Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother's Day

Today's blog is dedicated to my Mother and Mothers the world over. Where would we be without them? I adore my mom.

I owe so much to my mom. The care and feeding, the comforting and scolding, teaching right from wrong - not an easy job. When I was small, my parents friends used to say of my brother and I "if they both survive", which says a lot about the chaos the two of us created in the house. Thankfully, we both did survive and are great friends today. But getting through those formative years placed a huge burden on Mom, Dad and baby sister, Tina, who used to hide when we started up. We were Hurricane Katrina roaring through our home in San Jose.

Somehow, with all of that to deal with (it was a lot), my mom managed to make our clothes, knit our sweaters, even provide Tina's beloved Barbie dolls with the best wardrobe on the block and make jam. Tiny brocade dresses with mink collars. Smashing! Watching her at the sewing machine or sitting with a ball of yarn and needles, clicking away, was magic to me. That little piece of fabric turned into that dress, that yarn turned into a sweater. Absolute magic.

So, when I was old enough (about 8) Mom taught me how to make magic of my own. She taught me to knit (my first sweater being a jaunty orange sailor collar sweater for Tina's Skipper doll - one ply on pick up sticks), crochet, embroider and then bought me all those issues of "1,000 Great Christmas Ideas" at the local grocery check out. I pored over those magazines. I made ornaments of ribbon, styrofoam snowmen and pipe cleaner anythings.

Through my Mother's instruction and support, I learned the most valuable lesson of my life. I can do, I can make, I am not totally dependent on a store or anyone else for what I need. If I set my mind to something, there's a good chance I can do it. That confidence allowed me to go further, to dare to try to make my life in the art and craft world. I rarely think "I can't do that", I always think of how I might do it myself.

When I began in polymer clay, Mom told my husband Vernon, "I'm scared, how is Donna going to make a living with clay???" Vernon replied, "I know, I'm scared, too". The important thing here is that I didn't know they were concerned - they didn't tell me until years after. If I had known they were so concerned, I might not have pursued this dream.

So, Mom, thank you for the many gifts you have given to me and to everyone who is lucky enough to know you. More than anyone else, you set me on this road, you opened the door, supported and encouraged and let me try what you at one time thought totally improbable.

Donna Kato is one of the founders of CraftEdu, has her own brand of polymer clay (Kato Polyclay by Van Aken, Int.), is an author and teacher - on the road and online.

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  1. Oh Donna, I have this wonderful chance to know your Mom and how adorable she is. Your post is so deep and beautiful and it was like reading my own story. Give your mom a great big hug and tell her I love herand hope to see her soon.


  2. Dear Sylvie;

    I will definitely tell her - she wears the pin you gave her proudly! Please give your mom a big hug for me, too. She's a dear one, like my mom!