Tuesday, September 13, 2011


BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA -  I can’t, in all honesty, think of a Carolyn that I don’t love. I mean that with all sincerity; they are all just wonderful. Let me tell you about my ‘Carolyn’ experience this weekend.

I speak annually to an amazing group of people. They are independent studio owners – their stores are the ones you see all over the world that encourage you to paint your own pottery pieces – and part of the Contemporary Ceramic Studios Association. (You can find a studio near you at ccsaonline.com.) Movie stars, celebrities and politicians have all jumped on the fun bandwagon to try this art form and love it. I myself am hesitant but paint nonetheless. If I could ever just learn to use more than one color….

Carolyn has heard me speak before, and she has been a passionate supporter of the auctions that happen to benefit breast cancer research. Carolyn decided to create a fun, amazingly creative and colorful glass piece for this year’s auction. It is perfect, in my non-professional artist opinion. It is just such a lovely piece, it was an honor to see it. It is an even bigger honor to be a part of the Foundation she chose to benefit. Carolyn was most recently a Regional Account Manager for iLoveToCreate and attended a Bisque Imports’ event. Studio owner, Julya Myers (Amazing Art Studio in Gaithersburg, Maryland) also attended. They were sitting together in a class and Carolyn asked if Julya would teach her / help her do the project since she had never worked with the medium before. Julya gladly obliged.

Sounds like a pretty ordinary story, doesn’t it? Here’s the catch; Carolyn passed away before she could finish her piece. It was the last piece she ever created, and she was never able to see it to completion. She had asked her friend, Chris Denison from Bisque Imports,  to pick up where she left off. (He is the resident glass guru.) To finish this piece and get it ready for auction. This auction, for this Foundation. 

Hearing this and knowing the backstory, I see it as both a wonderful tale and an amazing metaphor for everyone I meet. I attend events constantly, but the purpose behind them is not for fun, or for play. It is because, to put it bluntly, people are dying. This mission of mine is to do what I can to have less of that. I have a list of people I’ve lost, people I will no longer get to see and be with, and the list is getting longer. Many of them have done just what sweet Carolyn did; start something great, then hand it off like a baton in a race. Thank you, Carolyn, for doing this for our Foundation. For considering us worthy of your incredible efforts. Thank you, Chris, for picking up her baton. For allowing us to be good stewards of those amazingly important dollars. We are raising funds as if our lives depend on it. Because they do.


Susan Walton said...

What a heartwarming story. Loved your speech at the convention Heidi. Thank you for all that you do.

Cindy Donenfeld said...

Heidi, Carolyn will be very missed by the paint-your-own-pottery community.

The CCSA is full of many people that are mutually supportive and I am sure that Chris completed the project with respect and love.

And....having sat next to you in a painting class this year, you can't exactly say you can't paint anymore. You did a great job!

Cindy Donenfeld
Two Hands Studio
Karkur, Israel

Heidi said...

Dear Cindy,

The most rewarding part of this job is that I meet people like her- and you! I've connected with people around the world and I live sharing the message of hope. It's an honor and blessing to me to count the CCSA members are my friends.

Plus, now I know how to do spatter paint. Xoxo