to see things in the seed, that is genius
Although the Farm to Table movement is nothing new, it seems to be gaining new ground, if you will, in parts of New England.
With our nation's growing awareness of the importance of fresh food in recent years, largely as a result of Mrs. Obama's initiatives, more people are becoming aware of the differences between processed foods and farm fresh food, and the importance of accessibility for everyone.
I was raised by gardeners. My grandmother, who was a Polish immigrant, kept both vegetable and perennial gardens at her home next-door to my family home. Likewise, my mother has always maintained extensive vegetable, perennial, and herb gardens. I learned to love plants and the magic they yield from these two strong, independent women. There was never a time when we weren't tending something green; During the New England winter we took care of a jungle of houseplants. In the spring our windowsills were crowded with tomato and pepper plant seedlings as they competed for the springtime sun.
It wasn't until I was in college that I realized not everyone had access to fresh food. I didn't know much about processed foods except the curiosity my brother and I enjoyed when our parents were out and we had to fend for ourselves: the exotic Swanson mini pot pie. It was a mystery and a treat for us, a little campy and unreal, a meal that came in a box that you could eat from of a mini tin pie plate. This, while watching an episode of the Love Boat, was close to heaven for us.
When I started my career as a potter over 20 years ago, I was drawn to working with clay because I wanted to work with my hands; I wanted to make art and feel connected to the earth at the same time. My daily practice includes time in the woods, really almost every day of the year, and some time in the studio either actually making pots or engaging in some other aspect of studio work.
Five or six years ago when I decided to focus almost exclusively on tableware, it became important for me to connect my hand work with my strong belief about the importance of and accessibility to fresh food for everyone. In my mind, the best way to share this connection was to create imagery for my pots that was very clear: the seed stamp was born. This has become my signature--or chop in potter's language. This stamp adorns every piece, gently reminding us every time we sit down for a meal, that it all begins with a small seed. It has also become, for me, a symbol of ideas, creativity, and contemplation inside and outside of the studio.
Once my pieces have undergone the last firing and I've unloaded the kiln, inspected them and lovingly packed them for their destination, my work is done. This is when I say to my plates, "OK, I've done everything I can, you are out of my hands. Go do what we intended--simply serve the food, and quietly remind the diner where it comes from and that it is all so beautiful, this world"