“One has to learn not to take oneself too seriously, not to overly respect one’s designs. Whatever you aim at and whatever you produce, there are always many more possibilities”
Eva Zeisel ~ 1906-2011
In the past four years my life has changed dramatically. I sold my home, left my teaching position, and set out with my husband on a journey through China and Nepal. This decision to leave our known lives behind was catalyzed by many different occurrences, and in order to explain who I am, I will tell you a short story.
After graduating from the Rhode Island School of design in in 1986, I met a man who would eventually become my husband, Stephan Powers. He also attended RISD, and together we founded an artisan tile company called Trikeenan Tileworks. The name evolved from our two small children, Trina and Keenan. A few years later we had another daughter, Siena, which provided us with the color for our logo. The company grew over time to include 50+ employees, two factories, a gallery showroom, and many clients around the world. For the next 25 years Trikeenan was not only our profession but an extension of our family. We designed residential homes, community spaces, hotels and restaurants, as well as many corporate projects for clients like Wholefoods, Starbucks, Mercy Hospital, and Tommy Hilfiger.
In 2011 the company was taken over by a corporation that my husband and I were not in favor of. Unfortunately, due of the financial crisis in 2008, we did not have the resources to fight this battle, and so we decided to start over again! This was not an easy transition, but it was an opportunity to discover our lives anew.
At this time the Monadnock Waldorf school, which our children had attended, was opening a high school and I was excited to help them develop their art department. I worked with the school for a little over four years, teaching and developing the art curriculum.
However, it was at this time that the seeds of a larger change started to grow. By this time all of our children had left home, and there was no particular reason for us to remain. In fact, due to a comical incident in Logan airport, we were bumped off a flight and given two free tickets to anywhere in the world.
So, with nothing left for us in Keene, NH, we quit our jobs, packed up our things (which was no small task) and ‘bought’ two tickets to Shanghai. First we went to a city called Jingdezhen, near Shanghai in the Jianxi province, and lived there on and off for 5 months. Jingdezhen is a city of ceramics, where porcelain was invented. For the past 2000 years they have been on the forefront of ceramic production and design, and is the reason why China is called “China” by the western world. With a background in tile production we were fascinated by this city. We lived and worked in a factory where we could explore some of our own designs, as well as learn new methods.
This trip served a dual purpose. Due to my connection with the Waldorf community I had been invited to help a number of relatively new Waldorf high schools in China, Nepal, and India. My role was to teach, mentor, and develop their art departments, a project which I very much enjoyed.
After a year of traveling, my husband and I returned to the states. Last fall however, I was offered a position in Nepal working with a group of buddhist monks who hope to develop a teacher’s training graduate school. I was invited to teach the experiential art section of this course, and I have been learning as well as teaching with them for the past six months.