Mother carries on daughter’s memory at new ceramics shopWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
“A moment lasts all of a second, but the memory lives on forever.”
This framed saying hangs on the wall of Simply Stated & Painted, a ceramics shop at 3322 Glanzman Road. It’s something that could be found on a magnet in a department store or in pretty typography on Pinterest. But for Dayna Kasten-Briggs, the words resonated.
In 2000, Kasten-Briggs suffered an arteriovenous malformation rupture while four months pregnant. She had to undergo a 10-hour brain surgery. Although she survived, the doctors didn’t think she would walk, talk or feed herself again. They were wrong.
“Everything was a miracle,” her mother Sandy Kasten said. “Once she cleared rehab, she could do anything.”
Her biggest symptom was her spotty memory; she would often tell the same story multiple times or forget where she put things.
Kasten-Briggs and Kasten opened Simply Stated & Painted on Dec. 6. The shop provides molded ceramics for people to paint, ranging from glass sock monkeys and coasters to candy dishes and more.
On Dec. 14, eight days after the shop opened, Kasten-Briggs died at home with no clear cause. She was 37. On that same day, her daughter turned 14 years old.
When Kasten-Briggs’ marriage ended, her daughter decided to stay with her father. Kasten-Briggs became depressed and Kasten took it upon herself to cheer her daughter up.
Having “played” with ceramics for 20 years, Kasten decided to introduce the art form to her daughter. After only a few classes, Kasten said it became all she could talk about.
“She could relax,” Kasten said. “She would sit there and not have to smoke a cigarette.”
The two became a team and started looking for places to open their shop, while trying to create a business plan.
The shop opened after five weeks of preparation. Kasten-Briggs was excited about the venture.
“She was such a vital part of the shop,” Kasten said.
Kasten-Briggs maintained a lot of the shop. She was so busy it took her five weeks to finish a Spider-Man mug, one of the last things she made.
After her daughter died, Kasten had to quickly master the cash register and acquire passwords for all of their accounts. Every time the paper towel roll is empty in the restrooms, Kasten cringes because Kasten-Briggs always took care of that as well.
What she left
The shop has retained much of Kasten-Briggs’ essence. Her desk is still where she kept it. The music that plays (including Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and Rihanna’s “Rude Boy”) was hers. An angel Kasten bought for her daughter and a coffee cup Kasten-Briggs made are displayed on a shelf.
The shop was opened with children in mind, as a place to host birthday parties. Kasten-Briggs loved kids and saw the shop as a place for them to be exposed to the art world, Kasten said.
“Kids mean a lot to us,” she said. “We want kids in here painting and doing clay because a lot of schools don’t have that now. A lot of the kids are missing out.”
For the price of the piece, ranging from $13.95-$59.95 depending on the size, customers can take as much time as they want to paint their purchases Kasten helps along the way.
She now works at the shop on evenings and weekends in addition to her full-time job at a law firm.
“If I wasn’t here, I’d be down in the basement painting or pouring,” she said. “The laundry gets backed up a little bit, I noticed today, but [having something for Kasten-Briggs] was more important.”
Behind the cash register, two glass plates that Kasten-Briggs made hang under another saying: “Life is measured by the moments that take your breath away.” Kasten added those words herself.
The shop closed when Kasten-Briggs died but reopened Dec. 21. Kasten said she wants the shop to stay open.
“[Kasten-Briggs] worked for it [and] it’s something I worked for and I think that’s what she’d want,” she said.
She said she finds peace in the shop. Her husband doesn’t spend time there because it reminds him too much of his late daughter, but that is what Kasten likes about it.
“We worried what would happen to her when something happened to us,” Kasten said. “This was our way of giving her something that she could do once we passed away, not vice versa.”
For more information, visit facebook.com/SimplyStatedandPainted.