when I was a kid, my Mom decided to send me to pottery camp. By camp I mean my Dad's client who was a potter and graciously offered to babysit me for a week in her gorgeous studio filled with clay. I was a happy camper and had the best time.
Louise and the other artists taught me a new technique each day and by the end of the week, I had a collection of deformed treasures. There's something really special about working with clay - the earthy energy of it. I loved every minute of that camp but never went back to working with clay until recently, when I started experimenting with these little dishes.
So for this family day weekend, I wanted to say thanks to the potters who were my family for a week and to my Mama for encouraging me to express myself.
Kisii is a small city in Kenya. It's not where my family is originally from (Mombasa), but in the 70s when my Mom was starting her amazing teaching career, she decided to move there.
To be a young woman in Kenya in the 1970s could have meant many different things. For my Mom, it meant moving away from her family and friends in a big city to a very remote and rural town in a country divided by politics, racial injustice and gender inequality. It was a bold and brave move for her time.
Full of excitement and fear, she forged ahead, and lived in a small cottage and taught in a classroom that many would consider ill-equipped for learning in today's digital age. But the kids prevailed and succeeded, they even planned a class field trip to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. She is that kind of a lady.
Decades later in a new country and at a very different time, I started facing similar decisions as did the women before me. What was I going to do with my one wild and precious life? Like my Mom, I am also a teacher and I came to realize the importance of my past. It was full of risk, sacrifice, optimism and hope. My parents immigrated from Kenya to England and then Canada for a better life.
So kisii represents a starting point. It's a symbol for taking a risk while having a heart full of good intentions.
Hello and welcome! This is my first post and it's a personal one. I have been extremely shy about the shop, and my experiences, but in an effort to help raise awareness and promote the work that I am proud of, I've decided to open up a little about where it all started.
10 years ago I found out that there was a mass growing in my calf muscle. It was deep in the soleus and for two years we quietly watched and waited, as it continued to spread upward through my soft tissue and muscle. I'll spare you the details because that's a heavy story to begin with. But it was fuel to my fire.
Almost everyone I know has been touched by this type of experience. Either a family member, a partner, a friend, coworker or even a neighbour. One day you wake up and suddenly you're right in the middle of it - listening to the jack-hammer sound that the MRI machine makes and you aren't allowed to even wiggle a toe (for an entire hour!). It's like hitting the pause button on your body while your mind is racing forward.
And sometimes they don't have the cure, but the human spirit somehow prevails. Good people are out there to help you make the right decisions. And you stop asking, 'why me?'.
Why not me? I don't know when it happened, but I realized this is it. This is my weird and wonderful world. Because outside of that machine, I had a classroom filled with amazing students at a school that inspired me each day. A small publishing portfolio. An incredible family that held me in place and didn't let me fall. Great friends who lifted my spirit. A notebook to write in. Music, books and poetry. A small, beautiful garden. Coffee. And chocolate, lots of chocolate.
And here I am, 10 years later, learning to balance and realizing that all of this hospital stuff is just a fraction of my whole. Outside that MRI machine was the rest of my life, and I decided to fill it with constructive work and to donate proceeds back to the hospitals that have helped me so much.
Onward and upward.