The Potter

April 11, 2006    By: Kristen J @ 5:08 pm   Category: Life

In the back corner of the yard amidst the trees, grass, and flowers there was a kiln. It was made of roughly hewn, golden yellow bricks, stacked with loving care. The kiln was about 6 feet tall and the opening was arched, leading to a dark belly where simple dirt was changed into something strong and enduring.

The kiln was made by a young potter whose skill in making pots was renowned. The potter was tall and lean with arms and hands made strong from molding and shaping the clay. He had a firm jaw, full lips, and hair the color of wildflower honey. Glasses framed in thin gold wire rested on the bridge of his straight nose.

Each morning the Potter would come to load his creations into the kiln. In the evenings he would return to check on the baking pots making sure their transformation was complete.

Sometimes the Potter would bring his young daughter to play in the yard while he worked with the clay. She was small and chubby with blue eyes and hair that was golden like a wheat field at harvest time. At the back of her neck the yellow hair hung in loose curls.

The Daughter would run, and laugh, and play as the Potter worked. He looked upon her with love as she gathered flowers or chased insects. While he was proud of the art he created he knew that his finest creation was this tiny girl and the 4 other small children that called him father.

As the Daughter grew she would sit at the Potter’s knee and listen to his wisdom as he sculpted the clay. In times of trial she would find solace in watching her father’s hands moving swiftly over the wet clay smoothing and shaping the globs of earth into works of practical beauty.

Eventually the Daughter grew to womanhood and went to seek an education far from the home of the Potter. She fell in love with a man who also used his hands to create beauty but instead of pots the man created music. The Daughter and the Musician wed and began to have golden haired children of their own.

The Daughter loved the Musician and her children but at times she felt sorrow at being so far away from the Potter. At these times she would make the long journey to visit her father. During these happy times the Daughter would once again sit at the Potter’s knee and listen to his wisdom. The Potter would talk of life but he would also whisper his secrets to making the beautiful clay pots and whimsical creatures of the sea. Oh how the daughter treasured these times and kept these memories in her heart. During the long periods of separation from the Potter she would look upon these memories like pictures in an album.

Her own children began to grow from babies into small children and the Daughter wished that the Potter could see her own beautiful children more often. One day the Daughter received word that her father had contracted a devastating illness. His family hoped that he would overcome this trial but deep in their hearts they worried that this sickness was more than their father could bear.

During the time of his illness the Daughter made the long journey back to the home of the Potter many times to glean whatever knowledge her father had left to share. It was a long and difficult process but the Daughter knew that she had to gather his wisdom and memories before the Potter cast off his mortal body.

After a time the Daughter again received grave word of the Potter. Her mother felt that the Daughter should again make the journey for it appeared that the Potter’s time on this earth was close to an end. She quickly gathered her things and made haste to be at her father’s side.

When she arrived at her father’s house she, along with her siblings and mother, cared for the Potter during his final days. These were days of great sorrow, for the Potter was in severe pain. While all of his children wanted his pain to end, they felt sadness at the thought of his passing from this life.

Finally on a beautiful spring morning, surrounded by his family, the Potter left this earthly existence. As the Daughter stood at his head and watched him take his last breath she wanted to catch the faint flutter in her hand and hold it, along with the Potter, close to her heart. Alas the fragile breath was gone in an instant.

Soon many came from far and wide to pay homage to the Potter. The Daughter knew her father was kind and generous, but she learned of many good deeds the Potter had quietly and consistently done for those around him for decades. Her father had left the world a better place and she was at peace knowing the blood of an honorable man ran through her veins.

The Daughter knew that she must share the legacy of the Potter with her small children and someday her grandchildren. These children would only know of the Potter if she shared the memories and stories of her father, helping them to find a place in their hearts for a man who created and did many wonderful things while on this earth.

She also knew that the best gift that she could give to the Potter would be to follow his example and consistently create and do beautiful things, making the world a better place until she too passed from this earthly existence and reunited with the Potter.

In Loving Memory: Robert Karlinsey 1941-2006


  1. Thanks a lot Kristen — your moving post made me shed more tears… I thought I was done with that.

    Anyway, I added the theme to one of your dad’s favorite movies to The world is definitely a better place because of his time here.

    Comment by Geoff J — April 11, 2006 @ 6:13 pm

  2. Kristen, this post had me in tears. It is an absolutely beautiful tribute to your father. Your faith and love shine through the words. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that your family can feel the spirit of comfort frequently during this hard time. My prayers are with you.

    Comment by Keryn — April 11, 2006 @ 6:15 pm

  3. Thanks so much. It’s definitely an intense, spiritual, and sad experience to lose a loved one like this. I feel like I’ve aged 20 years!

    The love and support I’ve gotten from family and friends has been amazing.

    Comment by Kristen J — April 11, 2006 @ 8:54 pm

  4. What a beautiful tribute and honor to your father. I didn’t know him much, but what I did know of him was that he was a beautiful, compassionate, loving human being. You described his as even being much, much more. Your post made me cry.

