Cotter has been fashioning hearts out of clay for the last seven years. She calls them heartpasses.
The simple clay hearts are meant to thank people for kind acts and then to be passed on to someone who is kind to you. After hearing a call on the Ellen Show for people to pitch their ideas of items for DeGeneres to sell in her store, Cotter put together a video about the heartpasses and it is now on the Ellen Tube. She’s hoping that if enough people like the video it will get the celebrity’s attention.
Crafting heartpasses started as something to keep her busy when she was looking after her mother who needed some care and moved in with her.
Used to working every day, Cotter said it was an adjustment being home all the time and she took up doing the clay hearts to keep herself busy.
What she discovered was that the hobby helped her grow closer to her mother. Her mom would help work the clay and then Cotter would shape them. They’d give one to each of the caregivers who came to the home. When her mother passed away she continued making them, selling some and giving away lots.
“I like to pass them on to people who are kind to me,” she said.
Cotter’s initial intention was for the hearts to encourage the receiver and for them to pass that good will forward to someone who did something kind for them.
“My intention for them is for people to keep them as long as they need them and then at some point pass it on.”
She’s created a website, www.wheretheheartgoes.com, so that people can track the hearts and where they go. Already the hearts have gone all over North America and beyond.
She said she believes it’s important to sometimes let things go, but she understands too if people choose to keep them.
“Sometimes holding onto something gives you strength to make it through something,” she said.
While she’s standardized the size, Cotter said she likes for each heart to be unique and does so by blending different colours of clay.
“I like to change things up,” she said. “I want each heart to be as individual as we are.”
Cotter said she remembers watching a post-election Oprah show of President Obama's inauguaration where she had a panel of guest celebrities, including rocker Jon Bon Jovi, who talked about work done by Habitat for Humanity. The guest said that while not everybody can build a house for somebody, everyone can do something to make the world a better place
Cotter took that to heart.
“This is my way of doing something,” she said of the clay hearts.
Cotter said she’s been a fan of Ellen’s show since it started and said she loves how she ends episodes by telling people to be kind.
“I would love for Ellen to have one (heart) that came from me.”
She hopes that maybe this will be her time to have her chance to meet Ellen and believes her product would do well in her store.
“If you don’t try, it’s never going to happen,” she said.
She encourages people to visit Ellentube and search for Bonita Cotter and then click thumbs up on the heartpasses video to show their support.