Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

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It took quite a few trips, but I managed to haul everything back to the Bronx in my mini (except for the patio furniture which I couldn’t fit). That car is a workhorse but not a very big horse. To my surprise, I didn’t have too much trouble finding room for everything. We didn’t have a whole lot to begin with plus our house was already a mashup of modern pieces and antiques.

I painted the record cabinet and two smaller cabinets that I ended up taking. The smaller cabinets got a few coats of warm grey (if you’ve seen any of my recent work, you’ll see that this is my current favorite color) and for some unknown reason, I painted the record cabinet a bright teal. A regretful choice. The mid century end tables were perfect just the way they were and now live in my dining room. Lots of the other stuff like the tattered jewelry boxes and tins, the hat box and the clock are displayed and Aunt Marian’s well-loved cast iron pans are now well-loved by me.

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When I started sorting through all the rusty objects from the garage, I realized that I wanted to pay tribute to my grandfather and great grandfather and use the pieces in my work. I had a lot of rings left over from the construction of my Industrial Vessels and decided to make some small mixed media sculptures. I painted each porcelain ring either white, gold, copper or black, then paired them with the rusty objects.

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I love the way the sleek, handmade rings play against the old pieces. I also like that the assemblages can be changed on a whim since they’re made up of individual parts. Initially I thought this was just a personal project but now I’m looking forward to exploring the idea further. For now, the little assemblages live all over my house. That makes me happy.


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Growing up, I spent a lot of my time with my great aunt, Marian. My parents and I lived with her until I was three and from then on, I spent every holiday, vacation and summer with her on Long Island. She never married or had children and referred me as “her baby”. She was like a second mother to me. My grandparents lived next door to her and my great aunt and uncle lived behind my grandparents. It was like a mini compound and I loved being there, but that’s a story for another day.

This story is about stuff. When Aunt Marian died, I helped my grandmother, her sister, clean out her house. It was the house that had belonged to their parents, my great grandparents. It was the house where Aunt Marian spent her teenage years and her entire adult life, save for the last two years which were spent in a nursing home. The house was full not only of Aunt Marian’s belongings, but those of her parents as well. Three lifetime’s worth of things.

A call was put out to her large, extended family – “Come and take what you want. Everything else will be donated or discarded”. A few came, but that did little to lessen the load. There were stacks of china, mugs, collectible glasses, Corningware plates and baking dishes, dented aluminum pots and pans and every conceivable type of utensil that had been manufactured in the last 80 years. And that was just the kitchen. There was also a house full of furniture, records, tchotchkes, books overflowing with photos, sheets, towels, Christmas decorations and all the things that make a house a home.

Then there was the other stuff. My great grandparents lived through the depression and throughout their lives, they carried with them the idea that everything was worth something and someday you might need it. It was the kind of stuff that had been tucked away and long since forgotten about, the kind of stuff that no one was interested. There were hundreds of old buttons in every size and color, piles of 6 cent stamps, beautiful headpieces from the 40’s and 50’s, a round hatbox illustrated with daisies, handwritten letters, a jar full of keys, a box full of handwritten recipes, old tins and tattered jewelry boxes, pristine wrapping paper from the 60’s and old notebooks filled with lists and budgets handwritten by my great grandmother. I wanted all of it.

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There was also a garage so full a car couldn’t fit. My grandfather had “moved in” after the death of my great grandparents and had filled it with his own treasures. The garage became home to bicycles, old patio furniture, paint cans and power tools. There were gas cans, buckets, shovels, garden tools and a snowblower. Practically every square inch of the cement floor was covered. I didn’t think there would be anything worthwhile in the garage, but I was wrong. Against the wall, way in the back was a toolbox sitting atop a stack of old wooden shelves. Inside were very old, rusty wrenches of every size and shape, rusted ratchets, broken drill bits along with a hand drill and forged steel tin snips. Above the shelves sat a dusty cupboard full of old coffee cans. The cans were overflowing with washers, screws, nuts and bolts. There was also a fishing weight, a ball bearing, a rusty pipe fitting, a clothesline reel and a slew of other unidentifiable objects. Just about everything was well past its prime, covered in rust and varying shades of patina. Someone, my grandfather or perhaps my great grandfather had taken the time to save all of it just as my great grandmother had carefully collected the stamps and buttons. I got very emotional thinking about it.

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I ended up taking quite a bit from the house- Aunt Marian’s well-loved cast iron pans, a couple of mid century end tables, an old Ansco camera, a clock that was gifted to my great grandparents on their 50th wedding anniversary, an old chest, beautiful teacups, the records and their cabinet, a vintage patio rocking chair and glider, a few serving pieces and a couple of beautiful decanters and glassware. These things I cherish. But I also had to take the buttons and stamps, the headpieces and hat box, the keys, the recipe books and many of the other treasures that had been hidden away including all the rusty tools, washers, nuts and bolts from the garage. My grandmother thought I was crazy. Then it occurred to me. What the hell was I going to do with it all?

