Capitol Corridor
Capitol Corridor
Capitol Corridor
University of California
Capitol Corridor

Memories of Karen in My Garden

Karen and me, it came out perfectly! Photo by Stephanie Toy

Karen Norton, my neighbor and friend, passed away peacefully at midnight after a brief illness.  It seemed fitting to her master gardener friends that today is National Gardeners' Day.  Karen was a very nice neighbor, veteran master gardener, and accomplished ceramist and art teacher.  One of the things I will miss about her are the most enjoyable garden-themed ceramics classes she would hold in her garage studio twice a year. 

When Karen put out an email re: a future class, if you were lucky enough to be on her mailing list, it was imperative to reply immediately.  Her classes would fill within minutes.  Even when I was late however, Karen always managed to fit me in.  She even allowed me to invite my friends if she had space. 

I really looked forward to her classes.  They would always begin with a stroll around her gorgeous garden for inspiration.  The first picture shows my leaf wreath, where I picked leaves in her garden that were then rolled onto the prepared clay, cut and affixed to the wreath form.

My wreath with leaves molded from Karen’s garden. photos by Cindy Yee



Karen's classes were so enjoyable partly because she greatly minimized the opportunities for mistakes by her students.  Karen prepared and rolled out the clay herself beforehand, so we never had air bubbles in our clay (or resulting explosions in the kiln).  

Drawing and painting seem to come naturally to me.  But not so with ceramics.  Karen was an unfailingly patient and helpful teacher, and never ever rolled her eyes at my many flubs.  Thanks to her, every project of mine was a success and I love them all!

After the projects were glazed and fired, Karen would have an unveiling where we would "ooh" and "aah" over our beautiful work, followed by a potluck lunch in her lovely home. 

RIP Karen.  I will miss your friendship, and your ceramics classes. Have a wonderful time growing and tending your heavenly garden where everything blooms and nothing dies, until we meet again.  

On the left, koi fish created by Karen that I purchased and gave my husband for Christmas.  On the right, my scalloped pocket for succulents just planted today, to be hung on the fence.
On the left, koi fish created by Karen that I purchased and gave my husband for Christmas. On the right, my scalloped pocket for succulents just planted today, to be hung on the fence.

Two flowers, the left made by Karen, and the right made by me.
Two flowers, the left made by Karen, and the right made by me.

Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 12:00 AM

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