The Humble Cutting Board
I bet you're thinking right now, "What in the world do cutting boards have to do with my handmade pottery?" Right? And my reply is, "Everything that matters." Read on and I'll explain.
For ages I have tossed around the idea of starting a blog, but until this morning (more precisely at 8:20 am) did it dawn on me that there is a really important message that I'd like to convey to you in the hopes that you'll understand why I make the work I do.
"What was she doing at 8:20 am you ask?" I was in my kitchen applying a coat of food grade, mineral oil to my wood cutting boards. Now this is a pretty recent occurrence for me never having the time while raising a family, working and trying to effectively run a household to attend to such mundane tasks, but I do treat my cutting boards occasionally these days to breathe new life into them. See, I want them to last through daily food preparation, and more importantly, through the rest of my life!
So I was standing at my kitchen island rubbing the oil into each of my six cutting boards. I made quick work of revitalizing the three relatively new bamboo boards I acquired during the pandemic. Like many of you, I was all about updating stuff around the house during the "stay at home order" and the bamboo cutting boards seemed like a good idea at the time.
I moved on to the oldest of my cutting boards, given to me by my paternal grandmother while still alive. This cutting board, she had explained to me, was her mother's (my great grandmother) and she had used it when preparing the chickens she so lovingly tended on her small farm. It got me thinking about the journey the cutting board with it's burn mark, knife marks, and indentation in the center of each side has taken over time.
I looked at the last two of my cutting boards, both large and awkward, that I used throughout my adult life for cutting watermelon and serving homemade pizza to my family so many times I have lost count. The first one is bamboo and I rescued it at an annual tag sale at the fairgrounds near where I lived at the time. The second, also holds great relevance to this story and how I perceive objects that matter in my life. My uncle, my father's brother, made the cutting board as a gift to my husband and me in 1985 for Christmas; the second year of our marriage. He was very proud of his creation; each strip of wood a bit different, cut to size, sanded and attached to the next. The ends finished off by a slightly wider piece of wood attached with 3 evenly spaced wooden pegs. I think of him each time I use it and usually make some comment about the time we received this gift from Uncle Paul and how it's been a staple in our home ever since.
This brings me to the all important relationship between the cutting boards and my pottery. I love going to my cabinet each time I'm ready to make a cup of tea and choosing which handmade mug feels right to accompany the flavor of tea, how I'm feeling at the moment, and how I will be enjoying it; whether it be working in my studio, rocking in my red rocker on the front porch, or enjoying watching the hummingbirds at my backyard feeder. Each cup is like sitting down with an old friend, catching up on what has been going on in our lives. I want you to feel that way each and every time you use a piece of my pottery! I want it to resonate with your aesthetic, but more importantly I want you to carry it through all those moments in your life that build up to your story. I want you to look back someday and reminisce with your partner or child about the origin of the piece and how it has made so many appearances in your daily rituals.
So you see, the humble cutting board has everything to do with my handmade pottery. Both are part of the bigger story that is my life and hopefully will be part of yours too.