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We enjoyed a much-needed quiet and relaxing day yesterday. A walk in the park, the Arrested Development marathon (heyyyyyy brother), a tasty meal plus some dancing in the kitchen made for a pretty great day. I cooked, the professor cleaned and Maddy supervised. All was right with the world.

And that brings us to today, the day for steals and deals, Black Friday. While I avoid the mall and big box stores like the plague- especially on holiday weekends- I do love a good sale. So, in an attempt to save you from the craziness this weekend, I’m having a sale in my shop. Avoid the crowds and suport handmade. Trust me, it’s a win win situation. You can thank me later.

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I was surprised by how many people asked if I was going to Hong Kong to shop. I had heard that it was a world renowned shopping destination, full of designer boutiques and high end retailers. But the question always made me laugh because I live in New York, a world renowned shopping destination full of designer boutiques and high end retailers- and I never go to any of them. The thought of flying to the other side of the world to do so sounded crazy to me.

It’s not that I don’t like to shop. I’m just not into designer handbags with someone’s logo printed all over it or shoes that would inevitably send me into a face plant. At home I do my fair share of online shopping, thrifting and art market perusing. But when it comes to destination shopping, I prefer to just wonder around and explore a city or village. That’s when I’ll inevitably stumble upon something with a story, something special enough to carry all the way back home where it will become part of my story. Of course I also came back with hundreds of photos, a few maps, post cards and pamphlets, but below are some of the more notable little gems that now have a home in the Bronx.

Owls are very special to the Thao tribe, one of few remaining ethnic groups of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. I picked up this marble owl from the Owl Workshop in the aboriginal village at Sun Moon Lake where some of the the Thao have small shops. I love the story of Lin Yi-bei, the entrepreneur who founded the Owl Workshop. It’s similar to many of the stories (including my own) of the small business owners and artists here.

We visited the glass museum in Taiwan where I found this beautiful hand-blown cup from Tai Glass Studio.

While in Taipei, a friend arranged a private tour of the Ri Xing Type Foundry, the only remaining foundry in Taiwan. The owner, Chang Chieh-kuan and his wife are dedicated to preserving the 1,000 year old tradition. We were excited to learn that some of the type was available for purchase, though it was difficult to choose just a few.

A ceramic lion from the handmade market in Taipei. It’s so different from my own ceramic work. I think that’s why I love it.

A hobo bag made from recycled newspapers from a small shop in Hong Kong aptly named RECYCLED. The gentleman who owns the shop designs all the bags himself. I’ve seen a lot of these in New York, but never one with this particular design.

A wee Jade owl from the Jade Market in Hong Kong. Set up like a flea market, each vendor has their own small booth or table displaying everything from Jade statues to jewelry. It was a bit of a culture shock as it was the total opposite of the laid back flea and indie markets that I’m accustomed to. Just glancing at a stall would send the vendor into a fast and loud sales pitch. This often resulted in them leaving the booth to follow us down the aisle, speaking in bits of English with some Chinese thrown in. It was a trip. The owl above came from a very sweet young guy who just wanted to talk to us about our iphone apps.

Yes, I carried an empty beer bottle all the way back from Hong Kong. It was from a fun night spent eating and drinking at a Japanese restaurant. I loved this beer and thought the label was fantastic. Rather than taking a photo that would most likely get lost in the shuffle, I grabbed one of the bottles (yes, there was more than one on the table) on my way out. I looked it up and was happy to find that it’s available at several bars in NYC as well as a couple of markets not too far from my home. Score.


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Back in New York after an amazing 2 week trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong. It was a bit of a sensory overload, but in a good way.  I met a bunch of great people, ate all sorts of tasty and crazy things and explored a part of the world that looks and feels so different than mine. Also, I have never sweat so much in my life. Not a trip that I will soon forget. I’ve shared some photos here.

I’m slowly reacquainting myself with this timezone and hope to be back on a normal schedule soon.

Dear 3:00 am- Hope we don’t meet again tonight.
Love, Kim.

All orders that were placed while I was gone shipped out on Monday, though making my way through all my email is taking a bit longer. If you’re waiting for a response, don’t worry- I haven’t forgotten about you!

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1. The long-awaited return of local strawberries. 2. Dot, dot, dot,….BISQUE!
3. Yet another house project. 4. Maniacal yet joyful outburst attributed to aforementioned house project.

Happy Monday everyone.


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Friday night at Tom Colicchio’s Craft restaurant. There’s a very good reason why he sits at judge’s table.

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