ENFIELD, CT (WFSB) – Christmas may be over, but a local artist is keeping the spirit alive. Kassie Huhtanen started Smiling Fish Designs in 2009 after her retirement.
âThe fish was important because when I was learning to throw pottery on the lathe, I couldn’t center myself,â Huhtanen said. âSo I was just playing my shuttlecock one day and I started making these little fish, and because of my job that I was doing, I didn’t want to use my name, so Smiling Fish was born. And it kind of took off from there … and I made cups, big fish, little fish, garden fish, all kinds of different things and then from there I thought, well, people are going to be fed up with fish. So I started making pots with a purpose.
His small business only grew from there, but not without years of ups and downs.
“I took care of my dad, my dad was terminally ill, I lost him in 2014. Around the same time my dad was diagnosed, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.” , said Huhtanen.
She lost her mother in January of last year.
âI am in this next chapter regarding the role of caregiver. And now my parents are at peace. Now the next trip is how I will grow the business even further.
Huhtanen does the things that matter. Pieces that she hopes others will cherish as much as she does, things that bring a sense of nostalgia, like drinking jars or ornaments on a tree.
âIf people can come out of a little barn and say, ‘Oh, you know, in five years, Smiling Fish did that,’ ‘I remember when my son was ba ba ba …’, that’s what it’s about. “
She makes tiny houses and barns, vases, sandstone trees and pumpkins for the holidays, and can make custom orders, while leaving her heart to her work.
âIt’s something I love to do. It is not something that you are going to get rich, but again there are different types of wealth in this world and going back to the way you are and the way you interact with people has nothing to do with it. see with your financial worth, so a lot of it is really me that comes out of myself, that people know and really get me started with the idea of ââopening your heart and being kindâ¦ and that’s what that is my job, that’s my whole goal with my job.
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