My friend S is a generous gardener—generous with attention to her plants, and generous with sharing her harvest. Gifts from her garden have provided me with plenty of inspiration for both studio and kitchen. Her peppers come in interesting shapes and hues (and varying degrees of heat!), and the color of her tomatoes is always the perfect warm tomato red. She makes the best pickles ever, earning a devoted following that includes my husband. But her figs—her figs are simply wonderful. She has a huge tree in her back yard, and it produces enough plump figs to satisfy the birds while leaving plenty for the humans (though she's a scrappy North Carolina girl who doesn't hesitate to fight for her figs). When they start ripening, I'll get an email that says, "Figs! Figs!" I just show up with a big bag as directed. If I'm extra lucky, she'll already have made a batch of drunken fig jam (with bourbon!), and a jar will get tucked into my bag unobtrusively. I'll sift through the pile of figs in my kitchen, wash the most photogenic (while munching on the ripest and creamiest), and spend the next few hours in my studio, studying their quirky shapes and subtle hues. And feel so fortunate that I can enjoy this bounty of figs and friendship.