Saturday, July 31, 2010

Anniversary Art

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

My husband and I will be married for 3 years August 13. We decided on our amazing honeymoon in Alaska that we would take a trip somewhere each year to celebrate our anniversary. We also decided on the honeymoon to buy a piece of art each anniversary and skip the gift giving between us. It seemed like a great way to create some memories and have something to remember them with.

While in Alaska on the honeymoon we picked up a set of small plates from a nice pair of brothers, Leif and Erik Sivertsen, who run Bigfoot Pottery in Ketchikan. The set of 4
blue plates have designs of mountains and rivers on them. Using them reminds us of walking through town, watching salmon swim upstream and leap over waterfalls, and the generosity of the Sivertsen men, who gave me a brush they made with beaver fur after we discussed and compared our own pottery styles.

While in Anchorage we stopped at the Native Heritage Center and picked up a print by Israel Shotridge, a member of the Tongass Tribe.

The print is of lovebirds, perfect for a newly wed couple. I've always loved the style of traditional Northwest Coast designs so it was wonderful to bring home a piece that would remind us of the amazing works we saw throughout our 2 week trip.

Our first anniversary trip took us to Cape Cod where we proceeded to load up on pottery. Our first purchase was a plate by Diane Heart. The small creamy plate stood out in her Brewster studio.

Next was an amazing plate by Steven Kemp of Orleans. Steven and his son run Kemp Pottery and their gallery is filled with amazing works. The colors of this plate really drew in my husband and I, with those luscious blues and red.

Our last pottery purchase on our Cape Cod trip was at the studio of Denny Howard in Sagamore on our way back home. During our trip we hopped along studio to studio, following the Cape Cod Potters brochure.
When I read the description of Denny's work I knew I'd find something to love. We ended up spending close to an hour or so in his small gallery space trying to decide what pieces to get we finally landed on a carbon-trap shino vase and a celadon box with a lid. Our numerous purchases remind us of the many places we went and people we met during our trip not far from home.

Our second anniversary trip had us on the road driving up to Niagara Falls and hitting some Phish shows as well, our favorite band that we can't get enough of. We saw a show on our anniversary night and bought our anniversary art piece that day in the parking lot of the show. We had seen him earlier in the day selling his prints and liked them but had no cash on us. When the show ended we hustled out to try to find him since we hit up the ATM. We found him and grabbed two prints, one of Phish's bassist, Mike Gordon,
and another of the guitarist, Trey Anastasio. We never caught the artists name or where he was from but we desperately hope to see him again at another show so we can complete a set of the band by grabbing a print of the
keyboardist and the drummer, Page McConnell and John Fishman. It's so nice to have some great art representing a great band we saw so many times last summer.

We are weeks away from our 3rd anniversary and this year our trip is even more scattered than last years. We will be traveling down I-80 for about 2 weeks, stopping in Cleveland for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Great Lakes Brewery, Chicago for some deep dish pizza, Cheyenne, Wyoming to visit my family, Noblesville, IN for another anniversary night Phish show, and anywhere else that sounds interesting. Of course we are hoping to find some wonderful and unique pieces during our travels so please let me know if there's a shop worth stopping at! I'll keep you posted on our anniversary art purchases when we get back!


  1. What a wonderful tradition! I have purchased a piece of art on my birthday for the past 10 years, and I love the idea of doing that for anniversaries too! Looking forward to seeing what you bring home this year.

  2. what a cool tradition and... happy anniversary ... have fun!


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