Monday, April 28, 2014

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

making my own traditions

Just last week (right after the lunar eclipse), came Spring, and renewal, and a little bit of ease from a tough few months. So I decided to set a table with gleena to celebrate:

My table is loosely based on the Passover Seder tradition, with six bowls ready for the zeroah (shank bone), charoset (apple and nuts), maror (bitter herb), karpas (green veggie), chazeret (leafy bitter green), beitzah (egg).

My family left Russia as Jewish refuges in 1979, so the story of Jews leaving Egypt resonates with me deeply. We weren’t slaves in Soviet Russia, but we were discriminated against. I did not grow up with Jewish traditions, because they were illegal during the Soviet regime, like all religions. So for me, holidays are personal interpretations. Ceremony inspired by the natural cycles of the seasons mixed in with bits of traditional services.

Passover then is a time to reflect upon my own habits, situations, and thoughts that enslave and bring unhappiness. A time to let go of doubt and fear, and to enjoy the beauty of new spring, and rebirth.

The morning after the dinner I woke up to the patch of sun on the dining room table, and this saying came to mind immediately: ”Where there is shadow, there is light.“:

Monday, April 14, 2014

liebster award: sharing some blog love

Tania, who writes a beautiful blog called Petit Pixel Design, sent me the Liebster Award, with a few questions to answer. Thank you so much, Tania! I love your post on cutout letters for Anna and Eleni, what a gorgeous gift!

And here are the answers to Tania’s questions:

1. Your go-to movie snack (or general sneaky sweet treat) would be...? 
Slices of apple and Manchego cheese and cranberries, I am an embarrassingly healthy snacker.

2. The best way to spend a grey rainy day is...? 
Curling up on the sofa with my dog and watching movies, drinking endless cups of tea.

3. How do you break yourself free from a creative block? 
It is nature that inspires me to create, so a long hike on the beach or in the woods, or some gardening is very helpful. I try to spend as much time outside as possible, even in freezing temperatures and heavy rains. Sometimes the most extreme weather is the most beautiful.

4. One of the best lessons you’ve learned about blogging is.... 
I no longer put pressure on myself to have a lot of entries (though I used to when I started in 2008). Now I focus on quality, interesting, and original pieces: my process in the studio as a ceramic artist, where I find inspiration, and other artists’ work that I love. I find that I don’t need to blog every day, or even every week, to have a good blog.

5. If you could spend a day walking in someone else's shoes, whose would they be and why?
Georgia O’Keeffe has been my hero since I was a teenager. Her work moved me from the moment I saw it, and her simple, creative and productive, life inspires me to this day.

6. Describe your creative/blogging space? 
A quiet, light-filled spot where I can gaze out the window and see trees blowing in the wind, or rain coming down. It could be my kitchen or dining room table, it could be outside in my back yard, it could be on a sofa at a friend’s house. I take frequent breaks, have a cup of coffee or tea, watch the birds hop on branches. Writing takes time for me, it’s not effortless.

7. Your most valuable travel tip would be... 
Traveling with my closest girl friends is a luxury of time. There is something very special about being taken out of our every day routine and thrown into unfamiliar places and situations. These days, when we are all so very busy, it’s incredibly satisfying to spend long quality time together.

8. Your online weakness is...
Pinterest draws me in every day, a few times a day. It’s such a good source of beautiful imagery and inspiration for home and work.

9. When/where do your creative ideas come to you most?
Very fortunate to live in a beautifully green area of Providence, RI, I walk with my dog for a few hours every day. Spring is especially gorgeous, bursting with flowering trees. My ceramic work comes directly from natural forms: petals, seed pods, buds, insects, birds, pebbles. Here are just a few moments from my walks:

10. One crafty tool / design tip / creative strategy you couldn't do without is... 
Seems silly to say this, but I love my iPhone camera. It makes taking photos on the go so much easier (no need for a bulky camera).

11. The smartphone app you are currently obsessed with is.... Not a huge user of apps on the phone, but the one I do use the most is Instagram. It’s a great way to show what goes on in my ceramics studio.

To pass these along to another blogger... can I just pick one? I pick ProvyLove, by Elizabeth Duvivier, who also writes for Mytic Vixen, and Squam Art Workshops.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

of large molds and other insights

I’m experimenting with my large mold, pouring it at different heights. It is a bit worse for wear, as it is four years old, but I am liking the way the seams are leaking, and creating very distinctive lines. I think I will leave the outside unglazed, maybe a slight color for the inside, like this:

I spend so much time scraping, sponging, smoothing, hiding the mold making process, but there is beauty in it. I love these mold and pouring scars. Perhaps that is reflective of where I am in life and career: here are my scars, bumps, indents, this is what and who I am, and I am done hiding behind attempts at perfection.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

a wedding set for K&A

A friend commissioned an everyday plates and bowls set for a wedding gift. I love the results: bowls are stamped with the couple’s initials in vintage Caslon 540 letterpress type, the wedding invitation monogram is applied to the front of the plates, the colors bring spring into K&A’s home all year round.