Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Oh goody another year in paradise...........

Since my last post I was sucked into the blackhole of Christmas fun and blown out the other side with a box of Kleenex and month supply of Sudafed.  I have been writing deep thoughts down about the holidays since 2006 and my needle is just stuck.  I don't know what it is but I start out every year saying this year is going to be the year I get it, I will get Christmas!  I will wake up January 2nd and say; "Wow, I get it!"  I'm not there....... I have analyzed it, tried not to analyze it, ignored it, carried on, stiff upper lipped it and slapped a holly berry tiara on my head but honey January 2nd hits and I'm in the blackhole.  Here is this years recap of another lovely holiday season.

Every holiday season starts with flipping the house.  I even said out loud sometime around September:  Let's not do a major project before Christmas this year.  Then by mid October we realized the kids were coming home and the Lane Bryant Lumberjack was bringing "THE BOYFRIEND" aka "#thisonesakeeper" and they would be sleeping in a tent if a few things didn't get done.

This year we thought we would get a handle on things and ordered carpet for the upstairs bedrooms (3) and hall, the old carpet was 30 years old and had too many tales to tell.  Like who ironed her hair on the berber carpet and left the iron on... who puked in the closet in 1999 and oh so many dogs. Anyway order submitted on November 2nd.  Note to self; carpet that has a pattern and comes from Canada during a Trump presidency is a bad decision.  Nothing gets across across the border without papers and a pat down.  I found it ironic that when the carpet finally got here on Dec. 14th, a lovely man; Jose' and his able bodied assistant Juan matched patterns and laid carpet like super heros!  They rocked and ya know what?  They loved what they do, they laughed, talked about their families, upcoming jobs, petted Kirby and did a super fantastic job laying a carpet with a pattern that had to be matched on 180 year old crooked floors.  Unlike the idiot in the White House who seems to have trouble connecting brain cells and doesn't seem to be having a very good time.

Soooo on December 3rd I unpacked the show stuff from the van into the studio, wrote the last blog and started tearing up carpet and painting the upstairs.  Butch had started thankfully but he doesn't do trim or cut in.  And then he said out loud; I'm really bad at this and I hate it.  So I banished him from the room as I really do like painting and the whole transformation of what happens when the first plaster patch goes up.  I had made attempts to clean out the upstairs last year but it was just a drop in the bucket.  Every closet, every shelf, every drawer was taken apart, moved, donated or dragged to the curb.  It was great!  I would pull up to Goodwill and a lovely man would come out and call Kirby by name then stand and pet him while I shuttled furniture and bags of stuff into the holding room.  Everyday for a week I would pull in, he would see the van coming and he would just smile.... Kirby too!  We might need a trip just to say high and drop off a few cookies.  Everything else was moved downstairs and in a small house that means every room looks Michael Cohen's apartment after the fall from grace.

And poor Kirby needed a helmet! 

Old linoleum faux pine flooring...... so attractive! 

The van with Jose' and Juan arrived at 10 am the next morning.  Kirby and I retreated to the studio to work on a kiln and put the remains of Winterfair away.  Relays and new wires.  A break from painting but just another day in hell for this dyslexic potter.  check, double check, check again.  Put it back together, flip the power switch, put the cone packs in and everything looked great! (argh the bottom cone pack still will not drop 5 or 6 so back to the multimeter)  High five  Kirby and walk in the house to see how Jose' and Juan were doing.  Butch was in his office working from home.  

Wow!  What a difference new paint and carpet can make!  It was so bright I couldn't go to sleep that night!  The old room had forest green and red walls...... not anymore! 

There were still pictures and curtains to hang and beds to dress but there were beds to sleep on and carpet to walk on.  And holy crap we have to buy a mattress!  We took a night and jumped on so many mattresses I couldn't get up at the last stop.  Just turn the lights out and leave me here I begged.  We finally found one and it was delivered at 7 am the morning before the kids arrived. Cutting it close for sure! 
 And we cannot forget it's caulking season!  I am getting better although not faster, it still takes me an entire day to caulk a tub and napalm a bathroom and I hate it.  I do it twice a year and if I could find someone to do it I would but alas I have never once seen anyone listed under skilled trades as a tub caulker. 

