Spring 1971

First attempts at making something out of clay

Jerry Rothman and I were married for almost fourteen years. When I wanted to work for myself he offered to help me get started, as long as he wasn’t involved in the business aspects. He devised simple ways for me to make objects to sell, given my lack of experience with clay. Baking and knitting have been lifelong hobbies. Throwing pots with the feel of wet clay through my fingers had no appeal. So Jerry made plaster moulds and by using clay slabs I was able to form three dimensional items, and practice decorating with brushes.

During the next few months my brush work improved and a friend made some hanging planters for me. They were very heavy, but a step in what was to be my first successful line of giftware. In the summer I took a booth at the Westwood Street Fair, in Los Angeles. All excited at the prospect of making sales. I priced my plates and bowls at $8 each. As the hours went by I glanced around. Other craftspeople’s booths were looking sparse. My work just sat there. By the end of the weekend, I learned what my pieces were worth in the marketplace. That was $2 each. But I was happy. No way was I going to take home anything except cash in my pocket.

However, there was another entrepreneurial lesson awaiting. Jerry had made a few really nice casseroles to help the overall potential of my booth. A very attractive couple wanted two of them. They bargained me down so much I was too ashamed to ever speak of the transaction. Then, at the end of the day, the couple drove up in a Rolls Royce to pick up their casseroles. Even as I write these words I can recall how hurt and angry I felt. 

Imagining the future. What to do next

Over the years my skills with Geometrics would improve.

I just didn’t see it then.

Bluebell was to become our best selling Geometric Design