Following her heart |

Following her heart

Martha Zimet is an architect, an engineer, graduated college at 20, later achieved a masters degree and then signed on at Ardmore College, verifiably the best ceramics college in the world.

“What did you do when you left Ardmore?” I asked her. “I went to Santa Cruz and fell in love with collage printing.”

I’ve learned all this in eight minutes. Martha also works in bronze. When she couldn’t cast her own bronze in San Francisco, she went to Pietro Santos on the Italian Riviera. She worked in a co-op foundry and was the only woman and only American there. She cast her own bronze for free.

My question is, how did this encyclopedic life come about? “I truly idolized my dad. He believed in “family-work-country,” she said. “And told me to leave the world a better place than I found it. I believe I can do anything I set my heart on.” Our talk bounces around like a wayward balloon. I’m truly perplexed as to how she has stuffed her life so full of diversity.

“What was your final career choice?” I asked. “I worked in Silicon Valley for 30 years. At the beginning we worked in teams, finding solutions to questions; I worked for Nokia and Pixar. My passion was “startup companies” and fortunately I made a few good decisions. I have 5 patents, but they’re owned by Pixar (or Nokia, I’m not sure which) but that’s okay. I learned if you follow your heart, money will follow” she said.

There is a feather blanket warmth about Martha that is befriending and appealing. She has a rare talent for knowing herself. Today, living on 40 acres in rural Mason Valley, the winds of retirement are rustling her spiritual side. “I feel very deeply about art and children,” she said. Martha is on the board of the Through a Child’s Eyes Foundation and has promised Lesa Dusich, of the Reno Dance Company that she will help build props and scenery. In this age of electronic wizardry and artificial intelligence, we are woefully undernourished where it counts – in matters of compassion and common sense.

On the deeply personal side, Martha is devoted to her Weimaraner sporting dogs. “I have a relationship with Sophia, that is beyond words. The way God made it is, prey and predator, and when Sophia is running full speed and gets a scent and stops on a dime, it’s beautiful to see,” she says with glowing admiration.

Our talk comes to a conclusion. “May I take this over to the sink board?” she asks, lifting up her cup and saucer. “Of course,” I reply, “you’re one of the family now.” How often do you meet someone who trusts you so much to share their innermost memories and rock bottom beliefs at a first meeting? Martha is blessed with innate intelligence and carries a full load of trust in her heart.

Ron Walker can be reached at