There were two commissions this summer of which I am especially proud. These stories are special to me. I was honored to be asked to assist in a couple of very special occasions by sharing my pottery skills. (I still don't think that I am especially talented, but I have worked hard over the past 12 years to develop my skills.)
Please forgive me a short trip down memory lane. I have to give you some background so you will understand why this story is special. Luke Harkey has been the pastor of Shelby Presbyterian Church for 20 years. The Harkey family arrived in Shelby in 1999 the fall that Luke's daughter Anna was a junior in high school. Jeff and I taught Anna calculus and US History and she became one of my sister Carol's good friends. Probably because of that friendship, my mom and Luke's wife Carolyn became friends. Several years later, Jeff and I joined Shelby Presbyterian. Luke baptized my nephew Callum. The Harkeys are special to me and my family.
Luke retired today. He preached his last sermon at our 11 am service and there was a church picnic this afternoon in his honor. Back in July the committee planning the retirement party asked me if I would make a piece that could be a gift from the church to Luke and Carolyn. Holy moly! You want me to do WHAT? You're sure? We talked for a few minutes about what they had in mind, and I knew immediately what I wanted to do. The leaves used in this piece are all from the grounds of the church.
About the same time, a friend at the gym stopped me after class one day and asked if I could help him with a gift for another friend. There was a "significant 0 birthday" approaching and he wanted something really special to give her to commemorate the occasion. This time, it took a while before I got my head wrapped around what to do. He wanted a flower pot in a particular color. We talked several times and in between I let my thoughts sort of roll around in my head. I finally decided on which clay and glaze to use and how to decorate the piece with each of the special things that were important for the occasion - a rainbow, a name, butterflies. The whole time I worked on it, I was worried that it would be too much. I sent pictures of each step in the process and continued to ask questions.
I was worried. I had never used under glazes before, but that was the only way that I knew that I could get the bright colors in the rainbow and butterflies. The finished piece turned out GREAT! My friend said that it was exactly what he had pictured in his head the whole time. PHEW!
I'm sharing these stories because they are special to me. What an honor to be asked to help with gift giving for truly special occasions. Thank you to the folks at Shelby Presbyterian and to Randy for trusting me with your projects.