While waiting for coats of paint to dry and caulk to set;  I baked! 
Nutrolls, Nisua and cookies..... lots of cookies! 
Cookie list this year:  Russian tea cakes, pecan carmel bars, molasses crinkles, pecan tassies and shortbreads.  

and pay off for tub caulking and kiln wiring.....

and I gifted myself a new coffee pot........ because the old one..... well it was an antique Mr Coffee with no bells or whistles and I do love a good cup of coffee in the morning. 

Rachael and Travis arrived from earthquake ridden Anchorage just in time for Sunday dinner on the 16th!  I can't even remember what I made for dinner but it was great and let the festivities begin!  They both had to work from cyberspace for three days so I got other stuff done....... not decorating! 
We had a great weather window hit so I took to the yard and built a cold frame and flipped the compost pile. 
also planted 80 bulbs of garlic finally, transplanted the gooseberries to the inside garden due to deer pruning! And moved two hydrangeas. 

put the hoop house up for red russian kale, chard, toscano kale and beets.

so happy this got built!  Seeds were planted on the solstice but now realize I need a heating mat for next year. 

and put the bay laurel in bondage due to antler sharpening.

and it was really really good to be dirty in December :) 

Rachael had asked me to demo pressure canning soup or something while she was home so she could return to the frozen tundra with skills.  We made a batch of white bean, kale, chicken and sausage soup and a batch of chickpeas.   

It was Wednesday the 20th and the Winter Solstice grew closer.  We went to the Cleveland Museum of Art and caught the Georgia O'Keefe exhibit.  Ok two paintings and a lot of clothes and one picture of the clay studio at Ghost Ranch.  My review of the Georgia O'Keefe show; Meeh.  But dinner at the museum was great and I got to see the the Asian Ceramics exhibit, winning! 

 Abby was flying in at midnight on the 21st too, bring on the light!  The Solstice has been celebrated in this house for more than 30 years.  It has always been a time to close out the Christmas crazy, light a fire, put on a pot of soup and take a breath to reflect.  Write the things we wanted to leave behind on piece of paper and send it up in the smoke allowing new hopes and dreams to enter on the light of a new cycle.  I love this time of the year, this grounding, this quiet entry into the new cycle of light.  But this year I was alerted to a party in the house and friends would be filling the house and there were foods to prepare and a trip to the Westside Market was in order where cheeses, meats, fruits and vegetables were bought and carted home.  The pots and pans were brought out and there was much kitchen frenzy afoot.  So much for a pot of soup and a crust of bread.  The consuming began and in Miller fashion the food and libations flowed and by midnight someone was blowing chunks.  Even when I used to fire walk every Solstice I never once blew chunks.  But alas I have these things called children who have their own traditions and it's a small house and next year it might be my turn to blow chunks, it's a tradition. 

As promised Abby arrived by midnight and I crashed somewhere upstairs in a bed.  The next morning we had tickets to see the Moscow Ballet perform at the Civic Theater.  We dressed as well as could be expected, we really do clean up pretty well but it was a tight fit in the backseat! 

 We extracted ourselves from the car and had excellent roomy seats for the Ballet!  After the show we walked Cleveland Public Square to see the lights and then dinner on the East bank of the Flats.  A very nice night to be sure!  Thanks for dinner Rachael ❣️ 

On Sunday the family made it down to Muny lot for tail-gating and Browns mania!  I value self preservation and choose not to attend! 

Forget that self preservation remark as I had a bit more Christmas shopping to do and went to......... THE MALL.  Just kill me!  It was December 23rd and this is when the world started spinning and the blackhole comes into view and it just isn't going to get any better.  I catch it and I cannot stop it. 
And then the Browns won and we wrapped presents and ate again and went to see Aquaman for 2 hours and 26 minutes....... nobody needs to see Aquaman for 2 hours and 26 minutes but it was Monday and tickets were $5 and we got the stadium seats and popcorn with free refills and we were happy!

