Meet LYMB's Potter: An Interview with Grandma!

At Love Your Mother Boutique, we take pride in having the whole family in on the fun. We are excited to be able to feature our potter extraordinaire and endearing grandma, G-Ma. Having travelled the world and experiencing some pretty amazing moments in history, grandma found herself exploring the intricate world of pottery with her friends, family, and doting husband. Throughout the years she has refined her clay skills, and her sense of humour, so as to make her an exceptional addition to the Love Your Mother tribe.


As a special feature, grandma was kind enough to sit in on a fun and informative online interview with founder, CEO, and granddaughter, Sarah, where we dive into everything from pottery glaze to her thoughts about social media. 

Love Your Mother Boutique

Sarah:

Okay, so Grandma, my first question for you is if you have any nicknames?


Grandma:

Well, sometimes I was called Susie. And some still call me Susie. But otherwise, I don't know. Is mom a nickname?


Sarah:

What do I call you? 


Grandma:

You call me G-Ma! 


Sarah:

Okay grandma, where were you born?


Grandma:

I was born in a hospital in Oakland, California but my home was always in Berkeley. There was no available hospital in Berkeley, I guess, at that time back in 1934. So, I was born in Oakland, and spent a few days there, but not too many.


Sarah:

So, how did you meet Grandpa?


Grandma:

Your grandfather and I met at the entrance to the reserved book room in the University of California library. I was going in and he was coming out. I had been talking to one of my TA friends at the door and he just came out and joined the group - so then there were three. My other friend introduced me and that just was the way it went. We never looked back, well, I never looked back. I don’t know if he did. 


Sarah:

I don't think so, grandma. So, how did you get into pottery?


Grandma:

Well, we were in Cambridge, in England, where your grandfather was studying for his Ph.D. Another woman and I were friends so while the guys were going to their seminars we went to a pottery class at night in a local Secretary modern High School, which they were called at that time. The teacher was named stocky and it was for adults and I was just smitten. He showed me how to make a ‘thumb pot’, which I have somewhere around here, I've been looking for it. When he picked it up and shaped it a little bit he said, “You are a potter.” Nobody has ever paid me that kind of compliment before. So I never lost interest - I remained interested. I love the clay from the first touch. 


Sarah:

That's wonderful. So, what is the secret to being an amazing Potter?


Grandma:

Hard work. Failure. Pick yourself up and start again. Not necessarily immediately. Take a day off if you need to but don't quit. Don't quit because you can do it.


Sarah:

So grandma, how do you make the glazes?


Grandma:

Well, I have a large glaze shed, as you know, up in the country. It's a very messy business, glaze making and glazing. So, it's more or less outdoor for me. I have bags of chemicals, oxides, Flint, and that sort of thing. Originally, I must give credit to Philip Potters who invented, in some way, shape, or form, most of the glazes that I use. They wrote books and they published the recipes and were very generous. I combined the materials or choose a glaze based on what it contains and the appearance of it [in the recipes]. There was often a picture and I tried it, and it may or may not work, I may or may not be successful. 


Later on in life, your grandfather decided he would make the glazes because, although a historian, he was always interested in chemistry. That was wonderful because he loved doing the fine measuring and getting things right. Then, when we would test them, we could talk about together and decide how and if we wanted to alter or change them in some way. I would say it was fun; it was just pain fun.


Sarah:

So, who makes the glaze now?


Grandma:

Well, have you [daughter/Sarah’s Mom] been making them? 


Daughter/Sarah’s Mom:

Yes, but I only use the recipes that my dad created. Sometimes we tweak it a little bit but mainly it's following his recipes because he was so interested in understanding the way that the different materials would work together. He was very precise. So, when I replicate one of his recipes, I follow his notes - he took copious notes - and I try to be very careful when I'm doing it. And I always go back to the potter for her expertise and advice. 


Sarah:

So Grandma, what do you know about social media?


Grandma:

Are we on social media now? Would you call this [social media]? 


*Laughter*


Sarah:

No, not quite but we will be on social media once I post it. You’ll be a sensation.


