My mom, Pepper, passed away in May of this year. My heart wells up when I see this in type, but I will persevere as I really want to share with you what is going on at my desk these days —and its significance to me.
In the 70s when I was in my teens, my mom had a thriving jewelry business. Our dining room table was filled with beads which were organized in type drawers that my dad had brought home: antique silver, old amber, African trade-beads, beads from all over the world. My mom had a knack for assembling combinations of shape, texture & colour. I loved hanging out with her at the table while she worked on her creations. For me it was intoxicating.
I can't remember why she had given up beading, but she continued to knit and needlepoint. She opened a shop called Complete, which sold vases, pillows, objects, fabrics, beautiful things for the home. And at some point, she managed an art gallery or two.
Whenever it came to the arts, or things creative in nature, I could count on my mom to have the answer and provide direction. It was she who knew exactly where to go when I got an intense desire to learn how to make books.
Wherever I was hanging out with my mom, or if I was picking her up at work, her friends addressed me as Bari of course, but always referred to me as Pepper's Daughter. Somewhere along the way as I began establishing myself as a bookbinder, we began to meet people in common circles, and not long after that, she became Bari's Mom. I really loved that — I remember us smiling at each other the first time someone phrased it that way.
As my 2013 Studio Sale approaches, my emotions are so mixed. I'm excited about my the sale, of course, but incredibly sad that my mom is not here to tell me all the things she wants to have for herself & her friends prior to the sale itself. This "ritual" used to drive me insane…and now I'm missing that more than ever. She was always at the ready when I needed her nimble fingers to help me assemble swatches, postage, whatever it was I was working on. She was thrilled to help & full of unconditional praise & support.
I consider my mom the largest influence on my creative life, the source of my appreciation for beautiful things. There were times when she was inspiring me, and times when I was inspiring her. It was our unspoken bond, this unspoken love that connected us.
This year's studio sale preparations are made bittersweet as I think back to last year at this time, when I began helping my mom with some of her jewelry projects. We also designed bracelets together for my sale, and it was hugely important to me that we shared the experience of selling her beautiful jewelry at my sale. It was a great feeling to have so many beautiful people interested and purchasing our collaborative pieces. And that renewed my intoxication.
My desk is in my dining room, my constant comfort zone. I frequently re-arrange the objects on it to display — even if only for my own enjoyment — what I'm working on and anything else that is currently inspiring me. Much of my creativity resides on my desk at the heart of my home.