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Etsy Loves Dads: A Father’s Gift of New Beginnings

May 21, 2010

by dgordon

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

dgordon_bank1.jpgWith Father’s Day coming up in a few weeks (June 20), we here at the Etsy Blog invited members of the community to share their inspiring stories of father-child creativity. Deb Gordon Moisan and her father Robert share a love of pottery and classical music. Deborah is blessed to live near her aging parents and to have the ability to care for them. When Deborah isn’t “working,” she relaxes at home with her life partner, Bryan, and their 5 cats.

My name is Deborah and I share a shop, dgordon, with my 90-year-old dad, Robert. Twelve years ago, when my husband and I parted ways, I left New York and moved to South Florida to stay with my parents until I knew what was next. My dad saw I was at loose ends, not knowing where I was going in life after my 26-year marriage had ended. He asked me one day if I wanted to apprentice under him, in pottery. Working with clay was clearly something he loved and was proud of, and he thought it might help.

Honestly, at first I did it to please him. I had no interest in clay back then. I had never even considered it — my creative interests had always been writing and illustrating. I knew he was trying to help me find something to do, a new direction to follow, and so I said (with a bit of reluctance), “Show me how, Dad.”

At first it was a bit difficult for me — Dad is a perfectionist, and I’m more laid back. Dad’s style is to design his piece on paper first, create and cut out templates and carefully put his creations together. The word “meticulous” comes to mind!

dgordon_dad.jpg

Robert Gordon in the “garagio”

Dad is self-taught. Dad says when he was 12 years old, he did a detailed pencil drawing that was selected to be in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. That was the beginning for him! He majored in art throughout school, became an art director and represented top artists. Later he began a film production company, Ampersand, and won a host of Clio awards. After retiring he saw a hand-built pot by Peter Voulkos and knew instantly that pottery was a form of art he wanted to pursue. Since then, Dad’s works have been exhibited in many galleries in North Carolina and South Florida, and he continues to create with clay today.

dgordon_dad_work.jpg

Pieces by Robert Gordon

I followed his instructions, but patience isn’t my strong suit, so within months my hands and mind were wandering off to less structured and more feminine creations. Soon, I was in love with it. He taught me “his style” and then my own style started to develop. My life partner of 12 years, Bryan, has really helped as well. He will watch me creating and say, “Why don’t you (fill in the blank) with that piece?” and sure enough, his suggestion was right on the mark. In fact, my most popular items owe thanks to his ideas.

dgordon_feminine.jpg

Water Lily Sushi Set by Deb

Dad works in his “garagio” (our term for the studio). He works leaning on a tall stool and his clay and tools are all neatly arranged on the counter top. I, on the other hand, sit cross legged on the floor, a work board in front of me, my tools scattered within arms reach all over the floor. All the while, classical music plays loudly in the background.

Periodically Dad and I make pieces together as a collaboration. We hunt around thrift shops until we find items with beautiful details that could be used as stamps or made into molds. My dad used to do the clay work, and I would do the sanding and finishing. Now, with his bad back, I do the physical work on our collaborations and he chimes in with his suggestions: “What if you…” and “Why don’t you try this…” “Noel” is an example of a piece Dad and I worked on together last year, it’s one of my favorites.

dgordon_NOEL.jpg

Everything I have learned about pottery has come from two places: my dad and the Etsy Mud Team. The support, information and camaraderie of the team is beyond measure. Both of my daughters also have shops on Etsy. Sara, my youngest is ablaze — she has the most amazing photos! My oldest, Gabrielle, sells vintage in her shop, Sought. It was Gab who introduced me to Etsy — without her I’d have run out of storage space long ago for the pottery that I love making.

I have two passions at this point in my life, my pottery and sitting on the inlet wall, soaking up the sun and meditating as the ocean water rushes past me. I’m very blessed to be able to do what I love in life, and do be doing it with someone I love as much as I love my dad!