And then it was Christmas ...... and we ate and my kitchen was too small for three hungarian girls and one stove.  So I grilled a salmon on the Barby, Abby cooked a duck and Rachael made pork shoulder..... yup we covered it all; Earth, Sky and Water!  Even Aquaman could have found something to eat at this table! 
The day after Christmas, things were picked up, packed up and the rental car with Rachael and Travis headed out the driveway and back to Anchorage.  Abby was here until the 29th and we did ALL the Cleveland things because Abby lives in a tiny little town with almost no museums or stores so off we went to the Cleveland Aquarium, the Cleveland Natural History Museum, the Cleveland Science museum, the IMax theater.  Then we thrift shopped for a day, then we clothes shopped for day and then on the 30th Abby flew back to the little town of Gunnison with an extra bag and wearing the tiara and award for the Queen of Markdowns! 
We returned to the house and I whipped into cleaning mode yet again as we have a neighborhood progressive New Years tottle every year.  This year we had 5 houses and each house serves 2-3 appetizers and a drink.  
As I scraped duck fat off the stove and Kirby licked the dish towel I felt the cracks in my veneer starting to grow.  The morning of the 31st Butch got up and went to work as he had everyday except Christmas and said; I'll be home early.  I think I looked at him and said; Look at this place (Kirby looked up with the dish towel in his mouth) and don't forget I need to get a few things slammed on a plate for tonight.  I had cleaned the studio twice as it had become the dumping ground for the holiday massacre.  I was ready to slit my wrists with a twinkle light and bleed out in red and green on the kitchen floor as the elf on the shelf glowered down from his perch. 
 I was fried.  
Stuffed mushrooms and baby reubens managed to make it onto a platter along with dilly beans and relishes from the shelves in the basement.  New Years day I rolled out of bed and announced I was sick and boy was I.  
It is now Jan. 8th and my first full day of not going through a box of Kleenex and eating Sudafeds.  It will be my first night of sleeping in a bed and not a chair.  

Tomorrow I will go shovel out the last of the Christmas wrap in the studio, wedge clay, load a really good audio book on my iPad, take my ever faithful dog for a walk and make a few mugs.  
Another holiday........ maybe next year I can go stand in a river somewhere and not tell anyone where I went........  
While cleaning out the closet I embraced my tent and sleeping bag a little too hard..... I have nothing on the books until March so I could sneak away for a couple days with Kirby.... stay tuned.   I will not be attending any museums or gallery openings or exhibits for quite awhile.  I have no need to shop for anything ever but I do need to make a few more trips to the Goodwill and one more trip with a pile of books to the donation box at the library.  Happy New Year!  
Oh and my taxes are done!  

Monday, December 3, 2018

My butterball timer has popped, DONE!

Stick a fork in me!  The last show was so stellar I decided to do it again and add 2 more days.   I need a shock collar!  
When ever someone says; oh you're an artist you must have a fantastic life.  This the blog post I will remember. 

Two days before I packed up I decided I needed a new booth.  This is when a shock collar would have been useful!  

Old booth shot:

new booth shot
Oh ya, that was worth two days of ironing, sewing, painting, wood sawing and all around panic booth disarray.  There's that Hungarian motto again:  Why Do When You Can Over Do? 