    “She also knew that the best gift that she could give to the Potter would be to follow his example and consistently create and do beautiful things, making the world a better place until she too passed from this earthly existence and reunited with the Potter.”

    You are definately already doing this, Kristen. We love you and your family very much.

    Comment by Jamie J — April 11, 2006 @ 9:16 pm

  5. God bless you Kristen, and your family.

    Comment by J. Stapley — April 11, 2006 @ 9:44 pm

  6. Thank you for sharing you memories so beautifully. I’m so sorry for you loss.

    Comment by fMhLisa — April 11, 2006 @ 11:19 pm

  7. Nice touch Kris. Thanks for being there when he died. The memory of watching the last ounce of life go out of our dear dad will forever be a part of me. How great it was that he was surrounded by his loved ones as he passed on. Love your Bro

    Comment by Linsky — April 11, 2006 @ 11:45 pm

  8. This was very beautiful and touching and yes, made me cry! I especially love those wonderful pictures. I’m sorry for the loss of your dad; he sounds like an incredible man.

    Comment by meems — April 12, 2006 @ 12:53 am

  9. Kristen, may God bless you and comfort you.

    Comment by Mark IV — April 12, 2006 @ 7:16 am

  10. Really sorry to hear about your dad. It’s nice that he was surrounded by loved ones when he passed, and I’m glad you were able to be there.

    Comment by Susan M — April 12, 2006 @ 7:55 am

  11. Thank you for sharing your memories with us. I was deeply touched.

    Comment by Heli — April 12, 2006 @ 8:31 am

  12. Thanks for all the support. It was nice that I could be there when he passed on, for him and for me.

    Comment by Kristen J — April 12, 2006 @ 9:41 am

  13. It was so quiet at the Thang last week, I’m so sorry to hear that it wasn’t due to spring break, but rather to the sad loss of your father. I hope you will find peace and comfort, and perhaps especially through this Easter season.

    Comment by C Jones — April 12, 2006 @ 11:22 am

  14. What a wonderful tribute Kristen. Those memories will keep you warm and lifted in these troubling days of adjustment. We all pray for your comfort and the blessings that come from being part of a wonderful family.

    Comment by chronicler — April 12, 2006 @ 8:17 pm

  15. Kristen, this is a beautiful, beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it with us. You and Geoff are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Comment by Elisabeth — April 13, 2006 @ 7:44 am

  16. Dearest Kristen, Thank you for the heart-stopping tribute to Dad. It meant so much to have you here at the sacred moment of his passing. You were sent to me as a great comfort at the time of your birth. You smiled at me shortly after you were born. I will never forget your loving and wise eyes. You have never varied. Please keep his memories alive with your writing. I know you and he had a special bond. And you, as one of his greatest works will continue to make beautiful things. You are a comfort and an inspiration. Oh how I miss him-we must continue to live a beautiful life. He has put so much work into us.
    With great admiration!

    Comment by Mom — April 13, 2006 @ 10:51 pm

  17. You are very lucky, Kristen. I think he was lucky to have a daughter like you, as well.

    Comment by annegb — April 15, 2006 @ 9:07 am

  18. I hope your father knew that besides his incredible work with his own family, he was quite an influence on those who were lucky enough to be friends with his children. He provided an incredible example of how to balance family fun and working together, being a friend and an authority figure, honest discussions about fundamental issues, parent involvement and the freedom to learn and fail (and get your butt kicked in the process). I hope I have the courage it takes to apply the same principles with my children.

    He also welcomed me into his home, invited or not, and regardless if I had recently corrupted his son or was on the run from my parents. He would include me when he shared his personal history, family secrets, and trove of wisdom. We had open discussions about philosophy and church, what we’ve done and what we’re going to. He always had an opinion yet he didn’t pass judgement. He taught me how to camp, water ski, snow ski, sail and canoe, how to shoot things and start things on fire. He allowed Rob and I to learn first hand about the affects of inertia and gravity on a teenage-driven Mustang. He proved to me that my nut allergy was not all in my head, a feat Rob would succesfuly reproduce. He let me bug his four beautiful daughters as much as they would tolerate me. He laughed at some of my bad jokes and told me even worse ones. He indulged my vanity, cheered my successes, and even agreed that I was the smartest and best-looking of the Peterson boys (or maybe it was only Suzanne that agreed). I am amazed when I reflect on his willingness to invest the amount of love, respect, and time that he did with me. I’m sure some of it was a by-product of the way he spent time with his own son, but it was always genuine, not always convenient, and I know I got much more from him than I deserved for just being his Rob’s friend. I will always have him in my heart and mind, and realize now more than ever how much positive effect he had on my life.

    Comment by Erik — April 17, 2006 @ 12:12 pm

  19. Erik! Welcome to the Thang. Just to make it more concrete, you were/are the smartest and best-looking of the Peterson boys.

    Oh, remember that time you camped out in our back yard? My whole family was pulling for you man!

    Comment by Kristen J — April 17, 2006 @ 6:31 pm

  20. Kristen

    I was just informed of your fathers death. I am truly greatful for a knowledge of the gospel and a plan that provides hope and promise of being reunited with our family and loved ones. I am terribly sorry to have missed the service and the chance to honor your father.

