Saturday, October 31, 2015

Giving


Holiday rush, hello.
For most of you the holiday vibe kicks in about mid December. For me it does in September the latest.

As a child I loved Christmas movies with Santa, his family and little elves working the whole year round, preparing gifts and ornaments to be delivered and used for just one night. An entire year's work for one single night, and then boom... it's over. I found that to be wonderful.  I still do.

And today I have somewhat become sort of an elf myself. Those working in similar fields know very well what I mean, and they also know that to build up an inventory to successfully survive the holiday rush, one must begin early.

It seems that with each passing year people are more and more fed up with the pressure of buying presents, which had become some sort of ever extending trend to surpass expectations with bigger and better gifts. They are fed up with it. Yet it continues to become even trendier. So I hear...
I am one of those lucky ones, who get to see the world (or at least part of it) from a different angle. And I thank my dearest customers for showing it to me. In my experience people care. They care about thoughtful gifts, they care about community, about family, and about spending time together to make the holidays truly worthwhile. I am often contacted months in advance to create a custom gift for a loved one, something that would truly brighten that person Christmas eve. To me, as a person, these are the most beautiful gifts... and to me as a maker, these are the most meaningful moments, as I can be part of a truly memorable momentum in two people's life, through the gift that my heart and my hands have worked on together.

But please remember, that while material gifts can in fact be incredibly meaningful if you are dedicated enough to spend a bit of time and energy to finding that one special something for the one you love, I want you to remember, that Christmas is really about something else. Giving gift is just one way to show your appreciation and love towards your friends and your family, but you can express that in so many other ways. So don't restrict it merely to presents. Giving is a behavior, it is not a physical action. I know that all of you have so many gifts to give from within your hearts...so give love, give kindness, give appreciation, give a shoulder to cry on, give a helping hand, give a smile...give grace. And try to remember to practice all of these in the months coming up to Christmas. I guarantee that this will make that one night all the more special...

Friday, October 30, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Romania

(forest of Gheorghieni, Transylvania)

I've traveled around in the world quite a bit...And not just traveled, but lived elsewhere as well.
And the first thing people I met seemed to be interested in was were I am from. I've heard it all from lame jokes about Dracula, to people stepping back because surely I must be a vampire. I've been judged because some Romanian has raped a girl in Italy, and because some other has robbed someone they knew, I have not been accepted into a job after a very successful job interview in London, because when it came to where I was from she just thanked me for participating and she said she'd call me if anything came up... and I could go on. I remember eating together with some middle aged Germans in one of Europe's most peaceful places, randomly talking about everything for about an hour. It was clear they were Germans. It is never clear what I am. So they asked. When I disclosed it even their facial expressions had changed. The rest of the week they pretended not to know me at all. And if this had been the very first time something like this had happened to me, I probably would have cried over it. But I just smiled. Over the years I learned to accept that this is all not my problem. It is theirs to solve.

I am not Romanian (not that there is anything wrong with that, but it is a fact). I am Hungarian. And no, nothing made me move here. I was born here. And my parents were also born here. And my grandparents and my great grandparents and great-great grandparents as well... you get the idea. And if this puzzles anyone, they should look up the chapter in their history book that talks about the Peace Treaties after World War II. As a child, in Romania I was often bullied for being Hungarian, and when I spent holidays in Hungary, I was often bullied for being Romanian.  I didn't seem to understand why one version was better than the other.  I never really knew where I belonged and I was under the impression that I had to. Until one day I realized that I don't belong anywhere, never have, never will. It was just society that expected that from me. So today I belong everywhere and nowhere in the same time.

I was fortunate enough to be born in a beautiful land, called Transylvania. As a child when fairy tales were read to you, you most likely imagined those stories to be set in this area, and you're not even aware of it. I have amazing people (both Romanian and Hungarian, what do you know...) as friends and I met some of the wisest human beings up in high mountains leading lives that may seem savage and extremely poor to most of you out there. They love life. And live it more meaningfully than most of us. To them, having just what they need is not poverty. It is simplicity and trusting in God's providence.

Nature is untainted and intemperate. People are friendly and open, and most will give their last piece of bread to their guests. Villages are calm, where time seems to have forgotten its natural habit of passing.

And sure there are hideous parts as well, and crowded cities with angry people and bad infrastructure. Communism had dug its claws deep into walls and the earth, but most of all it left marks in the souls of the people that even after all this time shapes and molds their lives despite their will to fight against the scars.

I decided to write this post after stumbling upon this really expressive photo article about why you shouldn't visit Romania. It reflects the issue so perfectly. The usual judgments of those who have never been to the country, but they seem to know everything there is to know about it from movies, news stations, newspaper articles and from their own limited mind with creativity directed into a negative path.

