Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What inspires you?

What inspires you? I often ask myself questions like this, because the answer is never the same, yet always true.

One answer, time and time again, is this textile piece that decorates a wall in my parents home. I've studied it for many years, and to this day it still engages me. Its layers and layers of fabric defy the classic rules of contrast and complementary colors. Looking back I see that it continues to be influential in my work today — the colors, textures and depth are an opening sentence to a story I can't forget.



And then there is another answer, one that is more auditory than visual, and is always at the forefront of my mind: my mother and daughter playing the piano together. I enjoy it from a very comfortable chair nearby, usually with a project in hand.



I encourage you to start and finish each day with this question, too. Make sure when you answer that you are not in a rush; that you are being thoughtful, mindful. My answers often surprise me with their range: watching a duck come in for a landing, mossy steps, and even professional basketball have all made it onto my list as sources of inspiration.

What's yours?

~ Kata Golda


Kata Golda is available for custom and commissioned pieces large and small, and will gladly teach workshops for children and adults. Call or email for details.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cups


I like collecting. And the objects I like having around aren't just decorative, but ones that are potentially useful, just like the items I make and sell. In particular I like little cups, and have many odd ones scattered around my home: cups to hold things like buttons, salt and — of course — beverages.

A few years ago I introduced small, handmade tea cups to the Kata Golda collection. They are stoneware cups, decorated with my illustrations and glazed in soft white. When we made the cups for my 2010-2011 collection I wanted them to be more useful, so we made them bigger. Now that they can hold 5 ounces, they are actually large enough for a coffee, juice, hot chocolate or wine. They feel nice to hold, fitting neatly into my hands.



I look at stacks of these completed cups every day when I am in my studio. It didn't take long for some additional uses for them came to mind, and I decided to experiment.


CUP AS MINI-PLANTER


This winter I planted paper whites in my Kata Golda tea cups — but not with dirt. I filled the interior of each cup with marbles and securely nestled a bulb in each one with a top layer of marbles, being careful not to bury it.

I then filled the cups with water, making sure that the bottom of the bulb was in the water. They have done quite well near my eastern-facing windows in my warm kitchen, and smell wonderful.



CUP AS CANDLE VOTIVE


Another use I found for my cups was as a votive to hold a candle. You could place a small pre-made candle in the cup, but I prefer to make my own beeswax candles, pouring them directly into the cup.

First I melted the beeswax in a large aluminum juice can placed in a double boiler. Then I scooped out the hot wax into each cup, leave some room at the top. I dipped the wick into the hot wax to make it stiff (and easier to work with), and when the wax in the cup became a little more solid, I pushed the wick into the middle of the candle until it hit the interior base of the cup.



I like the idea that the use of these cups is always temporary and they will soon be used for something else. Warm beverages, candle light and fragrant flowers all make these dark winter months a time to savor.

~ Kata Golda




Kata Golda is available for custom and commissioned pieces large and small, and will gladly teach workshops for children and adults. Call or email for details.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

[Activity] What Made Me Happy Today


It's awfully dark in the Pacific Northwest, with gray and gloomy days following one after the other. As a result I need to remind myself to stay focused on what makes each day joyful, and combat the looming desire to take a nap. So I keep a tiny journal where I write down those joyful things, and can refer back to them as needed.

Last year I purchased a little book (which is an odd thing for me to do, as I am a trained bookbinder) and gave it to my daughter just for this purpose. We were diligent in remembering and recording... it was a great tool to reflect upon the day.

This year we decided to make our own books, and invited some friends over to join in on the fun. It's a great little project for all ages. If you have Kata Golda's Hand-stitched Felt, then use the instructions for the everyday journal (p. 62), and modify as needed.

For this little project we made the covers from paper, but if you want you can use felt — these journal do-it-yourself kits give you the supplies you need.

What Made Me Happy Today:
An Activity with Friends to Start Off the New Year


Make small pamphlet book in which to write in each night before you go to bed. What do you write? One thing that made you happy that day.


BEFORE YOU BEGIN

Before we started making the books, I asked everyone to write down 5 things that make them happy. Here are some examples of what people wrote: watching birds, little children, fruit, fur, wind, the Olympic mountains, making pies. Set the list aside.



TO MAKE THE BOOK

1) Gather the paper for your cover and the interior together. We made our book covers out of pages from my 2009 Nikki McClure wall calendar — which I could not bear to put in the recycle bin, and was determined to find a new use for.

2) Carefully fold the paper in half. Make sure the decorative paper for your book cover is on the outside.

3) To hold the pages together, staple or stitch your book along the fold.

Stitching the books together.


4) Decorate your book. Some of our friends typed their list of 5 things that made them happy and attached the list to the back cover or the inside back cover, to use as a reference to jump-start their thinking about what to write each day. Others typed a title for their book and glued it to the front cover. Some chose to leave their book wordless.

A book in progress.



Have fun, and enjoy your book!

~ Kata Golda


Kata Golda is available for custom and commissioned pieces large and small, and will gladly teach workshops for children and adults. Call or email for details.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Running a Tight Ship


With the holiday season behind me (it was a good season for my business; thanks!), I feel like I finally have time to have creative thoughts again. Thank you to Powell's Books for hosting me in Portland on January 3, and to everyone who came to the event. It's always fun to share my work and meet new creative minds.

During the holiday rush I kept myself from feeling overwhelmed by staying focused on working hard to get orders out in a timely fashion... this all ends with finality just before Christmas, followed by a great clean up: picking up all of the little threads and pieces of felt that grace every walking surface in every room; disassembling and cleaning up the sewing machines; restocking embroidery floss in my sewing basket; wiping down work surfaces.

I'm now ready to begin again. The discipline that the holiday rush required has been followed first by the compilation of lists from lots of scattered little pieces of paper into my 2010 book, then finally by the opportunity to give my full attention to exploring all of my new ideas.


~ Kata Golda


Kata Golda is available for custom and commissioned pieces large and small, and will gladly teach workshops for children and adults. Call or email for details.