Tried to get out of town by 10 am Thursday morning but alas the dog needed a good long walk, I took one last walk around the studio, made a loaf of bread because Butch might starve while I was gone and by 11:30 am I was on the road.  Stop by the hardware store to get a locking trailer hitch for the new cargo carrier.  After 4 unsuccessful tries and the hardware guy trying valiantly to solve my problem, it started getting expensive as his solution was to replace all the pins and add a new lock for the tidy sum of over $50.  Thanks I only need to get to Columbus and went to Harbor Fright.  Score $4.99 and thank goodness 2 keys.  Off to retrieve road money from the bank in a box.  Rolled up, insert card, key in #1 for English, key in pin, ask what my first pets mothers maiden name is and THEN I pushed the desired cash needed.  The machine flashed blue lights and ate my card.  No amount of expletives can tell you my state of mind at this point.  JUST TURN THE POD AROUND AND GO BACK TO THE MOTHER SHIP, ABORT!  I had to go into the bank and talk to a real guy to get my card back and money needed for the weekend.  I had my drivers license, but alas my receipt was somewhere in the van, return to van find crumbled receipt and return to the bank.  Someone set off the shock collar please!  By noon I was rolling down I-71 blasting WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE; thank you Guns and Roses!  3 hours later I hit the Fairgrounds filled with serious artists, crafters and the food tribe of roasted nuts and kettle corn-ers that follows us around. 

Checked in, found my booth in the maze of 450 artists.  The rows went up to 1,000 ...... amid the dizzying awry dancing snowflakes and Christmas tress I lost my concentration to the get the best possible parking place needed to off load in a horse paddock.  Why yes, let me off load boxes of pottery and a booth in ankle deep powdered sawdust and did I mention it was an uphill push to the door.  And our old friend with the handicapped hang tag had wedged his giant RV right up to the fence so you had to push your cart all the way around the titan of RV's.  Huffing and puffing I wrestled my cart into the building and looked for a guy with an oxygen tank because I had a hose to pinch.  Nope no hose, a service dog.  I little fluffy dog with an orange vest, seriously?  On my third red faced trip around the RV, he walked out.  He and his little dog needed a cigarette and I'd of taken a hit on that oxygen tank if he had one. "Hey if ya moved back 3 feet, the rest of us could get past your honk'n RV and not have a black out.  He scratched his head, surveyed the situation, snubbed out his cig, tossed the service mutt in the side door and moved the monumental land yacht, back just enough to squeeze through.  My last trip was much easier.   Set up went pretty well.  Neighbors were showing up, a jovial crowd all in anticipation of throngs of shoppers with purses flush for the exchange of goods.   
Then another neighbor showed up and started off loading next to me with his girlfriend.  I had my head down assembling pedestals and started coughing which made me look up.  A white fog that smelled of baby power descended over my booth.  (I have black pedestals)  So I yelled, Hey what's up.  I heard a few expletives and she said; Oh sorry I accidentally set off our fire extinguisher and it hit me in the face, OMG look at me.  I looked around the corner and found the pillsbury dough girl standing there........ and yes she was blonde.  I returned to wiping down pedestals and coughing. 
And remember that final studio walk through back at the mother ship....... well I forgot the track for my lighting system.  In a bit of a quandary the pillsbury dough girl said she had never forgot their track because they leave everything packed in one place by the door. HEY! have ya looked in the mirror?  No problem I can run to Lowe's right up the road and get one.  That is where I bought the light fixtures and the entire system I currently own.  Find Mark the very helpful lighting guy who said: Oh we don't carry that brand anymore, now we have this far superior brand.  I just stared at him.  Why?  I dunno, company decision, we just started switching over and only got half our order.  They had a track that would work but none of the connectors for the new system.  Put your thumb on that shock collar because I thought I could rig something together with what they had and what I already had for a lighting system.  I got the duct tape out and pieces and parts, flipped the switch and stood back.  Lights were on, the booth wasn't burning down and my hair wasn't on fire.  WINNING!  

Everything was up, priced and displayed.  Exit to crash in a hotel somewhere 14 miles away.  Got into my room around 8:30 pm, called the mother ship where an excited Butch remarked; I was so happy when I pulled in the driveway and your van was really gone, I thought for sure you'd bale on this one.  He had no idea ........  
I ripped the packages open on all the little coffee pods, jammed them in the teeny little coffee machine and drank them all, set my alarm, and crashed hard.  This hotel had exercise equipment and I actually packed my jogging shoes and gym clothes.  Oh my god I couldn't even remember my name at this point.  

