Based in the Hamlet of Oak Hill in the Great Northern Catskills, I grew up in the small town of Butler, New Jersey. I remember helping my mother in her garden on those long summer days. We would pick all types of vegetables together, from tomatoes to snap peas. I remember staking old-fashioned gladiolus in the garden too. It was an absolute treat to spend those days together, as well as, a tremendous learning experience for my formative, young self.
One of my first memories of creating was when I used to make little pots from the mud that would collect in the drainage ditch by our family’s cabin that we had in Pennsylvania. I’d dry them in the sun, collect ‘bluette’ flowers, and proudly present the finished potted arrangements to my mom in the house. I think being a creative individual affects my view of the world because I find that I see opportunity in many otherwise overlooked materials.
A full world of potential that no one else can see, one in which is growing all around us.
I used to dive into household magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens and Martha Stewart Living for regular inspiration. This was where I gathered most of my ideas and personal style for my work. Most of all, however, my true inspiration is from my mother. I remember her constantly creating for the holidays growing up, as well as, all of our other communal celebrations. I also draw from the community of makers and creators around me. Through community, we are able to experience the places and stories of countless other individuals. The willingness to share our experiences and spaces opens up new doors of thinking. I’ve even found it to help maintain a great exchange of materials and ideas between one another.
Even with all the inspiration and community that surrounds me, I do get quite burnt out at times. My partner, Carter, and I make sure to take breaks and focus on simpler things at times—like working on the renovation of our 1851 farmhouse or working out in our gardens. I’ve also learned that one needs to stay true to their own ideas. That being said, be careful not to let your personal idea of how things should be, hold you back. It’s often in what we don’t know that we find the greatest moments of inspiration and growth!
“You are precisely as big as what you love and precisely as small as what you allow to annoy you.”
― Robert Anton Wilson
As for my studio, it was quite a journey getting it to where it is now. At first, it was simply cleaning out all of the old junk, clutter, and debris. As time was spent in the studio/shop, the necessity for activity took place—we needed more workspace. Carter built a huge, lengthy work counter that I can spread all of my materials out on. He also installed a ‘window wall’ to allow for a gentle separation between work and shop. Our little carriage barn, however, is not heated. This makes working in the winter one of the most challenging situations. This challenge is nothing, however, when compared to the feeling of having been able to revitalize a forgotten storage bin into a warm, inviting, and a quite cozy shop and studio space.
The ability to transmute never thought of or banal materials into something of desirable beauty is what truly makes me passionate about creating.
P.S. I Love This!
My favorite item in my shop is the nameplate of my mother. It sat on her desk while she worked as an insurance agent for many years of her life. It reminds me of the sacrifices we make for the ones we love. If you’re thinking about creating your own studio, ask yourself how to make what you love doing more efficient. I’ve found that the less time you spend ‘setting’ up for projects, the more time you will have to enjoy getting into the flow. Your energy will be spent where it really counts.