    I greive for your loss and hope for your families comfort.

    Best wishes to all of you.

    David Ely

    Comment by David Ely — April 18, 2006 @ 11:57 am

  21. Thanks David. Wow, it’s so great to hear from people I knew growing up and haven’t heard from in ages.
    Thanks to all!

    Comment by Kristen J — April 18, 2006 @ 12:49 pm

  22. I’m so sorry for the loss of your father Kristen. It really is a sweet and sour time. I can tell from your writing that you had a special relationship with your dad. That’s such a wonderful thang. You’re in my prayers. And I must say again, you’re such an eloquent writer. I enjoy reading your blog. Thank you!

    Comment by Diana — April 19, 2006 @ 8:45 am

  23. Wow, this has been powerful. I had no idea that you had that great a gift for writing. Your dad is my friend. I have often needed him. We talked often and laughed often as well. It will be hard without him here. I have some of his fish in my front room. There they’ll stay.

    it matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, he has been the master of his fate, the captain of his soul.

    He will always be my friend.

    Comment by Idahojack — April 19, 2006 @ 9:33 pm

  24. Hey Uncle, I know for a fact that he loved you very much. As his daughter I appreciate the things you did to help him and to be a good friend and brother to him.

    The pottery of his that I have is definitely priceless to me.

    Comment by Kristen J — April 19, 2006 @ 10:05 pm

  25. Dear Kristen,

    I am sad to hear the news of you fathers passing. I was a student of his at Kentridge, your father was a wonderful man. I have searched for some time to find anything on Mr. Karlinsey, I’m sorry I never got back in touch with him. The last time I saw Mr.K was at a birthday party at my house in Kent, He only stayed for a minute but I was honored that he came. He helped me through that strange time in life where we transition from child to adult and I will never forget the things he taught me, and I use many of them today. I became a Pressman with your fathers guidance, and competed in VICA. Mr.K helped me win a State Championship, and compete at the National level, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without his kindness, helpfulness, and a little stubborness! Today I am still in the printing industry, and I think of my friend Mr.K everyday, he will be truly missed.
    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family, and everyone who had the honor of knowing that great man Mr.K

    Jim Webb

    Comment by Jim Webb — June 2, 2007 @ 1:05 am

  26. Kristen, it’s your old pal Julie from high school and BYU days…can’t believe I found you! What a beautiful piece you’ve written about your father. I was saddened to hear about his death–we still have a piece of his pottery that your parents gave us for our wedding.

    I just wanted to check in with you and reconnect…

    Drop me a line if you get a chance!


    Comment by Julie Wood — January 16, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

  27. Kristen, I knew you father when he was a young man. He was a good friend and companion. We grew up together in Tacoma Washington. We attended BYU at the same time. We even double dated, thats when I meet your mother, Susann.
    I was very saddened to find your blog this day and discover that a friend has passed away. I don’t know why but he has been on my mind the past few days so I was searching on the internet to see if I could locate him and say hello.
    Thank you for the post and all the kind words from your friends.
    My prayers will be with you and the rest of your family.


    Brian T. Judd
    5047-C Dragon Place
    Kapolei, Hawaii 96707

    Comment by Brian Judd — July 22, 2008 @ 5:09 pm

  28. As I was dusting the family room, I picked up a pot that was given to me by my ceramics professor close to 40 years ago. I thought, I wonder what happened to Prof. Karlinsey at LMU? I am sorry to hear that he has passed away; I still think about the funny mustache mugs that he used to make and sell at craft fairs.

    Comment by Diane Hood Zirin — March 15, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

  29. I was searching the internet for photos of Karlinsey Pottery and found this site. I am sorry to hear he has passed away. If anyone would help me research his pottery I will be grateful. I own a large collection of the funny mugs, a few bowls and casseroles. The early creations are very heavy and the lighter weight mugs have the K along with 2 hearts. Were the hearts drawn next to the K for a reason? Maybe when his daughter returned home? The kiln shown in the photo on this side with Prof. Karlinsey a wood burning kiln?


    Comment by Denise Van Hook — May 31, 2014 @ 7:52 am

  30. Kristen, wonderful story. You are the daughter and the one who became the potter? Do you have a website with your work? I have a piece, a mug, with a K on bottom. I assume that is your father, or it may be by you. Continue to enjoy life. Paul

    Comment by Paul Holloway — June 19, 2014 @ 9:53 pm

  31. Robert Karlinsey was my ceramics professor at Loyola University from 1970 to 1974. He was much more to me and the other students. He was a mentor, role model and friend. Bob had his young family at that time and he showed his love when the kids would come to the studio. With his wife, he would hold her hand , even when he thought no one was looking. As a potter he was a master of his craft, with his face mugs and functional pieces. Bob encouraged me to become a potter and after 40 years, I am still influenced by his work ethic and attention to detail, and I give a nod and a wink everytime I open a kiln. Bless you, David Porras.

    Comment by David Porras — May 11, 2015 @ 1:10 pm