I admit it. I am a total sucker for the funky junk shops that hawk tourist goods that line the streets around a tourist attraction-the small coin purses, aging plaster dolls, coaster sets, they draw me in every time with their kitschy fun and folk art sensibility. I especially love the stands in Mexico and Central America that sell ceramic Mayan figures, ekeko guys carrying the abundance of a life of riches. There is something sweet and honest about those pieces and they forever remind you of the place you have been. Sadly, many or perhaps most of these are now made in China but continue to deceive us and make us believe they are made by hand locally..as they once were. If you are lucky enough to track down the real stuff- it certainly can be made nearby by local hands.
These images have always stayed with me and influenced my work. I love curios, icons, charms, small images that represent something meaningful, folkloric and useful and remind you of where you were, and have incorporated these images into my clay work.
Recently, I was commissioned by a beautiful winery up in Napa to do some pieces for them. I was immediately intrigued by the thought of creating a "curio"--something that represents the winery, its history and the beautiful land it occupies. A fine curio, a genuine local hand crafted memento.
Just as I coveted the ceramic Mayan statues in Central and South America, I wanted to create covetous ceramic pieces that would stay with people for generations to come- and remind them of where they were.
I love my collection of Mexican tourist dolls-some are quite old but back in the day, were hand made locally and did incorporate local weaving and pottery traditions. This is what I aim to do with these pieces, They are functional of course, but will remind visitors of the beauty and delight that is Napa.
And of course, who doesn't love a good plate memento? I found this at a flea market back east right around the time I was moving to San Francisco-I love it.
and this cable car box? a classic..
Here are some of the keepsakes I created for Silver Oak--if you are visiting Napa--pay them a visit--
world class cabernet, beautiful buildings and a few good high end curios to take home...