Thanks to Deb and Robert Gordon for sharing their story! Do you know of any crafty father-child duos?
Tell us about them in the comments below.

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107 comments

  • sharonclancydesigns

    sharonclancydesigns said 7 years ago

    Sweet and inspiring story. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed reading this!

  • mucar

    mucar said 7 years ago

    i love this list so much.very chic."vogue".. especially this one LOTUS ,water lily . thanks seda

  • VeraVague

    VeraVague said 7 years ago

    cute. very cute.

  • gmone86

    gmone86 said 7 years ago

    great article

  • saintesmariesjewelry

    saintesmariesjewelry said 7 years ago

    what a lovely article!! very inspiring!

  • bedbuggs

    bedbuggs said 7 years ago

    Great Article, Thanks for sharing!

  • saintesmariesjewelry

    saintesmariesjewelry said 7 years ago

    I love your pottery! congratulations!

  • TipsyTimeMachine

    TipsyTimeMachine said 7 years ago

    Lovely story. Isn't it wonderful how skills can be passed down through family mentoring. Learning new skills can really open you up to new creative ideas.

  • Emmamaha

    Emmamaha said 7 years ago

    Aww sweet. Thanks for sharing that. Loved it:) And I love both you and your Dad's work. So different yet complimentary. 'Noel' is a lovely synthesis of both your styles.

  • ShopRedLeaf

    ShopRedLeaf said 7 years ago

    What a great story! I love your work.

  • silkstory

    silkstory said 7 years ago

    So sweet story and nice pottery!

  • LoveandKnit

    LoveandKnit said 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this great article!

  • TheWhirlwind

    TheWhirlwind said 7 years ago

    What a fantastic and inspiring story! I really love the term "garagio."

  • JMGJewelDesign

    JMGJewelDesign said 7 years ago

    Awe, such a sweet story. Thanks for sharing!!

  • LuRuUniques

    LuRuUniques said 7 years ago

    Great story, thanks for sharing.

  • CenteredClayWorks

    CenteredClayWorks said 7 years ago

    Terrific story - What a blessing to still have your father and to be creatively working with him.

  • dbabcock

    dbabcock said 7 years ago

    Wow, Deb. Great story and article!

  • VelveteenHabbit

    VelveteenHabbit said 7 years ago

    Your father didn't just give you the "gift" of teaching, he passed along "the" gift-creating beautiful pottery!!!

  • PillowPallooza

    PillowPallooza said 7 years ago

    You are blessed to have a Dad like yours........... both your works are beautiful and thank you for sharing your story !

  • StudioElan

    StudioElan said 7 years ago

    Fabulos story -Deb!

  • jillatay

    jillatay said 7 years ago

    Love it! You are so lucky to have such a great Dad, and 92 years old too!

  • SatinandBirch

    SatinandBirch said 7 years ago

    You can see a symphony of emotions in both their work. Thanks for the post.

  • busterandboo

    busterandboo said 7 years ago

    Just love this story. I'm sorry my Dad is no longer around to see what I've accomplished with my Etsy shops.

  • Misspottery

    Misspottery said 7 years ago

    Awesome! Congrats on the feature Deb! You and your dad have wonderful styles.

  • AugustMoonArt

    AugustMoonArt said 7 years ago

    What a story, congrats Deb ;)

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 7 years ago

    Wonderful story! What a wonderful Dad! Congrats to both of you!

  • candacejean

    candacejean said 7 years ago

    What a wonderful story! I love that you two are being artistic together. Thanks for sharing Deb; and such pretty creations. My dad has always been supportive of my being creative. He is actually very artistic in SO many mediums, and he's always coming through for me building things for my art show displays when I ask him last minute. Three cheers for dads!

  • KimsCraftyApple

    KimsCraftyApple said 7 years ago

    Fantastic story! It made me smile :)

  • Neelam12

    Neelam12 said 7 years ago

    What a beautiful story and beautiful works of art!

