Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Our Ceramics Program: Part I


I've been whining about the vase selection in NYC for nearly a decade. Not that I don't cherish my relationships with Cecelia, Pasam and Maria at Jamail Garden Vase Supply on 28th Street - but not enough to keep me from cursing the shelves in that place every time I have an event. We've dabbled with having things custom made but it's never caught on….until I met Julianne from Object & Totem at a holiday sale this past christmas. A glass of wine in hand, I found myself entranced by her work, and while fondling a female-form-inspired vase, began chatting Julianne up. She was looking for a new studio. And I had just rented the new saipua cave -- a giant space that quadruples our working space…


That was the moment I began to dream about a ceramic studio inside SAIPUA... where there could be an ongoing conversation between seasonal flowers and the sort of vessels best suited to arrange them in…I couldn't get Julianne's work off my mind and wrote to her a few days later…


The relationship between the vase and the flowers is paramount to designing a composition -- I can't stress this enough. The way flowers fall and intermingle has everything to do with the depth of the vessel the size of its opening. When we teach floral design we always remind students that the flowers need to mimic the shape of the vase -- a low wide compote receives flowers that move low; sprawling horizontally across the top of the vessel. A tall thin cylinder is suitable for a pair of anthurium or a single branch of flowering quince…


A vase for winter anemones should be quite different from one intended for an armload of our farm's dahlias and apple branches this September. The idea of this cross pollination of mediums is the core of what SAIPUA aims to be in the future…an epicenter for artists and craftspeople to make work inspired by nature and each other. I get chills thinking about this vision … and the more time I spend with Julianne or with her work, the more excited I am to have this opportunity to collaborate. 



Julianne is the first of what is intended to be a rotating ceramic artist residency program. A new ceramists every year, making four seasons of custom vases. The idea is to catch a young ceramic artist right at the moment when they are not quite able to afford their own studio space…offering them a residency at Saipua for one year ... free use of the studio in exchange for creating our new Floral Delivery Program vases. Vases which could also be collectors items; encouraging our clients to order seasonally.



So pending any other major structural building issues ... (I won't bore you here///but I will write a chapter in my book about building owners and the NYC contractor racket) … Object and Totem will be completely moved in by May… she's already started -- pictured here is the first batch of spring vases.

That I met Julianne - a seasoned ceramicist with the experience to help us build out the best possible working ceramic studio - when I did is serendipitous timing. We are very lucky. We will aim to keep her inspired and happy here.  And further,  I am open to the idea that we may not want her to leave when her year is up. In which case, similar to so many other aspects of our business, we will rewrite the rules.

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UP NEXT in Part II: I will tell you all about our new delivery program; how it aims to solve all the problems with seasonal floral deliveries, fund some major SAIPUA educational projects and bring more of the best local flowers and ceramics to people who are needing a little beauty in their lives.


5 comments:

LPC said...

This all feels like something nigh-on revolutionary.

stevielaine said...

I love this! Two of my favorite things!

lydia @ lupinelydia said...

this. is. phenomenal! srsly I think my heart skipped a beat. just sounds like the most wonderful creative center!

Wendy said...

Absolutely brilliant idea. I am trying to convince my favourite potter to make some beautiful orchid pots as all I can find are soooo ugly!! She doesn't take requests, but might relent from harassment. Vases and pots are so important and having them made to order, is well, just perfect. Good luck with your venture. I really enjoyed reading your farm blog, love growing things, especially unusual cut flowers. My latest fav is Centaurea "Aloha Rose", and the bees go nuts for it!
Love your whole site, and you are a great writer!!

Melissa Monk said...

This is legitimately such a cool idea. I am loving reading about all of the changes you are making in your business these days. Totally inspiring stuff.