on the wheel

When I moved back to California from the Caribbean in December, I attended my mom's open studio ceramics class for 4 months. It had been 10 years since I had a chance to work with clay.

Very much like the darkroom, I embraced those long hours in the studio where it would be impossible to be distracted by notifications, calls, or e-mails while in the creative process since my phone would be tucked away in the bottom of my bag, far away from me. My hands would be too muddy, and I loved it. This is therapy in the digital age.

While on the wheel, intensely watching the clay that my hands were molding, I would think about how I have my grandmother's hands. My palms are thick and wide, like a square. My grip is crazy strong.

My grandmother raised 7 children in Istanbul in the 50's and 60's. She carried groceries to her apartment on the 6th floor from the market. She folded paper into little bags for sunflower seeds to be sold on the curb. She cooked for her family of 9 everyday. Her work never ended, and her hands were strong till the day she passed away. Unable to walk unassisted in her last years, the strength in her hands never left her. When I arrived to the hospital the day before she passed away, she looked at me and took my hand and squeezed it hard, unable to speak.  I am so grateful to have these hands to remember my grandmother and honor her strength through my artwork.

Yours truly in the middle, clearly mesmerized by the work of this ceramicist. This was on a trip to Turkey in 1999 to visit Istanbul where my father grew up and also visit the village Burunkisla that my Armenian grandfather was from. This ceramic shop was in Nevsehir near Burunkisla.

Yours truly in the middle, clearly mesmerized by the work of this ceramicist. This was on a trip to Turkey in 1999 to visit Istanbul where my father grew up and also visit the village Burunkisla that my Armenian grandfather was from. This ceramic shop was in Nevsehir near Burunkisla.