  • pileofstones

    pileofstones said 7 years ago

    Wonderful story, thanks for sharing!

  • AugustMoonArt

    AugustMoonArt said 7 years ago

    Wonderful article Deb! A sweet Father~Daughter story :)

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 7 years ago

    Haha! "garagio"! I love it!! I have one of those too!! Great article - beautiful items!

  • PassionFlowerVintage

    PassionFlowerVintage said 7 years ago

    So Great! The water lily sushi set is beautiful.

  • EarthElements

    EarthElements said 7 years ago

    A wonderful story - thanks for sharing it!

  • battysbath

    battysbath said 7 years ago

    lovely article :)

  • dreamyvintage

    dreamyvintage said 7 years ago

    I loved your story so much! Your shop is amazing, congrats to both of you:)

  • rctees

    rctees said 7 years ago

    Such a sweet and inspiring story. Wonderful that you have such an amazing relationship!!

  • thelittlereddoor

    thelittlereddoor said 7 years ago

    very lovely and inspiring :)

  • JDWolfePottery

    JDWolfePottery said 7 years ago

    Great story!

  • patspottery

    patspottery said 7 years ago

    WOW!!! I am so proud to be on the mud team with you deb♥♥♥

  • dgordon

    dgordon said 7 years ago

    I am SO honored to be here..thanks ETSY!!!!!

  • RomanceCatsAndWhimsy

    RomanceCatsAndWhimsy said 7 years ago

    Great story - loved it! Adore the water lily - pink and green - just beautiful. I love your work. Congrats on finding a new creative outlet - it suits you. :)

  • allthepreciousthings

    allthepreciousthings said 7 years ago

    Oh, how beautiful! I love the lotus and waterlily..

  • JNpottery

    JNpottery said 7 years ago

    Neat story! I can see your Dad's influence in your work. It's all lovely. Great recognition for Deb and all of the other Mud Team members represented here.

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 7 years ago

    it's nice to hear that life goes on even after a long relationship ends and that art can flow from anyone at any age. love the second picture of your dad. i also work with clay and have for 20 years. seeing his studio makes me what to stop what i'm doing and grab a chunk of clay. i'm a bit jealous too. i bet he has so much information and knowledge to share about working with this medium.

  • elizabethwrenvintage

    elizabethwrenvintage said 7 years ago

    what an inspiring and sweet story!

  • KatsKube

    KatsKube said 7 years ago

    i love my dad.

  • foxpots

    foxpots said 7 years ago

    What a wonderful inspiration your story is! I am honored to be included in the related items here!

  • PaintedHorse

    PaintedHorse said 7 years ago

    Thank you for this beautiful story. You are so fortunate... I lost my Dad several years ago and miss him every single day.

  • almapottery

    almapottery said 7 years ago

    Deb I had no idea you were thought by your dad and you guys share a space,this is an absolutely great story. Tell him I dig his work :). Thanks for the team shout out.

  • Sought

    Sought said 7 years ago

    Wow! This was amazing! Thanks for the shout out love. You are inspiring Mom! I am so proud of you...

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez said 7 years ago

    What an amazing story...thank u so much 4 sharing & much respect 4 u 2....so inspiring...amazing what life throws at us at just the right time.....Peace!

  • craftpile

    craftpile said 7 years ago

    Deb, your daddy loves you so much! What a touching story....thank you for sharing!

  • carolbroadleypottery

    carolbroadleypottery said 7 years ago

    What a great story to share...I really loved it!

  • VintageScriptPress

    VintageScriptPress said 7 years ago

    Very sweet article

  • Boots214

    Boots214 said 7 years ago

    I really enjoyed Deborah's work she really has talent. God is good. keep up the good works. come visit my store sometimes. see you . bootssssssssssssssss

  • chARiTyelise

    chARiTyelise said 7 years ago

    great story Deb! what fun to see you here!!

  • GwenDelicious

    GwenDelicious said 7 years ago

    such a great article!!!

