Saturday, December 31, 2011

Plates 911!

I got the call.  She was breathless and animated with a sense of worry and despair..."We need plates!" she shrieked. "We're serving a 10 course New Year's Eve meal and we need to warm all plates prior to serving and we're low on the dinner plates!".  I told her to calm was on the way..

As you may know, I have been creating all of the tableware for the fabulous Station 1 restaurant in Woodside. As they get busier and busier and have some plate casualties- as you can imagine in a restaurant setting when the kitchen starts to resemble a scene from a battlefield, the call is on for more plates.
And with a New Year's special celebration, and a very carefully curated meal, there is no fooling around.
Fortunately, I was well into making them some additional dinner plates and was able to quickly glaze and pop them into the kiln in time for a New Year's Eve early am pick up--just in time and hot out of the fire.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to have a lovely correspondence with Alice Waters. She confided in her very gracious notes to me that she always fantasized about having a potter living behind the restaurant who could churn out the tableware that they would use nightly- handmade, finely crafted, locally sourced- to match the sensibility of the food and culture she was creating at Chez Panisse.
I will have to float this idea by Zu and Kristi- the lovely owners of Station 1--perhaps there is a spot for me behind the old fire house.....

Again..a joyous New Year to all and here's to answering the ceramicist's call of duty!

Friday, December 23, 2011

And a happy new year to all...

Here's to the best for all in 2012 in every way.. 
Happy happy new free and enjoy peace.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More curios for the end of the year at Silver Oak..

Just in time for the holiday and new year, newly delivered plates commissioned by Silver Oak Vineyards up in I mentioned in a previous the idea of creating these high end mementos for folks to collect when they visit the truly lovely Silver Oak. 

 A fine outing it is to the historic vines and stone buildings. I highly recommend a visit if you're in the area...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Giving thanks and giving back 2011...

As I mentioned this time last year, I am a firm believer in giving back in whatever way you can. It does not mean that you must wait until you have amassed "wealth" to give, it means that you give back in whatever way you can. It may mean volunteering locally, or helping your neighbors, or anything that gives you a sense of your place in the world and the larger community you may reside in- physically or emotionally. It has been an interesting year of burgeoning movements and political awareness around the inequity that exists in our affluent american culture. For those of us spending our time working hard to create, to raise children, to maintain sanity (!), take a moment to consider what else we can do.
I choose to at years end give what I can, to targeted groups that have some meaning for me and my family. Now mind you, my donations will not enable a new wing to be built or massive change, but I believe even the smallest donation makes a difference. And again, it keeps you in shape for future giving and volunteering.

This year, I am donating to the following groups: 

Meritus College FundMeritus College Fund invests in socio-economically disadvantaged, yet high-potential, San Francisco public high school students by providing four-year scholarships and individualized support to help them realize their potential through a college degree.

National Public Radio: I go to school on NPR daily. It provides an important voice and perspective and it is free. It's important to support our local stations or radio will go the way of the post office. 

Grass Roots SoccerGrassroots Soccer uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV.

San Francisco Food Bank: Hit with historic high need this year- local food banks need our support more than ever.

Black Star Development: A real grass roots organization started by kids right out of college, Black Star Development aims to design, organize and implement specialized development projects in small communities in Ghana. Love supporting social entrepreneurship.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

let them eat cake...

With all of the craziness lurking out there these days, sometimes we have to turn to more simple rituals and things that bring joy, pleasure and a sense of accomplishment, albeit small. 
Baking. Cakes, pies, cookies- all relevant this time of year.

The smells, morsels-bring a sense of right to often what seems to be so wrong these days.

I have been creating a lot of cake stands for folks lately-all fun and quirky ways to display your finished product. and just plain joyful really.

rustic pumpkin sour cream pie baked by my daughter. yum.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

me and joseph cornell...

backyard of 1546 tenth ave san francisco
37-08 Utopian Parkway, Queens, NY 

I have always admired Joseph Cornell's work and the monastic way he approached his collecting and his construction of intricate boxes full of magic and oddly paired objects. A big influence since seeing his work when I was quite young at a Soho gallery in the 1970's-when Soho really was full of galleries.
Lately, I have been feeling a little Cornellesque. The studio has been busy and I am hunkering down not coming up for air too much and not leaving my small urban compound here. I haven't had much time to roam about and find inspiration- so have been depending on my own crazy collection of objects and finds that litter my studio and my home. The ephemera, the detritus-words I like that so aptly describe the corners of the world collectors inhabit.

I take note of the extremely noisy squirrels and blackbirds overhead and take an every other day break to head out to Ocean Beach where I might find a new stone, piece of graffiti or faded paint color that reminds me of a new glaze combo to try. But I do not stray far right now. No exotic trips and journeys. I am hunkered down- working on my orders and exploring new themes and ideas for design. My Utopian Parkway.  Joseph Cornell derived most of his ideas from his immediate surroundings in Queens, yet they were powerful and worldly.. large, not small, not provincial.
I have always meditated on my surroundings and mused over the collections of objects I find- the crazy one armed figurines, torn out images from old magazines, my massive collection of cottonwood branches from New Mexico and always more to uncover in the boxes and trays. And of course, Kiki..

As I work away here, I too feel as though I am traveling by scanning what is around me and dive into more clay and make more plates..

Friday, October 14, 2011

the lovely oakland museum..

Over the bay bridge and through the woods, ok not really, but near Lake Merritt and in the wonderful city of Oakland lives a jewel of a museum that embodies all the great things of California history-natural and visual. The Oakland Museum is a force and recently underwent an extensive renovation making it even more appealing as a source of unique exhibits and local heritage.
Currently, they have a fabulous exhibit all about dear John Muir. I was asked to create some pieces for the museum store to honor the man and his legacy and did I have fun with that. Soaring abstract trees swarm over the plates and give way to color, nature, and the largess that is John Muir.

Head over to the East bay and check it out. They also have a legendary Day of the Dead exhibit that is always a treat as well as a fascinating photography show of Richard Misrach on the tragic Oakland Fires that began 20 years ago today.
And much more to take in-and while you're there--too many to mention fabulous restaurants in Oakland as well..

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dish..the Book

Just received my copy of Shax Riegler's new tome on tableware: Dish.  It is a lovely book beautifully put together and a must for any plate collector/obsessor.

He carefully chronicles the significance decorated tableware has had historically (he is pursuing a PHD in the decorative arts as a "side" job after all). It is just a fun book to own and peruse and respect the place that plates have in our home lives, restaurant experiences and general enjoyment of the food we eat.
I was honored to be included as a contemporary ceramicist making plates one at a time in a studio setting.

Eating is such a basic need, but doing so using something special, unique, meaningful, kitschy, handed down, fun, colorful enhances it greatly...
Check out the book here..

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

White after Labor Day...

Now that the fashion gurus have proclaimed that it is ok to wear white after Labor Day- does tableware follow suit?
Absolutely! she says with a resounding yes!
A new set of 12 plates for your eating pleasure- any time of year....