Grandma:

Oh, okay. Well, I don't know what to think about it. I look at it. I never enter anything. I'm too nervous to put something up but I’ll tell you, on Facebook, I think for me in some instances, is that there might be a picture of something significant or interesting and the person who took the picture will then add a historical comment or a note about it which deepens my understanding and appreciation of the subject. 


Sarah:

Yeah, it's nice to stay connected to you too, especially during the pandemic. 


Grandma:

Oh, very much. Yes. Although I gotta say, I'm a shirker and I've been chastised for that. I’ve really got to get going and start posting because, I mean, I mainly just appreciate other people’s posts.


Sarah:

Okay grandma, so now I have some fun questions for you.


Grandma:

Oh, fun. Oh, that'd be good.


Sarah:

The first one is, did you get an allowance as a kid? And how much did you get? And what did you do with it?


Grandma:

Well, I think it would have probably started out as a nickel or a dime. I mean, that was back in the Depression and there wasn't much to buy either; five cents for an ice cream cone and I would have maybe bought an ice cream cone. Then it went up to a dime and a quarter. Then I started babysitting by then and I believe I was paid 25 cents an hour or something. The rest is history.


Sarah:

Grandma, what's your favourite city to visit?


Grandma:

Well, I lived in Berkeley, as I said, which is across the bay from San Francisco. So that's got to be my number one favourite city but I moved away before I had very many adult years in which to explore it. When I got married, at age 23, we went off so my second favourite city would be London. I love London and I've spent many years in the UK. I lived in London quite often.


Sarah:

Okay, if you could have dinner with your favourite movie character, who would it be and what would you order?


Grandma:

I used to love westerns and John Wayne was a lot younger then and he was kind of a hero - and still alive. Then there was a period when a man named Montgomery Clift emerged on screen and I think we all liked Montgomery Clift. I think it was during the war, was it? Yeah, I think so. So he was quite a favourite. 


Sarah:

So, what would you guys eat for dinner?


Grandma:

Oh, well, I confess I've always liked steak, although I usually have it in the form of hamburgers.


Sarah:

Okay, so Grandma, if you were on a desert island and you could only take three things. What would you take?


Grandma:

Well, it doesn't have a television. I have to keep in touch with larger worlds. Okay. Okay, I'll say I’d take some kind of device that would allow me to keep in touch with the wider world. And... and what other thing would I take? 


Well, I'd have to take something, I guess, like a fishing rod. I don't know if I can manage to live off of fishing. I'd take some work. I'd like to take sound in some way because, you know Sarah, what I'm finding is, as I get older, and especially during COVID, I'm afraid I'm losing my language. So it gives me a hint that if I'm ever relegated to a desert island, I want to take something that has sound. Whether that would be music or... 


Sarah:

Mom and I?


Grandma:

Or maybe an audiobook. Yeah. Oh, for sure. I love audiobooks. I would take more than one. Yes. And of course, how long am I going to be on the desert island? 


Sarah:

Well, you can only take three things. 


Grandma:

Oh, yeah, okay.


Sarah:

So Grandma, what is the best part of being part of Love Your Mother?


Grandma:

Say that again?


Sarah:

What's your favourite part about being part of Love Your Mother?


Grandma:

It's you, Sarah! I’ve got to say, I'm not going to lie, I love it. I love being connected with something new. Something we’ve sort of built, started, and you know... It's just wonderful.

 

A passionate, family-run business, Love Your Mother Boutique treasures the opportunity to highlight the people behind the products that aim to create a positive impact on our global environment. Choosing eco-friendly alternatives relies heavily on our ability to function as a community and support one another in all of our endeavours. We would like to thank grandma for taking the time to conduct this interview and for sharing not only her craft but her great personality to boot! 

1 commentaire

  • Two things. The interview brought back countless memories of happy times spent with my close friend and colleague, John, the sadly missing glaze maker, and his entire wonderful family. Two, the way the close family relationships continue into the third generation as seen in this interview of Susan – Susie ? – by her marvellous grand-daughter, Sarah, the CEO of loveyourmotherboutique.

    Michael Finlayson

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