It was about 28 degrees in New York City this last week, and my goodness, did I wish I were back home in beautiful sunny California.
I thought about my mother and father, as I quite often do (I channel them often by placing my hand on my heart, closing my eyes with a smile), remembering how blessed I was as a child to have grown up in my beautiful San Diego. My mother was a schoolteacher (art and Japanese), my father a senior auditor at Southern CA Edison. There was no shortage of the arts, conservation, or being mindful in our family.We used what we had, we were not to waste, we were grateful for all the little things. Of course, I could never get enough of being a collector’s geek. I had endless collections of sea shells, pencils, stickers, art and craft bins, paints, beads, jewelry-making supplies…I was a big art dork.
Aren’t they just beautiful? Makes me smile.
My mother and father always took my sister and me to visit museums, national parks, monuments, and different countries when we were small. My mother introduced us to Van Gogh, O’Keefe, and Picasso at a very young age. They took us to see my grandfather’s art exhibits in Japan when I was just six years old. We toured the La Brea Tar Pits in LA, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and traveled to see my Aunt Kyoko Kumai’s art at the MoMa in New York City. For that, I am blessed and grateful. As my sister Jenni and I grew, my parents’ incredible influences became more and more apparent in our work. We use our hands (inspired by my father’s craftsmanship and mother’s art work) and we use our brains (engineering minds from my father), and we love to combine the two in creating beautiful work.
My sister runs her own DIY bike shop, The London Bike Kitchen in London, and I have authored, produced, and shot all of my own cookbooks in the great big NYC. We both find the beauty and sheer genius in art—something I’d like to preserve and share with all of you. Embrace what your mother and father gave to you. Remember someone in your life that cared to influence you in a positive way, and take that and pay it forward.
I am so forever grateful for what my parents did for my sister and me. Not too many parents can say, “Well, both daughters are entrepreneurs and small business owners. One daughter is in London, the other in NYC. Both, killin’ it.” Well, that last part they probably don’t say… but wishful thinking, right? They still impart the utmost humility in Jen and me.
At my Grandfather Jun Kumai’s art exhibit: Kyushu, Japan, 1986 (Yes, my Pops is TALL.)
For this Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for all of you, allowing my sister and me to create beautiful and inspiring work. Keep creating, keep using your hands and your brain, and put both together to create something BIG.