  • maclancy

    maclancy said 7 years ago

    wonderful and touching as well as inspiring story/life. Fathers as well as moms, have so much to offer us their children, we need only be open to their gifts. Loved this story!!! thanks for sharing. Love love the clay creations as well.

  • blueskyclouds

    blueskyclouds said 7 years ago

    Wow, what a touching story. And what a gift to share something so wonderful with your Dad. What wonderful memories you will always have.

  • NKPbeads

    NKPbeads said 7 years ago

    I love that photo of your dad by the kiln! Wonderful article!

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom said 7 years ago

    love their pottery : )

  • girltuesdayjewelry

    girltuesdayjewelry said 7 years ago

    Beautiful story! I think it's wonderful you and your father can work together and help each other.

  • Carlottavaldes

    Carlottavaldes said 7 years ago

    I love the photo of your dad! Inspirational. Good luck with your craft!

  • laspottery

    laspottery said 7 years ago

    This is truely a wonderful Father's Day story!! You two are very talented and lucky to share the same passion for clay and art!!

  • blackandwhitejewels

    blackandwhitejewels said 7 years ago

    Where would we be without the love, support and guidance of our parents? I'm happy for you that you and your dad share such a special bond! :)

  • GoodGriefGlass

    GoodGriefGlass said 7 years ago

    A touching story. Thank you.

  • sheilasthings

    sheilasthings said 7 years ago

    Deb, I loved reading this touching story and it has been a pleasure to see your clay work evolve here on Etsy. (That suhsi set is a killer!!!) I hope you will give your dad a gentle hug for me!

  • CuddledUp

    CuddledUp said 7 years ago

    What an inspiring story! I can't possibly pick a favorite piece of pottery. I admire this art form very much and perhaps in my next chapter in life I will attempt it. Until then, I truly enjoy everyone's work here. You are all very talented!

  • SmilingGirlStudio

    SmilingGirlStudio said 7 years ago

    Awwww....I loved this article! Thank you for sharing and thank you for inspiring.

  • MaryZoom

    MaryZoom said 7 years ago

    What a great story! So inspiring and encouraging. Thank you for sharing it.

  • peacesofindigo

    peacesofindigo said 7 years ago

    Beautiful article. Thank you for this~

  • patchylover

    patchylover said 7 years ago

    very sweet and touching story. thank you for sharing!

  • JeansVintageCloset

    JeansVintageCloset said 7 years ago

    Truly warm and inviting story, wonderful to be able to learn understand and create such elegant artforms with Dad, a beloved parent My dad wanted his children to be happy at their jobs, my industry was always to illustrate what my young eyes drank in

  • CeramicsbyMarcelle

    CeramicsbyMarcelle said 7 years ago

    Wonderful loving story Deb. Congrats on being featured!

  • littlelambgal

    littlelambgal said 7 years ago

    I have more of a mother/daughter art relationship, but can still totally relate to this. What a great story!

  • applechampagne

    applechampagne said 7 years ago

    very warm story! thanks so much for sharing :) gosh can't believe fathers' day is less than a month away...

  • baruchslullaby

    baruchslullaby said 7 years ago

    Beautiful story, beautiful work. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

  • AshleyIDesigns

    AshleyIDesigns said 7 years ago

    lovely story! and beautiful work!

  • evertonterrace

    evertonterrace said 7 years ago

    Lovely story.

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 7 years ago

    Nice story.

  • cwrightartgallery

    cwrightartgallery said 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing !!

  • lesperancetile

    lesperancetile said 7 years ago

    Such a wonderful story!!

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 7 years ago

    What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Simag

    Simag said 7 years ago

    Sweet and inspiring story. Thank You for sharing!

  • jcisco112

    jcisco112 said 7 years ago

    So sweet! Your story brightened my day!

  • elemegibere

    elemegibere said 7 years ago

    Wonderful!

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage said 7 years ago

    beautiful story!

