29 November 2006

domino + me

Just wanted to let you know that the calendars made it to Domino Magazine. I just love it that they wrote "Hand drawn by a California Ceramicist."

There are still some available. Please people, when ordering make sure to include your mailing address along with your request. I am getting many emails and this helps to speed up the process. Thank you!

25 November 2006

cleaning closets

You know what it's like when you clean out your closet(s)... You sit on the floor sifting through the muddle, finding things that you forgot you had. Maybe there is a box of photos that you go through. You start looking at them, one by one, laughing and crying for all the memories. There is the box of costumes that your auntie made and sent, when you were ten, from the old country. (You think they are costumes because you don't really believe that she intended a ten year old to wear red crochet hip hugger bell bottoms with a matching belly baring top to school.) You find the stuffed away gift from a well intentioned family member that gave it to you and said "I got it for you because purple is your color." You come across things you don't need, would like to forget and some things that are precious and you can never let go of. It always takes a lot longer than the afternoon you set aside and often you have to come back to the mess you created and deal with it, get it organized and most often it never, really gets completely done, there is always that little pile of stuff that you just don't know what to do with. Never the less, once you've completed the task (more or less), you feel refreshed and ready for new things or you just enjoy the freed up space.

I have been cleaning my closets, it seems, for the past five years now. Not the closets in my house (that is a whole other story!) but the closets in my heart. It is amazing how many closets a heart can have! Since the cleaning has been going on and I get rid of those things I no longer need and keep the things that are precious I am finding there is so much more space for other things. Like new friendships and cherishing the old ones in a deeper more meaningful way. Then there is all that extra room for learning new things. How about all the dreams that can finally be realised that were once crowded between all those outfits I never wore but thought I might. My closets were so full I didn't know which outfit to wear. Now it is clear to me what I should wear. I've kept a few tried and true things from the past because it so important to embrace our history, even if it is a pair of jeans you no longer fit into. It hasn't always been easy and I often grapple with letting go of things and sometimes in the rush to get rid of things I have thrown things out unintentionally. No matter what I've kept or let go of I have learned that the heart has an amazing capacity to adapt. I sometimes long for that old dress I once wore, but I really don't want to wear it again, I just want to remember what I felt like when I was wearing it. Then I go back to my clean closet, open the door, look in, admire how lovely it looks, then pull a new dress off the hanger and put it on.

22 November 2006


the long list

  • My relationship with mother (we did not speak for nine years). We are very close now and talk regularly.
  • My big sister (who was a mother to me when my mother wasn’t being a mother).
  • That I am able to make a living doing what I love.
  • All the times I have been in love (a lot!).
  • To lose love(s). It has humbled me and taught me to let go.
  • That I am still falling in love.
  • My friends. (Who have been family to me when I thought myself an orphan).
  • My Father. Who shipped me off to Hungary when I was nineteen and changed the course of my life.
  • My big brother. Who built model cars with me for and giving me my first car when I was sixteen (a datsun 1967 411).
  • That I can run five miles at the age 42!
  • My health! My health! My health!
  • That I never smoked, got into drugs or got pregnant as a teenager. (See above; thanks to big sister).
  • For all of my travels to amazing places and All the amazing people I have made friends with along the way.
  • Mucineni (Aunt Muci in Hungarian) The famous circus performer who taught me that a woman could live out her dreams.
  • My Mom (again!) who taught me the love of food.
  • OH and again my mom, who sewed all my clothes for me when I was little (and even some now) even though she hated sewing.
  • My fabulous, kind and generous neighbors (and their very cute dog Karina)
  • My studio mate, Beni. It couldn’t get any better!
  • Twenty years of restaurant experience. Oh the things I have seen and heard!
  • The friends I have made working in restaurants. The most brilliant people I know. Never and I mean NEVER underestimate the wisdom of a food server.
  • That I can still spin pizza dough. (My first restaurant job).
  • My sweet little apartment in this great city.
  • Being surrounded by Artists and Craftspeople.
  • That the earth is still spinning. We need to take good care!
  • Music.
  • Cookies. I love ‘em and life just wouldn’t be as sweet with out them.
  • All the amazing plants and animals that inhabit this planet.
  • That George Bush will be out of office very soon! I still can’t stand the sound of that man’s voice.
  • The Schnick family. Who turned me on to Art and continually inspire me. Molly and Susannah, the closest I ever came to having children of my own, and who are now my friends.
  • To all of the people who continually support me and what I do. That means YOU!
  • Blessings to all of you. Remember to love one another. Even if it means you have to do it while the T.V. is blasting a football game.