I am an artist living a decent life, earning a decent income, striving to be the best version of myself, surrounded by wonderful friends and a great family, all of us living together in Romania. So it is possible to grow up and even make it in life! And I find it to be incredibly wonderful!
But hey, what do I know? After all, I am just a Romanian.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Studio makeover and deep cleaning


I had a custom shelving made about a month ago, so with this occasion I decided to put down my tools and do a bit of cleaning and organizing... then from just a little bit I went on to a thorough makeover, which was absolutely necessary before the holiday work rush, plus a great deal of other projects and collaborations. I knew I would not have time for it later this year.

So while Etta James was gloriously playing in the background I swiped everything off the shelves and tables and went through the essentials and scraps, got rid of the clutter and all the things that I no longer need. And I finally ended up with a nice clear work surface and clutter free shelves. Oh, I feel renewed. And M feels relentlessly sleepy. We make a good team him and I.



Sunday, October 25, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

The visitor

The sun had winked at me from well above the lake close to my apartment when I opened my eyes this morning. I quickly got my act together and headed out to the studio to get as much done as I possibly could... I find these kinds of days so energizing.

My fingers were frozen to the stirring wheel, and still I was blinded by the powerful shine of the autumn sun reigning gracefully over the clear blue sky. The woods have changed into a more colorful attire, each to its own favorite hue of warm yellow, ocher, rust and almond brown. On days like these it is so easy to be grateful for being alive!



My neighbors had not yet arrived to their workshops, so all the furballs were there to greet me in the hope of finally being fed. I took some milk to my carpenter friend's cats (who runs the workshop next to my studio), to keep them busy while I looked for leftovers to feed them. I finally managed to mix up some food for them, and when I returned, all five of them were waiting with one pot still full of milk, having a corpse of a half chewed, skinless mouse tossed over the brim. Now, you have to understand, I am not an urban princess, convinced of the fact that milk originally comes from a box that grows on supermarket shelves, but I still find it hard to accept that cats are carnivores and they have the habit of leaving their pray lying around for everyone to grab a bite should they have such cravings.

So that was done, but the image kind of stuck to my inner eye, and I thought to myself, I like mice a lot better when they are alive. I came back inside, lit the fire place up, visualizing everything I intended to do today just to get a bit organized, and I turned to change into my work clothes. As I stepped into my right boot, with the sole of my foot I could feel like there was something in there. The quick image of  having a mouse in there rushed through my mind, but I smiled diverted of the silly nature of that thought and shook the shoe to reveal whatever toy Mazsola -I figured, because what else could it be- tossed in there over the night? Nothing appeared, so I had put my foot into the boot again, but there was still an obstacle around my toes, so feeling quite annoyed, the very brave Erika had firmly introduced her left hand to take out the damn toy. The very next split second the boot crashed against the wall and a deep, long scream seemed to have filled the room. When the the boot landed on the floor and the scream (which apparently emerged from my lounges so naturally) faded, I stood there staring at the fallen boot... I started laughing. And I laughed, shivered, then laughed some more.

I suppose we really ought to be careful what we wish for, because we might encounter just that! A moment earlier I thought I preferred a living mouse instead of the corpse... perhaps I should have defined that I sure as hell did not cherish the idea of it renting out my boots.



Thursday, October 22, 2015

Two for Thusday



Ever since I came home from my weekend yoga getaway I seem to have entered into some sort of insomnia-phase. And mornings are just so slow in Jasmin Blanc studio, the air is calm, seasoned with peppermint essential oil to keep me focused.
Coffee is flowing in my veins.
Life on the outside seems simple, on the inside, however...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tableware





Growing up I used to eat alone most of the time, and I dreaded it. I saw no point in eating, it stole precious time from, well, the cool things, like playing, and it seemed dauntingly boring. For this reason I didn't practice it often, leading to become a tall, skinny, unhealthy adolescent with a serious lack of self esteem.

Due to this reason I grew to value a tasty meal shared with great people immeasurably. Hence my love and appreciation for tableware that serves such harmonious gatherings. I grew to adore preparing meals and sharing them with family and friends, and I absolutely love to design and handcraft the wares necessary for this purpose. So the main reason I make tableware is to inspire you to prepare home cooked meals seasoned with love and care, and share them with those dearest to your heart as often as you possibly can.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Weekend retreat


The lands that raised me.
As a child I used to wander the valley of the Arieş with family and friends for short weekend getaways... but I have not been back to this region for many, many years.


(sorry about the crappy quality phone shot; I never know where to look at these things)

We go way back with this beautiful soul.
We met in kindergarten and have been friends ever since. It's true, there was a time when life drew us apart, but friendships encrypted in our hearts and souls can never be erased, they are the kind that are there to stay.
So when she asked me if I would be interested to accompany her on a weekend yoga retreat, I immediately said yes. It was a very intense period, filled with long meditations and intense yoga sessions. The nature around is so breathtakingly beautiful (well, such is the whole of Transylvania, if I do say so myself), that it calms you just by looking at it, breathing in the fresh, unpolluted autumn air. Oh how dear autumn is to me, I can hardly find words to express it. Especially October. There is something so magical about this month... There is so much polarity in it.