Up the next morning and out the door, hit the Starbucks drive thru. (my only guilty pleasure on the road)  I would like the biggest cup of coffee, the deepest darkest roast with 2 shots of espresso please and do not make me say the word Venti or any other Starbucks speak.  And what is up with barrista?  anybody remember soda jerks?  You sir are a coffee jerk in a very good way.  Heaven in a cup thank you!  The doors opened at 10 am and we were off to the races. I was slammed the first day.  As I rang up sales on my iPad I kept getting messages and alerts.  Finally at 2:30 pm I had a chance to see what all the alerts were about.  First text: I don't want to alarm you but just to let you know Rachael is ok.  I don't want to alarm you but her dog Lizzie is ok and Travis is ok too.... and on and on it went.  I finally went to Rachael's facebook page and saw the pictures of the earthquake in Anchorage.  Rachael lives in Anchorage.  By 2:35 pm I was reading everything I could about the earthquake to find out which areas were affected in relationship to where Rachael's house, college and farm are located. Show, what show?  As luck would have it, the jeweler down the my aisle was from Girdwood, Alaska and she explained the layout of the pictures on her facebook page.   

What a day.....  everybody was OK, I made a little money and wander out to find my van.  I drank a quart of water, a quart of coffee and stood on concrete floors for 10 hours.  The show closed, I had lost my voice I had talked to so many people and I needed to eat something besides my little bag of raw walnuts and an apple.  Out in the parking lot was a maze of angry artists as somebody forgot to unlock the exit gate.  Only one way out and we had to play dodge 'ems with the incoming cars on their way to the Dragon Lights of Columbus.  We waited over an hour to get out of the parking lot.  450 artists and nobody has bolt cutters?  Lemmings we are all just lemmings headed to the cliff. 

I stopped at the only thing I could find open, an Aldi's.  The fruit and veg section was pretty awful.  Mold is not one of my food groups.  I opted for a bag of multigrain chips and apples.  Destination hotel!  Stopped at the front desk and got 2 more coffee pods, went to my room, locking the door.  I Face-timed Butch as I sat on the couch tearing open a bag of chips with my teeth and sucking down coffee.  He was his jovial self; Wow you look great!  How is your day, I bet it was awesome, the dog really misses you!  By this time I was eating chip crumbs off my sweater and looking down my bra for crumbs.  Love you, cyber air kiss, talk tomorrow.  Lights out........ yup lights out but the walls were paper thin and then in the twinkling darkness I heard in the hall, a pack of curtain climbing, ankle biting, candy thiev'n rug sprites wielding sticks and screaming...... hockey kids.  I sprang from bed, flung opened the door and yelled where is your father?  They looked in horror as my t shirt barely covered my nether regions and yes I will take that puck!   They vacated immediately and I returned to bed.  No sleep for the wicked.  I hate hotels I really really do.  Saturday I got up and did it again.  This time I managed to grab what I thought would be a yummy taco salad from Chipotle.  Alas it was the $2.50 one which is not a salad but one bite and I was back to coffee, apples and mulit-grain chips.  Called home and once again YOU LOOK GREAT, you're dog really misses you, one more day and you get to come home!  By Saturday night after days and hours of standing on concrete I had legs cramps that would have seized up an AK47.  One more day........ pack up and roll home.  

Three hours driving home in the rain and wind after dark through the cornfields of Ohio during rutting season is a lot like playing the lottery.   If you get home unscathed you win! 

Pulling in the driveway after 10 pm and raining I had to off load the cargo carrier before I went in the house.  Wet and tired I sank to the floor and was smothered with doggie kisses and I was home.  After our love fest he dutifully went over and ate his dinner.  He had waited all this time to eat....... me too. 
This morning I woke up in my bed, with my coffee, my dog and it was good.  I took a shower and turned into a boneless chicken, the water washed off Winterfair 2018.  

Was it worth it?  yup......... probably going for the gold next year too.

I did a lot of horse trading and met so many great artists and people.  OMG I met Roger Tory Peterson's son (his wife is a jeweler and so is he).  Roger Tory Peterson is the Paul McCartney of the birder world!  

