Thoughts...

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It’s been quite some time since I have had the time or rather took the time to sit and write, but it finally happened while we were at the beach a few weeks ago. It came out more like a journal entry, but I feel like my life is made up of a many entries rather than one big novel. So this is me grappling with how to be more present, how to love others and myself better, how to be vulnerable without fear. This is me trying to stay on my path of being intentional.

Thoughts… June 7,2019

Today I got lost. Not like really lost, but lost enough where I couldn’t tell you the right path to take to get home. Instead of my normal reaction to stop and get my bearings I decided to take the path less travelled and continue on my journey to another place. During the meandering I thought a lot. I prayed a lot. And hoped that the storm rolling in wouldn’t get too intense while I was away. I thought back to the days when I was small and couldn’t officially play house in my cardboard box until it was properly decorated. I thought back to a time when I focused so hard on everything having to be so perfect before I could truly be in the moment and laugh. I then fast forward to today and see how my cardboard playhouse decorated to a tee has led me down the path of creating home for others. It just makes sense. The focusing on everything having to be perfect though has its time and place and maybe just maybe isn’t a place where I want to dwell too long. It’s a place where I tend to get anxious. A place where I get stuck and feel like I am on repeat. A place where I can quickly shift my focus from what is in front of me to a place where I can not thrive. I then stopped and prayed while I was seeing the moments where life would pass and asked God to help me realize the moments that would lead to a place where I’m not living my best life or even a life that just passes much too quickly without me being present for the little moments. I want to detour before the s***t hits the fan really. I know those moments all too well. I know that my heart starts to race. When I start to make up stories about what is happening, but not really happening. When I can’t look my children in their eyes and hear them, really hear them. That’s when I want to stop, need to stop. Take a breath and re route. Now I don’t have all the answers on how this will come about. How will I step out of the twister that has just begun. But I pray now that I can pin point my reactions, that I will now be able to calm the winds before the big storm hits.

Katrine Tucker: Civil Stoneware

Today’s guest I have known of for over a decade. I have watched her create and grow from afar and have been inspired by her drive. Constantly shifting, molding, and tackling every task big and small with everything she has. Fast forward to today and I am wondering why I did not corner her sooner and make her be my friend since the start. After a chat you leave feeling inspired that life is beautiful in every circumstance and you should take every advantage that comes your way, you never know where it will lead. She is one who wears many hats and can be found styling sets for photos, commercials, and some production designing for feature films. I am so grateful Katherine was able to take some time and allow me to capture her in her studio doing what she loves, creating for Civil Stoneware, her newest venture that leaves me breathless. Her goods not only have an earthly elegant feel, but are also functional. You can see my favorite tray at use here. Can’t wait to add more to my very own collection.

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CONVERSATIONS WITH KATHERINE


LETS TALK BUSINESS…

HOW AND WHEN DID CIVIL STONEWARE COME TO LIFE?

I’ve always had my hands in pottery since I graduated college in 2001, where I learned to throw and ended up selecting it as my concentration as an Art Major, but it was after I wrapped working on a movie in November of 2016 that I had the time to delve into undivided studio time. Working with clay has always been a way to decompress from stressful production jobs. I’m a bit of a busy body and receive so much satisfaction creating. I stumbled on a relatively new soft black clay body and was in love. Every form I created with the black clay lead me to create more and more. The way light plays with the matte finish… was a dream.

I feel like all my life experiences, even ones that seemed confusing at the time, have all lead up to me being prepared to take the plunge into the ultimate rush of creating a business.

It seemed like in a week I had a line of about 10 pieces, beginning with the pour over and then a few sizes of plates; olive server,  spoons, a loving cup, a bottle opener, a couple of trays and a pendant light. It’s always been a joy to help other artists find their way in the business world, and I felt like Civil Stoneware serves that desire as well. A way to connect artists, employ and teach them to help create the forms. Spending a little time hanging out and talking when your hands are busy making, is a great way to connect. Personally, I feel like family with every maker in the studio and I think they do as well.  

I KNOW IN ADDITION TO OWNING A BEAUTIFUL STONEWARE COMPANY YOU ALSO WORK IN STYLING. WHAT DOES A TYPICAL WORK DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

Oh yessss, my other love… Advertising, Brands, and Set Decoration. Depending on the day, I’m either styling sets for photos, commercials and/or some production designing for feature films.  I’ve been fortunate that the schedules work together. As an artist I feel like it keeps me fresh and inspired to mix things up. I find a stagnant repetitious schedule can be challenging to my personality. Call times are usually pretty early, somewhere in the 6a-8a and wrapped in 10hrs. Lunch break is when I address any Civil Stoneware emails,  so it’s a long day but extremely rewarding. I usually have a few days to prep (shop + buy) and I work from design boards. It’s very important to get as much as you can approved ahead of time, so design boards are a must for me. Having options on set is also a must, so there’s a lot of hauling items and keeping your mobile office tidy. Then there’s a day of wrap or so, where I return items not used and put personal props away. Then I go dance or do some sort of exercise for fun.  There is usually a couple of days a week that I am not styling so those become studio days where I make or coordinate workers to come in and fill orders. It changes weekly so that’s why if you’d like to visit the studio, or take a pottery class, it’s by appointment only.

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IS THERE A COMMON DESIGN DETAIL THAT RUNS THROUGH EACH OF YOUR PIECES?

I would hope it would be a simply timeless aesthetic. Perhaps it’s a love for Korean Pottery and firing techniques I studied in college. I love functional pieces too. Ones that you can live with comfortably while using on the daily.

