Wherever I go I am constantly on the look out for beautiful things. Most women I know have extensive collections. Whether it be nick knacks for the home, little statues, glassware, shoes (I know lots of women who spend much of their take home $$ on this one!), makeup, books etc. Mostly I collect food. Beautiful, local, amazing food. It goes away as quickly as it comes, but for me there is no greater joy than collecting and creating gloriously colorful, healthful and delicious food for my friends and family. And unlike some other people's collections, I am really satisfied and happy to see it disappear.
The one other thing that I do scour the markets and shops for wherever I go is pottery to put the food into. I love colorful pottery and while I started my collection with the very upscale Deruta tableware for four (I was single and childless then...who buys dinnerware for four?) I am equally attracted to the pottery of Mexico, Costa Rica, Portugal, Italy and have shipped and lugged home many examples to join my collection. My sweet Husband even bought me several pieces of darling, whimsical rainforest pottery when we visited Costa Rica, several years ago.
While many Chef's prefer snow white plates or for more dramatic effect, black vessels to "let the food shine" I am of the thought that the gorgeous colors of the pottery complement the food and make a more celebratory presentation. And for me and my family, my friends and my clients...coming together around the table over great food and drink is a reason to celebrate everyday.
I have even delved into making my own pottery. Since collecting is expensive and I have no patience and an artistic bent anyway, I have decided that I too can design and paint my own pottery. I started when I came back from Italy the first time by painting tiles to be coasters nearby where I lived in Los Gatos at the time, as a way to decompress after a long day managing restaurants and catering for Nordstrom. And little by little, I have added lovely little pieces that I am happy to show off and use when I entertain and cater parties for clients.
I painted some darling little whimsical oil and vinegar bottles when we lived in Arizona (don't ask). I also designed and painted a sunflower mural on tile to go behind the dual fuel Dacor range that I gave up when we decided to move back to the liberal Bay Area (thankfully!). I gave up the expensive range, but I brought my art with me!
Lately I have been working on replacing a counter top for a little wooden kitchen island that I bought in AZ. I loved the Mexican antique, but always hated the grubby grout and the burnt orange tile. While pounding meat back a couple of months ago, I broke two of the tiles....it took not even a second to get over being sorry and on to perusing my book about Italian artisans from Deruta, to Googling a local pottery place that would let me work on my design little by little.
I am not yet done. About halfway after a month of work....but I am happy with how its going and will share the result here when I am finished.