  • SavoyFaire

    SavoyFaire said 7 years ago

    So heartwarming! Reminds me of puttering around with my beloved Papa as a child fixing things. When he passed and years later my Grandmother was selling the house no one wanted to clean out the dark basement full of rusty tools, old paint cans, etc so I did. I soon realized no one had touched anything since he passed. I was the first to touch what he last did! It brought that closeness back to me that we had shared. I'm so glad I did it and it felt like he had meant for it to be that way.

  • SavoyFaire

    SavoyFaire said 7 years ago

    Heartwarming! After my beloved Papa had passed I was the only one to clean out his rusty tools on his workbench. I realized he had been the last to touch them and it brought back wonderful memories of our working together when I was a child!

  • JemmDee

    JemmDee said 7 years ago

    Beautiful heart warming and inspiring story! What a wonderful blessing to have your dad with you.

  • lindasmartstudio

    lindasmartstudio said 7 years ago

    Beautiful tribute to all dads! I'd like to share a beautiful story about my dad... one summer he took the whole family to Italy to see Michelangelo's Moses and told me " you see, those veins, there is blood in those veins..." even though the statue is made of marble. You never forget something like that.

  • TheCottageCheese

    TheCottageCheese said 7 years ago

    What a wonderful family!

  • onceuponapeony

    onceuponapeony said 7 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story with us!

  • DiamondDollsCouture

    DiamondDollsCouture said 7 years ago

    Great story Deborah!

  • ialbert

    ialbert said 7 years ago

    thanks

  • WoodysFlies

    WoodysFlies said 7 years ago

    A very nice story--- and I as a father of a 2 year old have seen my life change forever! I can't wait to take her fishing, along with her favorite activities. Nothing like great love in a family!

  • HindLand

    HindLand said 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing!

  • kokopelligirl

    kokopelligirl said 7 years ago

    Thank you for telling your lovely story.Very sweet.

  • RedRobinArt

    RedRobinArt said 7 years ago

    GREAT STORY! I really enjoyed it! Brings back memories for me with my Dad. Robert Gordon’s’ sculptures are unique and beautiful. The Water Lily Sushi Set is fantastic too. I also love the Sculptural Hosta Lilly Foliage Vase by Earth Elements. That exquisite Noodle Bowl by EmilyReason, makes me want to cook! Thanks for sharing this warm story!

  • HandpaintedGifts

    HandpaintedGifts said 7 years ago

    Wonderful article. My father is 96 and lives with my husband and I. He helps me with the accounting part of my business and gives his opinion on new designs. Actually, the crystal champagne flutes that I painted for the Oscars were his idea. He also helps me pack and add labels to my boxes. I would be lost without him.

  • TMutzCreates

    TMutzCreates said 7 years ago

    great story! thanks for sharing

  • SimpleSimonPrints

    SimpleSimonPrints said 7 years ago

    Totally Great! Thanks for Sharing

  • RoyalicingLV

    RoyalicingLV said 7 years ago

    Such sweet stories. Gorgeous pottery!

  • SsanchezV

    SsanchezV said 7 years ago

    Thank you for sharing! Love your pottery. Sandra @ www.modern-baby-shower-ideas.com

  • FiberDesignsByKim

    FiberDesignsByKim said 7 years ago

    great story! I know pottery and art from my mother, whom, also had a love and passion for the art of clay. I get to talk to her "heaven bound". She has been gone 2 years now. Every passion I have came from her but also my dad. I owe them my life! literally and figuratively.

  • TinaFrancisDesigns

    TinaFrancisDesigns said 6 years ago

    Took me a while to find this and read it but I am so touched. What a lovely story and I'm so happy for you that you have the blessing of being able to work with your talented Dad. One of my daughters shares my love of clay and it is so rewarding when we have the opportunity to work together. I taught her and got her started with clay but in my opinion she has far surpassed me with her talent and creativity. Thank you Deb for sharing your beautiful father's day story.

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