(we tried taking a proper photo, but Buck was not too keen on the idea) 

I met many wonderful human beings over the weekend (and needless to say, I made furry friends as well, as I always do), having been inspired by their goodness of heart, and by their positive and negative sides alike. The blond babe and I, we were born on the very same day, merely a few hours apart, so we share many of the same habits, likes, dos and don'ts. And we both find joy in silence, and observing others patiently, imagining their lives, reading between their lines and finding the truth behind the person they are aiming to portray in the attempt of visualizing the person that deep down in their hearts they wish to be. This weekend was incredibly interesting to the silent observer in me and at times it was nice to share my thoughts with someone who was secretly doing the same thing.

I love these hay stacks.
They remind me of my grandfather. I was merely a couple years old, and whenever I saw one of these, my parents later told me, I used to point to them, smile and repeat "tata", which translates as granddaddy from Hungarian. He was my hero. A simple man, leading a very simple life, treated the land with immeasurable respect and love and had put up gracefully with a very draining woman as a wife.

I love this land with its picturesque mountains, deep rivers and calm valleys, where the calculated mess we call civilization seems to have delayed its entry, where nature is still wild and free. It grounds me and frees me in the very same time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Perfectly Imperfect - shapeless femininity


I am really looking forward to a bright sunny morning, to shoot these dishes and add them to the shop. In the meantime I just quietly hide away in my cinnamon scented studio, sipping hot tea, laying low and let my hands lead the way. My head is not trustworthy lately. Whenever I find myself confused about some aspect of my life that I cannot seem to put into place, I just turn my thoughts off and let my emotions guide my creative process. I design my world into my pieces, sometimes it offers refuge, at other times it offers solutions, but either way it represents a safe ground for me to stand on. I love what I do, and I love that it allows me to be myself at all times.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cluj Design Days



Open 8-11th October from 11 am to 8pm, at Casa Tiff, Cluj Napoca. Among many, you can also take a peek at a generous composition of my "Perfectly Imperfect [shapeless femininity]" line. Don't miss out!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday

This calm tune is on repeat in my heart. 
As the warmth of the fall sunshine erases from my mind what is unnecessary.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Where I have once found the road to my heart...


I arrived back a little less than a week ago, but my heart still wanders back time and time again. Taize is one of those places that grows close to your heart whether you want it or not, whether you're open or ready for it or you aren't, it still creeps into your veins.

I've been there many, many times, but I wasn't ready. Not this time. It is easier  not to face our insecurities (or even securities for that matter). But I went, nonetheless. I went to meet a wonderful soul again, who came all the way from Kenya, there was no way I could run and hide from this magical encounter just because I am not brave to face other parts of my life. She is my friend, my sister and my inspiration...


Of all the times I've left this magical place, I always wondered how I could go away without leaving it behind; I wanted to take it with me, truly keep it in a capsule and take it out when I needed some positive energy.
I haven't found a way for that...until now.

I did not leave with a sad heart. Restless, sure. But not sad. Taize stirred up a whirlwind of emotions, forced me to face my heart again and showed me that there is always hope. However, I never really managed to bring the calm I encounter there automatically home with me, until now. But in fact, it is quite easy to keep a direction, when everything and everyone align the same intention, the way it happens in Taize. Why would we not be able to keep to this intention, just because it is more difficult?

When I arrived to Paris on Sunday (where my flight was from the next day) my first face to face encounter with a human being was a drunk homeless person in the metro station shouting "fuck you" repeatedly to my face because I didn't understand what he was telling me. I smiled. And realized that this is the world I like to live in. A world which poses challenges and hardships, a world which offers solutions and hopes, a world which makes me open my eyes and faces me with whatever is necessary to move forward. I love my life, regardless of the circumstance, and in order to be happy and keep my calm a protective bubble around me, where everything fits together is unnecessary.

I had a very inspiring encounter on the plane. The man I met told me a story when I asked his opinion about people's capability to step out of a decision they made in the name of doing good? He told me this.
"A very fast train is going on the tracks. Suddenly a cow appears across the tracks and in the fraction of a second he has to make a decision for the right action. Either he runs the cow over and kills it, or he pulls the break and risks crashing the whole train off of the tracks, having everyone die on it. So in the very last split second he decides to run the cow over, but the cow moved."

The cow moved and the train still hit it.
Hanging on to a decision we made long ago leads to missing the real point of our journey in life and keeps us from fulfilling the true purpose of our souls. Holding on to past decisions which no longer benefit the purpose and the intention we had when we brought it in the first place is holding us back from being happy and doing good.


(photo credit to my lovely friend,Sina, who saw through my poker face, and discovered my heart)

God is love. 
I trust in that.