought some of my small tea cups from me the previous year. She said that her husband had become quite attached to a specific one and at the end of the day he would go up on the roof and have his evening sip of whiskey from it. It was "his" cup and was not to be used for anything else. When I think of him using one of my cups for his own private ritual (and for whiskey, which I have a weakness for) I feel like a part of me is there with him in that quiet reflective moment.

So when David (see above photo) an Artisan cheese maker and owner of a fine cheese company in Southern Oregon called Rogue Creamery, telephoned me back in late January and asked me to make two large platters and sixteen small plates to use for his cheese service I was delighted. The thought of my work being part of something that was so precious to him and his partner and would be an integral part of people coming together immediately pushed the sentimental button in my heart.

David drove down from Southern Oregon to pick up his plates and platters this week. I set them all out for him to see before we packed them up in boxes. He walked around the table and looked at everything with a great attentiveness and sensitivity. We talked about the flowers and fruit images I used. Me naming them and him responding with things like "oh hazelnuts are so delicious with cheese." (I had drawn a hazelnut branch on one of the plates).

A part of me drove off with David back to Oregon and even though I won't be at his cheese parties in person when he and his guests are nibbling thin slices of Lavender Cheddar and salty pungent bits of his Crater Lake Blue off of my plates I know, along with the delectable cheeses and the warmth of the guests, that I will be part of the life of the party.

This is why I love what I do.


15 comments:

Cheryl Alena Bartram said...

Eloquent, and your work is beautiful.

barbjensen said...

I couldn't agree more! Work in use completes the cycle of making.
I make tile for bathrooms, kitchens, hotels, etc. and I rarely see the finished installation. I love it when a client sends a picture.

bridgmanpottery said...

What beautiful commentary. Inspiring, as always. Every time I read your blog I feel like I'm learning more about the kind of potter I am and growing more towards who and what I want to be. Thank you.

matirose said...

Yes. I love this post Diana. love the idea of your plates & yummmmy cheeses too!

belinda said...

What a beautiful story Diana. It is indeed what artists and makers do to create work that connects with their heart and when someone feels that connection to your work they are connecting to a part of you- the work is inseperable from you.
And I love what one on the other readers said- "work in use completes the cycle" - there is great joy for a maker to see their work in use and being appreciated and enjoyed.

JUDI TAVILL said...

great post!

lisa s said...

this makes me smile...
hugs

shannon said...

What a lovely post. Trevor is studying to become a cheesemaker. I'm so happy about this, a potter and a cheesemaker is a good combination!

amisha said...

what a wonderful post, diana. it is so wonderful to think of your work becoming a part of people's daily rituals, all over the country (and the world too!)... i know they are a part of mine :) xox

Tiffany said...

What a divine thought - a piece of you, of your creative soul going with every piece you make. :^)

shash said...

talk about sentimental, i got teary reading this! how fun to make a whole set for someone like that.
i want some cheese on one of your plates! ;-)

Ulla said...

What a special order! I can see that your plates were just made for cheeze! I adore my growing collection!!! Hugs and blessings to you my dear!

Shiny Black Shoes said...

Those look wonderful!!! So beautiful!

UmberDove said...

Thank you.

This post was exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I have been having a somewhat existentential crisis with my art, making sense of my place between "fine" and "craft" and whether those words are even relevant.

I believe in the VITAL importance of what you wrote today, but I just really needed that reminder. So thank you again, I appreciate your work and your words.

- KC

Cathy said...

What a lovely thought that people will be using your lovely utensils at happy, social times.