HOW DO YOU STAY INSPIRED WHILE KEEPING INLINE WITH YOUR OWN AESTHETIC ALL WHILE BEING IN A BUSINESS THAT LENDS ITSELF TO BEING IN CONSTANT ROTATION VISUALLY?

I see inspiration like a river that is swirling and flowing all over earth, you simply access it by desire. Haven’t you noticed that with trends? They kinda flow and become a thing for a while and then cycle out and something new naturally emerges. Perhaps tapping into the creative is more about a sensitivity or an awareness to what’s happening under the surface. I don’t know though… {THIS THOUGHT WILL STICK WITH ME FOR YEARS TO COME}

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HAVE ANY BUSINESS ADVICE THAT YOU CAN INPART?

I would say just jump in! You can study up all you want, but the best teacher is experience, so you just have to take the leap.

WHAT IS ONE OF THE GREATEST HURDLES TO OVERCOME OWNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

Leveraging capital and knowing what and when to invest. Small business is pricey! There’s great risk involved and you truly have to trust your instinct. Investing in equipment, trade shows, Research and Development, all while spending real man hours making and managing people. You have to think and act quick. That’s when I see all the years of preparation that went in, even when I wasn’t even aware, that I was being trained for this very thing. It’s really beautiful. It’s when I see God orchestrating all the streams of experiences in my life and bringing them together at the perfect time. You really do have to trust the process. Not that I’ve arrived or anything, but I don’t think I would have done it any different. I’m having so much fun and am very grateful I am able to work in my passion.

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ON A PERSONAL NOTE…

IMAGINE YOU HAD A DAY OFF AND COULD SHUT DOWN COMPLETELY. HOW WOULD YOU SPEND THAT DAY?

Traveling! Snow skiing, the beach, the lake with family, but also spa days are a great way to unwind as well!

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL UNIFORM?

My daily dress has really has become a uniform. I feel like I totally get why Steve Jobs went with the same kit every (work) day, to save time and put comfort first. I love simple looks and get the basics at Zara and have a few splurge pieces from Open Ceremony. I also find pieces at places I stumble on while traveling and work those in as little accents. Although since my work is pretty labor intensive, spandex is likely in there somewhere.

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE READ OR PODCAST?

I am a podcast/youtube listener. I love listening while I am throwing on the wheel or trimming pottery. I kinda get into conspiracy theories and they have some wild testimonies on there.

WHERE DO YOU TURN TO FOR INSPIRATION?

Traveling has always inspired me, simply taking in all the new. Hitting up little boutique shops around the globe is always the thing that gets me excited. Scouring the streets and small neighborhoods for carefully curated shops is the fastest way for me to be inspired. Nothing like seeing what’s going on in the hearts of other creatives. At home, it’s online. There’s so much at our fingertips… it’s truly a really great time to be alive.

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SINCE I AM CURRENTLY ON MY OWN INTENTIONS KICK, WHAT IS YOUR 2019 INTENTION {GOAL} FOR THE YEAR AND ONE ACTION YOU ARE TAKING TO GET ACHIEVE SAID GOAL?

GOAL: Make the most of every opportunity.

ACTION: Daily I try to make the most of every opportunity.

Follow Katherine on her shop IG, here. Also be sure to visit her goods, Civil Stoneware , here.

A Simple Table

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While in the Netherlands we sat down for a simple meal. The server came and took our drink order, still water for the Mr and sparkling for me. After receiving our drinks we ordered our food and once it came to the table we didn’t see our server again until we asked. At first we thought it to be odd, but then quickly caught on that they expected us to sit for hours if need be. To enjoy our meal slowly and maybe top it off with a dessert or coffee. There was no rush to it and to be honest it took a few meals to actually slow down enough to enjoy the pace of it all. We have come so accustomed to eating quickly and being ready for the next thing that I forgot how nice it is to just be. After we made it home I found Jenni’s Kayne new book, Pacific Natural, came in. I have been devouring it since. She talks of this slower pace and making moments of every day meals. Nothing needs to be extravagant just intentional. I know as the kiddos get older our meal times together will become more sporadic so for now I hope to adopt a slower pace at our table and make more of them feel special. Plus it gives me more of an excuse to pull out my Grandmother’s ironstone dishes that were passed down to me. To top it all off I added a charcuterie board. The cheese, meats and grapes were from Trader Joe’s. I always have pistachios on hand from costco. My favorite gluten free cracker is by Simple Mills. They are good enough for even those that gluten isn’t an issue, but keeps the whole cross contamination at bay. I buy mine from costco in bulk, but of course Amazon has them too when I am in a pinch. This red pepper jelly is my go to. It makes even the simplest of cheeses feel special.

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1. Pacific Natural, a book by Jenni Kayne that has beautiful imagery and encourages us to make every moment special.

2. I always love having fresh flowers at the table. I bought a few varieties from Trader Joe’s and made my own bouquet, but if I am in need of something more special I love the varieties from Farmgirl Flowers.

3. This tray I use in the kitchen to corral all the goods I like to keep on the counters, but it would also look beautiful used as a cheese board. Just be sure to line it will parchment as it’s not food safe.

4. I could not find a single cloth napkin in our house. These I find to simple enough to match any occasion.

5. Candles always make the ordinary feel extra special. The organic nature of these makes me want to leave them out all the time.

6 & 7. I love a plate that borders on casual. These have a great texture and feel handthrown.

8. We are picky about our glassware and these have quickly become a favorite. They have a good weight to them and they stack. Use this link for $20 off $50 or more for any first time shoppers.

9. This tray, by Civil Stoneware, has so many uses. I use it for a good cheese board, but also use it by my bed to house my oils and such at night. The scoop is also used to scoop my coffee grinds. Love products that have multiple uses. This shop is also local which makes me adore it even more.

*some affiliate links used