Last May we pulled our daughter, Emma from school and began homeschooling or non-schooling or… I’ve written more about all of this on the other blog, the one I share with my daughter: Emma’s Hope Book. One of the many benefits of homeschooling, aside from the huge relief and plummeting stress level, is that we get to explore, together and separately. The beauty in exploring is that the goal is to be curious and discover. There’s no right or wrong and there’s tremendous comfort in that. The entire process of learning becomes one of joy and experimentation without the burden or stress of feeling one should know something before having learned it.
So it was, some eight months ago when I sat down with Emma and asked her what she was interested in learning about. She typed that she wanted to learn German and take a ceramics class among a number of other things. So we bought Rosetta Stone for German and Emma began taking pottery lessons at a nearby ceramics studio. Her teacher, seeing my obvious excitement and interest, asked if I might like to make some things too. I eagerly said, “Yes, please!”
Learning anything new is full of experimenting, exploring, tweaking, practicing and refining techniques learned. To dive into something you’ve never done before can be daunting, but only if you are comparing your work to another’s. Particularly crushing is if you expect you will be able to produce something that is of similar expertise as someone who has been studying and refining their technique for decades. The exhilaration comes with the process of learning, practicing and improving. But so often we are not taught that this process is wonderful at all. In fact, we are taught that it is hard work and the end product, only produced after years of practice and toil, is all that is of value. Everything else pales in comparison.
This cereal bowl that Emma made for me is perfect for walking while eating. It has an indentation that perfectly fits one’s thumb while cupping the bowl in your palm. Why hasn’t anyone designed a bowl like this? I’ve never seen one before, but oh, how I love it. This is my new, favorite bowl.
My favorite cereal bowl made for me by Emma.
The platter below? “It matches” was what Emma typed in reply to my exclamation that I thought it perfect for serving cheese and crackers or maybe a brioche en croute with fresh baguette.
This bowl that Emma made used cookie cutters and then she painted after joining all the shapes.
An Autumnal Bowl
A few months ago, or maybe it was years, (this is an aspect of getting older, the years feel like months, yet another example of that saying people tell you when you first become a parent – the days are long, the years are short) I asked Emma if she had any interest in learning to knit. She said she did, and as I love knitting (I wrote about some of that “here“) and used to design knitwear, I thought we’d start with something simple, like a scarf. Emma chose a light blue yarn. After a couple of tries, she lost interest and so I began making a long scarf using an alternating knit 2, purl 2 pattern. I rarely use knitting patterns or cooking recipes for that matter, but that’s another post. Anyway the scarf began like this.
Light blue scarf in alternating Knit 2, Purl 2 pattern with the beginning of a navy blue chenille infinity scarf in the background.
The finished scarf ended up measuring 87 inches in length and 11 inches wide. What you don’t see is the other side where I changed my mind after an inch or so and decided to make the pattern more elongated.
The Finished Scarf
This is the edge where I began knitting and decided to change the stitch. Three times. The final stitch pattern is a Knit 2, Purl 2 for three rows and then Purl 2, Knit 2 for 3 rows and repeating for the remainder of the scarf.
I’m hoping Emma will try knitting again sometime, but in the meantime, I’ve started a couple of other projects, one is this deep blue chenille yarn that I’m knitting, using a newly learned brioche stitch, into an infinity scarf for a friend.
The makings of an infinity scarf using a brioche stitch
And finally this is one of my ceramics projects.
Pebbles in a Plate
For those familiar with my jewelry, this may remind you of something else…
Life is busy. We are homeschooling our twelve-year old daughter. Best decision we ever made! (For more about that you can read our group blog where Emma writes many of the posts – Emma’s Hope Book.) I continue to juggle my business and its needs and demands with parenting, homeschooling and writing. As I no longer have my jewelry in stores, I am doing trunk shows. There are not enough hours in any given day and things fall through the cracks. Still… art bleeds through in myriad ways to make life even more exhilarating and exciting. In preparation for this last trunk show, whose theme was Halloween, I roped my family into carving pumpkins and helping me cook halloween treats.
Art? Crafts? Who cares?
Let’s begin with a little Halloween fun.
Grinning Pumpkin ~ Carved by Richard Long
Our son tries his hand at carving…
Nosy Pumpkin with Rotting Teeth ~ By Nic Z-L
I’m a purist and went for a more traditional pumpkin, which means I googled “cool carved pumpkins” and found one resembling this and copied it. 🙂
Originally I wanted to paint this wreath black and have a few snakes and rats poking out from the foliage, but this idea was vetoed by all but my 14 year old son…
Welcome to Fall Wreath
And since that was so much fun, I went a little “wreath crazy”…
Entryway to my pre-Halloween trunk show
Raven’s Nest Wreath
And then there was cooking that needed to be done…
Trunk show treats – Yes, I made them. From 11 o’clock going clockwise, Pumpkin granola bars, Spider Web Cupcakes, Pumpkin Blondies, Delicious, decadent fudge and Pumpkin Scones
In addition to the halloween treats, I made my spectacular Bloody Mary’s garnished with large green olives, celery and lime. They were a big hit!
For all of you who would like to be included on our mailing list so you don’t miss out on future trunk shows and events, just say so and I will add the email you use to comment to our email list, or send me a different email, if you prefer.
Today is the final day of the first leg of my Ariane Zurcher Jewelry trunk show in New York City. Next week I’m in Chicago and the following week Aspen, Colorado. It’s a – three trunk shows, in three cities, in three weeks – tour!
I’ve written about how I started designing jewelry ‘here‘ and about the genesis of my Transition Collection as a way of finding that elusive “balance” of family and work that so many talk about, but that I never seem to actually achieve, ‘here‘.
I won’t go into any of that again, but like everything in life, it’s impossible to compartmentalize career, family, children and friends into neat little boxes where nothing overlaps with anything else. And even if it were possible, I wouldn’t want to do it. I love that design influences life and life influences design. That these different elements weave together to create something unique is what I respond to when I look at any art, whether it’s a painting, ceramics, sculpture, clothing or jewelry.
18 Kt Brushed White Gold, Druzy and Natural Pearl Ring
My daughter, Emma, has begun writing stories. Those of you who follow my other blog, Emma’s Hope Book, will have likely read some of her writing as I’ve posted it there, with her permission, more and more. What I love about reading her stories is how unexpected they are. Every sentence is a surprise, a tiny, sparkling, gem of an idea, beautifully wrapped up in words that take my breath away.
Recently Emma told me she was interested in jewelry! Before I pack up this trunk show, I plan to ask her to point out a few things she particularly likes. Words and jewels… the apple didn’t fall far…
Sometimes what’s reflected is easier to see than the thing being reflected. I wrote about this and the nature of progress on my other blog, Emma’s Hope Book the other day.
EHB is the blog where I write about being a parent and autism and how my daughter has helped me see the world differently. It’s ironic that her neurology, the thing so many believe to be a massive deficit – autism – has shown me a world far more beautiful than I ever dreamed or believed possible.
Reflection is like that sometimes. We see things in a reflection that we might have missed were we to look directly. Art and inspiration are like that too.
I took this photograph in Central Park this July 4th. Had you asked me what the weather was like I would have told you – clear blue skies and hot, hot, hot.
“Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city”
Lyrics: Lovin Spoonful
Yet, I would have been wrong.
Welcome to my store!
Please browse and look at our patterns available. We also offer Workshops! ~Ariane