Sunday, September 24, 2017

Second Half of the Eulogy

My dad asked me to speak about the influence my mom has had upon my life.

She gave me the Gift of Creativity:
In our home, my mom was a creative force. She had so many talents. She sewed, played the piano, created mosaics, painted, and designed. For years, she took painting classes. On many afternoons, when my brother and I returned home from school, we would smell oil paint, and she would be in the kitchen. The floor was always covered in plastic, and her easel was faced to catch the light from the kitchen window. She was grouchy when she painted. But, now I understand. I'm a working ceramic artist. I don't know how she could ever concentrate with us in the house. I have to work in a quiet studio, with no interruptions. She always encouraged us to make and do. And, there were always materials on hand, so that we could create.

She gave me the Gift of Willfulness:
My dad always said that my mom was Vic Jones' daughter, because of her stubborn streak. I, too, am very stubborn. But, with my mom, I like to think of her having great inner strength. She was diagnosed with leukemia when I was 23 years old. I remember the doctors telling our family that she had five to eight years to live. Her willfulness is the reason that she was able to see her grandchildren get married, and to have their own children. I think that all of us have her DNA in this regard. We give our best and we try our hardest.

She gave me the Gift of Devotion:
My mother prayed nightly. I always remember seeing her on her knees by the side of her bed, when I was a little girl, and throughout my teenage years. She was always a good example of having a personal relationship with her Savior. And, her prayers were full of gratitude for the many blessings that she had been given.

She gave me the Gift of a Sweet Tooth:
My mom loved candy, desserts, and sweets. There were always covered candy dishes throughout the house. When she was in the hospital and the care home, though her appetite flagged, she would never miss dessert. I loved helping her fill out her menu requests, because she always picked the dessert choice so carefully and deliberately. At Christmas, she made the best candy cane cookies, English toffee, and cinnamon marshmallows.

She gave me the Gift of Travel:
My mom loved to travel. She visited many countries in Europe and Asia. And, she always enjoyed shopping abroad. I think that it secretly gave her great pleasure to explore other places and to see new sights, as a farm girl from Nephi, Utah. When, I was cleaning out my childhood bedroom last Spring, I found all of her travel receipts from her trips, since I had moved out of my bedroom after college. I think that the receipts and itineraries were a way for her to relive and savor her experiences. I, too, love to travel. Having a deep interest in art history makes every place interesting. During my childhood, we had a thick coffee table book of art work from the Vatican. I remember seeing so many paintings and sculptures from that book when I visited the Vatican in person.

She gave me the Gift of Teaching:
My mom was a teacher and a learner. The weekend before she passed away, she asked me if I still enjoyed teaching. She stated that teaching was a job which was satisfying, because you knew that you were benefitting others, and changing lives. I am grateful that I switched my career from Graphic Design and Merchandising Design, to working with children. It has made my life richer and more meaningful.

She gave me the Gift of Independence:
My mom's parenting style was very loose, and casual. Although she was not an animal lover, she allowed my brother and I to have numerous fish tanks. I remember when my brother built a pen, and we came home to find that she had placed a small white bunny in the cage. We rode our bikes everywhere, and did things on our own. We all learned to make mistakes and solve problems on our own. Sometimes this was difficult, and I felt like I needed more support. But, as an adult, I look at all of us, and I see that we are good people. We don't give up, we keep on going, even when life is tough. She gave us that, and I'm grateful.

I love my mom, and was able to tell her so. The night before she passed at home, I held her hand, and stroked her hair. She was non-responsive, focusing all of her energy on trying to breathe. When I kissed her forehead, and said, "I love you so much, mom," she opened her eyes briefly, and mouthed "I love you so much, goodbye." Just this small gesture was such a sweet gift to me.

Friday, September 22, 2017


Barbara Louise Jones Hansen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on March 27, 1929. Barbara was the fifth child, between three girls, a brother who died of pneumonia at six months, and a younger sister and three brothers. At age five, Barbara's family moved to Nephi, Utah. Her father, a student at the University of Utah, had to leave school, and lost his job. The Great Depression changed the fate of the Jones family. Her father worked for his parents, doing odd jobs and attending BYU whenever possible. Barbara had a carefree and happy childhood. The Jones children filled their days with many diversions: mudpies and clay figures on the ditch bank, huge cardboard box playhouses, fishponds in the backyard, games in the nearby park, and picnics in the canyon. 

During WWII, Barbara helped to harvest the crops, because the men of the town had gone off to war. Later, she worked at the U-Wanna Drive-In. And, had many fond memories of her employment there.

Barbara wasn't sure that she wanted to apply for college, but realized that her parents wished her to attend, since their college dreams had been unfulfilled. Barbara's sisters set a good example in this regard. Once she started at Utah State University, she loved it. After graduating, she taught at Tooele High School for two years. Barbara left teaching to become a stewardess for United Air Lines in San Francisco. 

Barbara met Larry Hansen one month, became engaged the next, and married the next. Larry had just returned from four years in the Air Force in Europe. Initially, they met on a blind date, arranged by Clair Anderson, Barbara's new brother-in-law, and Larry's best friend. Larry would drive to Salt Lake City from Logan, and meet Barbara aboard her Chicago bound planes. In all, they had seven dates. Barbara's career as a stewardess ended with her marriage to Larry, because stewardesses were required to be single. After her marriage, Barbara taught at Utah State University, and enjoyed it very much.

Barbara and Larry have felt much pride in their four children: Jana, Liz, Brad, and Karen. And, in their spouses: Darryl, John, and Kristina. Barbara was well-loved by her eight grandchildren. And, she was able to spend time with four of her great grandchildren at family gatherings.

One of the greatest joys in Barbara's life was travel. She made many trips around the globe with Larry. Her bookcases were filled with travel books, and souvenirs.  Gardening was also a passion. She was very knowledgeable about plants and trees. And, her house was always well-decorated for seasons and holidays. Barbara also loved to oil paint, and to bake. Each visit, she would send her children home with cakes, cookies, and bread.

Barbara was a strong woman. During her life, she had many trials with her health: breast cancer, leukemia, loss of eyesight, Guillian Barre Syndrome, and a broken hip. It seemed like each obstacle just made her more determined. Watching her learn how to walk again four years ago, and how to use her hands again, was inspirational. Barbara rarely complained, and showed much gratitude towards her various doctors, nurses, and attendants. 

Barbara lived a full life, surrounded by a loving family. She will be greatly missed.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Open Studios Work Preview Part Two

Meatloaf School Lunch

These school lunches are ceramic food, attached to plastic lunch trays. They will be fitted with chain on the back, so that they are wall pieces. The plates of food also are meant for hanging on a wall. I have spent the last 20 years of my life observing school lunches, and watching students eat. At my first school, there was actually a staffed cafeteria, where food would be created and warmed up. Yes, there were lunch ladies wearing hairnets. It was kind of retro.

Wall Plates

School Breakfast

Egg Salad Sandwich School Lunch

Chicken Tenders/Corndog School Lunch

Chicken Nuggets School Lunch

Fairy for Adult Teeth

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Open Studios Work Preview Part One

I'm almost ready for Open Studios this year. There are still a few odds and ends to put together.
This seems like a more sculptural year, with very little functional ware. That's the direction that I have been wanting to go for a long time. It's a slow drift...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Grand Process

We rolled out some flat slabs...
Then we attached our features by slipping and scoring...
Underglazing an assortment of skin tones...
And, adding some hair color...
And, a tiny hint of lip and eye color...
After some clear glaze, they're ready to show off outside...
Wire hangers will be applied in a few weeks...