Both of my parents are professional artists, and my grandparents all were involved in the various arts. When I was little, they were attending the California College of Arts and Crafts, so my earliest years were spent around some of the Bay Area’s foremost artists and artisans.
I never was given any of the children’s art kits. I just copied my parents and used their things, so creating art and crafting was just a normal part of life. Kind of like little kids following their parents around in the kitchen and climbing on a chair to stir the gravy. Making things was as normal as cooking dinner. Just something we did.
Although my first career was in journalism, and I have a second career as an educator, I never stopped making things, crafting and creating art. It’s been a continuous thread through my life.
Growing up, I hung out at Daddy’s workshop and swept up, sorted scrap, that kind of thing. Then, as an adult, I started apprenticing with him. When Manu and I met, he also started apprenticing with Daddy. Se we are the second generation to be making the Malama Torches™.
There is really no single thing I most enjoy about my craft. Well, maybe when I meet someone who bought something years ago who still loves it. It’s a wonderful feeling that something you created has given someone else joy. But among the things I love: The interplay of colors as the torch heats the metal. Seeing something as cold and inorganic as a piece of steel become warm and organic in form.
But on the other hand, I am actually a huge fan of the brutalist movement in art and architecture. So I love to create things that honor the intrinsic honesty of the material. In my lighting, rather than try and hide the wiring, sometimes I’ll use it as a design element.
I really love everything about my craft. From initial design to construction, to final product, to meeting someone 20 years later who says, “Oh, I still use the lamp I bought from you!” or, “My daughter has the piece now!” I’ve even had people tell me about pieces they have that my father made. That’s a really nice feeling, to have such a sense of history.