Beth Bolgla has a unique and wonderful vision for on living. She’s present, clear-eyed, and curious, with the kind of positive attitude that seems both innate and thoughtfully considered. She’s is also positive about things that most people aren’t.
Beth visited me a few years ago to discuss featuring her ceramics at Catherine’s Table, my former home goods business. I forgot she was coming and panicked when my husband walked onto the porch and said, “Someone’s at the door.” as if she were a traveling saleswoman. I was in my robe, and the trail to my closet went one way, through the front hall and up a flight of stairs. With no path to redemption, I greeted her in a big lime green robe with tropical print Lily Pulitzer pajamas revealed by the shawl collar of the robe. I don’t remember what my hair looked like.
If Beth had an opinion about my appearance, I couldn’t detect it – no quick brow lift or big-eye flash. You know, those microsecond looks you catch when you freak someone out (unintentionally) and their Oh my God reflex kicks in. They don’t even know they’ve done it.
I realized later that Beth wasn’t just being polite. To her the robe was a garment, not clothing with a designated role. As we talked on my couch, I became more and more fascinated by Beth’s vision. Her perspective on things was so pure, and she expressed her curiosity without hesitation. Beth told me about her eyes weakening in middle age as if it were a gift, sharing how she could see things from a new point of view. It wasn’t gratitude; she was curious and looking forward to opportunities to see things differently.
I can see Beth’s vision in her ceramics, the variety of color and texture. The words thank you at the bottom of her mugs are true. She is thankful for everything she has and experiences. I am grateful for Beth because she represents how we need to be in the world: people who are present and willing to entertain new perspectives. I love the memory of our first meeting in my robe. She showed me how rich your life can be when your vision is pure.