Thursday, September 6, 2018

beach dunes and ocean blues

A few years back, I had created a set of beach-inspired vases for an installation in Wellfleet, Cape Cod at my friend Susie’s gallery. The last of these beauties is now heading off to a summer cottage along with a set of ”beach dunes“ cups inscribed with peace, happiness, love, and beauty. Plus a tiny glass bird, hand-blown by my friends at Henrietta Glass, a small woman-owned studio in Pawtucket, RI. Putting together gift sets like these is just so satisfying.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

30 years of clay in my life

As I celebrated my 50th this month, I kept thinking how clay (gleena in Russian) has been a companion, muse, and guide for 30 of my years on this lovely planet. From the very first shapes that emerged back in 1988 while I took a hand-building elective at University of Cincinnati:

to building large pinchpots on the kitchen table during my time in NYC:

to throwing 100 pots, each a different form, for an independent study:

to RISD grad school installation of slip-cast pieces that hooked me on the process I still use today:

to an independent studio and shop owner:

Having lived in 5 big cities, 12 homes, and 5 studios, gleena has been a stabilizing constant in my life. I feel fortunate, and grateful.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

oh the beauty of west coast nurseries

My friend Lisa and I decided to visit the nurseries of San Francisco on my last day in California. I have been falling in love with succulents for the past few years, and have started carrying them in the shop in greater numbers. I love the variety of textures and colors they offer. And love when they bloom for me. We started our day at FlowerLand, with a delicious latte and scone in hand, it was a joy to walk around the Berkeley neighborhood nursery. The diversity of gardening products gave me a few ideas for gleenashop. I dream of partnering with a coffee shop to be able to offer a similar environment in Cleveland. Maybe some day.

The second stop was Flora Grubb Gardens in the Bayview neighborhood. Nestled among industrial wholesale warehouses, Flora's nursery is an unexpected oasis. Lush spectacular plants line the walkways, and hang from walls and trellises. Entering, I was transported to another country, expecting to see monkeys and colorful parrots in the gently swaying giant palm leaves. Hours can be spent there finding treasures. Coffee and baked goods are also available, and the bathrooms are gorgeous.

For lunch, a delicious All Good Pizza food truck is parked in a lovely courtyard across from Flora Grubb. Looks like the gardeners from FG have done some work there, it is surrounded by pretty plantings of succulents and cacti. The pizza is delicious. What an inspiring yummy day!

Monday, February 19, 2018

a day at the shop

Saturday was such a fun day at the shop.

I had a wonderful conversation with a couple that stopped in after lunch at Melt, they found a perfect addition to their bird-themed wall-hanging collection. The next day I received a photo of their wall, with the new addition perfectly perched.

I met a sweet new customer, in town for a weekend, who exchanged a piece that was purchased for her in Rhode Island. She found three wee cups with her favorite animals on them.

My window-washer came, and excitedly shared that he and his fiancé are pregnant.

A neighbor stopped in, and told me that he and his wife will be moving back to Nashville to be near family. He purchased a candle to make their home smell yummy for showings. I will miss them, and wish them the best.

I love love all these interactions. Being  a shop owner, I have connected with my community on a completely new level. I share in the joys, loves, worries, get to meet the kids, meet the parents visiting from out of town, hear the local news, laugh at silly jokes. Sounds old fashioned, like something you would see in a film from 50 years ago.

After the NY wholesale trade show, I was a bit down. There are just not as many buyers walking the show, and my guess is that a lot of smaller, craft boutiques have closed. I know of a few in Cleveland that just couldn’t compete with online shopping opportunities, a sad loss for all of us. Coming home and seeing familiar faces at the shop was uplifting. I am so grateful that my community values tiny @gleenashop, and I feel fortunate to live, as well as work, here.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

What a revelation 2017 had been! Opening a shop was a big risk for this introvert used to working behind closed studio doors.

Thank you Cleveland, for your heartfelt welcome, for the amazing conversations, and for a successful first year. A huge thank you to my online community, you have been my inspiration and support for many many years, thank you for the best year to date. The email exchanges I have had with so many of you have been a joy.

And of course I am so grateful to the retailers who choose to carry gleena in their shops. Having a store of my own has shown me the amount of work that goes into putting together a cohesive retail collection.

Wishing everyone a wonderful, light-filled 2018, full of magical surprises.