21 November 2006

lobster claws

When I was in Art School taking etching classes my teacher used to tell us that we should wipe the inked zinc plates “with the hands of a duchess.” That saying has stuck with me even though I am not making etchings and wiping zinc plates these days. Now days I am taking another class in which the hands are integral in the expression, Cuban Salsa dancing. My dance teacher is constantly reminding us how important it is for us to use our hands. He says “Ladies, your hands should be beautiful, like you just had a manicure.” Imagine me, just in from the ceramic studio, after a day, no week, month, okay, years of clay work, thinking of my hands as “manicured” I giggle like a sixth grader every time he says this. He must think I’m a bit nutty. I have a very deep relationship with my hands. They are, after all, the most important tools of my craft and livelihood. I am proud of my hands and what they are capable of. Though when I get into that dance class I feel like I have lobster claws for hands and I suddenly become very self-conscious of them. It is funny how changing the focus of their use brings out insecurities with something in most cases I am quite confident with. It has brought me to thinking about how it is good to think of my hands in a different way other than as the tools of my trade. In dance they are tools too, an extension of expression, in some ways so much more immediate than in the making of things. The skills we develop to train our hands to make things is different than the skills we learn using them in an expressive way. I am thoroughly enjoying this challenge. I think it is good to step out the comfort zone and learn to use things we may be familiar or comfortable with in different ways. I also like the fact that using my hands in this way feels so new and foreign to me. Like the first time I sat at a potters wheel with five pounds of clay spinning in front of me at high speed. Hands of a duchess, manicured hands, lobster claws, I say bring it on!

18 November 2006

plastic clouds

See how hard I am working! I especially love the clouds of plastic that loom about my studio (those are covered pieces in progress) Gives it an ethereal feeling, yes? No, just makes my space look messy. My studio is a little cave like. There is a skylight so light does come in but I don't have a window. It makes being in there feel timeless. It could be the afternoon or late at night and I wouldn't know the difference. It can drive me bonkers but most often it forces me to stay focused. See that book...that is one of the many books that I use for visual reference for my drawings. By the way I draw each piece individually. I don't trace or use stencils. All the drawings are done freehand. I have a huge pile of books that I have collected over the years that I use. This one is especially neat because it is super old. I love the yellowed pages and the illustrations in it are drawn so delicately.

17 November 2006

keeping up

I am feeling like a bad blogger lately. It is not that I don't have things to write about or that I am not working on anything . Strangely enough it is because of these things. I have a lot I would like to write about and my table at the studio and home is so full of work in progress that I barely have space to work. It is that old monkey on my back called overwhelm. I get in this state and then my faculties to focus on multiple tasks starts to wane. I've talked about it before and I know, KNOW, that I am not alone. Generally what gets me going is to dip my feet in the water and start off with something small that is not result oriented. An exercise of sorts.

In the studio, I am working on orders, orders, orders! I am a bit tardy on one specific order
(not yours Kristi!). Returning home, getting re-situated, remaking all my molds (they took twice as long to dry than usual) and then the calendar launch took up more time than I expected. Well being the one woman factory that I am I do have to eek out a little time to eat, sleep and see friends (and take salsa dance classes). So I haven't been able to keep up quite as well as I intended. One of the many skills I developed as a waitress was that no matter how crazy things got and things can get really crazy in a restaurant, regardless of how much I might of felt like things were getting out of control, I wasn't going to die and my customers weren't going to die either. (unless they choked on a chicken bone or something. Thank god for boneless breasts!) That life would go on and at the end of the day/shift things would be okay. I keep this thought right up at the beginning of the line of thoughts in my head. It keeps me calm and focused and I can work better and with good intention. Such an important thing for myself and everyone to remember, especially at this time of year.

05 November 2006

the great calendar escapade

Whoa Nelly, the calendar orders have been pouring in thanks to Victoria, Eszter and Grace. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

I still have calendars left so don’t be shy, come and get em’ while there hot!

Diva Dinner

Last Sunday night (a week ago already!) I hosted a dinner at my place for the ladies I like to call the West Coast Pottery Diva's. Seated at my dinner table were four amazing, talented, gorgeous women; Sara, Christa, Whitney and Rae (and myself, guess that makes five). A couple times a year one of us hosts a dinner at our home. It is a chance for us to catch up with one another, eat good food, drink wine and to use all the lovely pottery we have collected from our ceramic making friends. It is also an opportunity to exchange hot tips like, how to pack ceramics efficiently with corrugated cardboard (fascinating, I know!) and where to get the best deal for boxes. I know I am making you jealous with all this cardboard talk. We talk about other things too. Sarah has a brand new baby, (she was filling a one hundred piece order right up until she went into labor!) and well okay, we talk about boys… but not too much, well maybe a little more than I am letting on. Through the ups and downs of life, baby having and boy drama, all of these ladies never stop making their work AND they support themselves solely with their Art. Very Impressive! I feel the cross connection between Artists is essential to survival in a profession where one must carve out their own path. There are times, serious times, when I have wanted to throw in the towel and say “I give up, it’s too difficult, I am poor, I am heartbroken, I am overworked …” then one of these ladies will simply say “you can’t give up.” They understand how hard it can be but they also know that the benefits far outweigh the hardships. I know that I am not alone and so what I do becomes something larger than myself and the work I make. As a group we share common agenda; to make our Art, to make a living with it and to enjoy our lives while we do it. Without these ladies (and many others) I don’t know if I would have lasted as long as I have as an Artist. It’s because of people such as them I am able to feel validated and that the so called impossible task of supporting oneself with their Art actually is possible, very possible. Thank you ladies, I am humbled and inspired by your talent, your passion for your work and your downright loveliness!