Stories

Introducing Kristine Van Raden

Introducing Kristine Van Raden

"Are you looking for Kristine?" — an elderly neighbour called from across the street. Still dazed from the long distance drive, I locked my car and screened the neighbourhood to confirm that this woman was addressing me. The morning air stood very still. 

It was my first time in this city, but Portland felt rather familiar. Sprawling freeways, hippy small shops, and sleepy streets that take their time to wake in the morning. I’d say same air likely runs along the entire West Coast. This city is only a half-day drive from Vancouver BC, after all.

The neighbour proceeded to point to a quaint house perched atop a flight of steps.

"That's the one."

How did she know about my visit? Being a successful ceramic artist, visitors must regularly come for Kristine's beautiful work. Perhaps the neighbours are used to seeing a strange face now and then. I quickly thanked the woman, and knocked on the door.

 

Kristine wears our Intuit Coat in linen.

I was greeted by a soft-spoken voice and a stately figure. Having discovered her profile on Instagram, I knew that Kristine was a practicing potter in her fifties or sixties. Her astounding beauty, however, caught me off guard. Beyond the endearing lines on her face, it was marked by a warmth that is almost youthful. I later learned that she was once a model, at a brief point in her life.

The aim of my visit was a part of my journey to complete the Vestige Story Book a project that documents artists and explores their craft from around the world. I hope to learn of their struggles, their influence and their vision, so that I may in turn inspire others onto a path of creativity. 

Without giving away too much of Kristine's story (saving the best bits for the book), I will tell you one amazing fact about this woman: she did not start working with clay until she was in her sixties. She has walked through numerous artistic paths  from painting, sculpting, wood working, welding to making children's clothing. If there was one thing I learned from her story, it was to never give up on doing what you love. The harvest reaped by what your passion sows is always the fullest.

Kristine did not pick up pottery until she was in her sixties. She then founded Beanpole Ceramics.

Kristine's work is reflective of who she is as a person. A freely-formed bowl that is functional and full of grace. Delicate wares that have words of kindness imprinted on them. Plates with wavy edges that do not quite stack together, but felt like they belong to each other.

We spent the morning together, chatting over a bowl of fresh figs. When it was time to go, I felt as though I've met yet another a kindred spirit. Kristine is truly an inspirational artist and woman, and I am excited to share more of her tales with you. 

Message labels are inserted into our clothing, each with a graphic that corresponds to an artist I interview for the Story Book. To represent Kristine, I created the "I've bean thinking of you" label. Learn more about our message labels.

 

Nov 10, 2018

What a spectacular peek into Kristine’s heart and soul. She’s my dearest and most treasured friend (we met 43 years ago). Her work is exquisite, and she is a remarkable human being.
I cannot wait to read more.

Blessings,
Molly

Molly Davis
Nov 10, 2018

I can’t that you enough. Your words, your images, your love of what truly matters…I am humbled

Kristine

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