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Let's Discuss Fine Art Shows.........

Reporting in on the craft fair from Hell....... this is fair warning and your chance to exit the door on your left.  Yes, this is a rant blog.  

It has been quite a month here at Paine Falls.  A kiln failed, wrong elements sent, right elements arrived, two shows scheduled and the dog was busy making crap circles in the backyard.  The realization I am not 30 anymore and now pay dearly for those all nighters because Kirby and I were both making crap circles in the backyard.  The Tuesday before ground zero I had two kiln loads of pots fail.  It was the perfect storm and I have a paternal gene that says; WORK FASTER YOU WILL MAKE IT!  

I didn't make it and cancelled the West Virginia show.  Decided to go with Christkindl Markt at the Canton Museum of Art.  It's a $300 show and $25 jury fee and I had already spent $100 building a new light stand as the booths are 8' x 10' (not the universal 10x10, so no canopy frames with light bars, don't even ask as it's stated in the contract, top of page 2) but it's a museum promoting fine art and craft. It was closer to home too;  an hour and half drive instead of 3 hours.  No brainer right?  I was physically ill cancelling the West Virginia show, I have not cancelled a show in 35 years, never.   I still blush red while typing that I cancelled.  If only I had had a crystal ball and a wand, yes a wand would have been great too.  

Enter set up day, Thursday morning.  I was ready!  Drive down, sunny, no problems.  The first red flag and as I look back I should have just kept driving away but I didn't.  I pulled to the loading dock and was directed to park on a hill.  But excuse me sir, I have pottery and this hill could pose a problem.  A run away cart with pottery careening out of control, wiping out a case of plastic angels.  As he was mouthing the words, NO!  What appeared to be a young homeless man came running across the green yelling; CALL THE POOOOLICE, HE HAS A KNIFE AND A GUN.  I looked over his shoulder and sure enough there was another guy coming on fast over the green and the security guard was on his cell phone calling the police.  He kept running to the next block with his adversary in hot pursuit,  I kept unloading with my foot wedged under the wheels and praying for the case of angels.  

As I unloaded the next thing I noticed; everyone unloading was old; like really old.  One guy made telephone pole Santas.  He wrestled an army of Santas out of his horse trailer onto a two wheeled dolly.  Huffing and puffing he rolled the first Santa to the cab of his truck and loaded his green oxygen tank right next to the giant red Santa.  Very festive but hope Santa doesn't pinch his hose or it could be lights out!  Is this what people do for retirement income now?  What happened to fishing or Florida or shuffleboard or bridge or bowling or canasta? 

Everything made it in and I was set up.  Just in time to drive home during rush hour.  


A very nice woman working the check-in gave me a map, parking pass, name badge, strict instructions on booth sitters, donuts only on Thursday, and bread crumbs so I could find my way back to the entrance.  In a dark dark room, down a distant hallway, past the alpaca knitters, past the Santa Sweet Shoppe, past the snow globe candle ornament artist and YES, next to the ......... MARBLE MAN!   He had a little cart he wheeled in and he makes little wooden trees on a tray.  You get a big bag of marbles and drop them down over the tree made of little wooden paddles, some make it to the tray, some hit the concrete floor laying in wait for little old people with canes and walkers.   He started tossing marbles Friday morning before the doors opened.  Marble man was in the cavernous hall right outside our door, the sound of cascading glass marbles bouncing off little wooden paddles and the polished concrete floor reverberated through out the grand hall.  Three days with this man and he had a demonic smile every time he dropped a bag a marbles over the little tree; he couldn't stop himself.  By Sunday the jewelry lady cracked.  She picked some stray marbles off the floor and stormed the committee office.  Wherein they sent a little old lady gray haired lady with a four pronged cane, dressed in a candy cane apron and red Hane's light up sweatshirt flashing Jingle Bells, down to "talk" to the marble man.  We all secretly hoped she open up a can of whoop ass on this guy.  After Ms Jingle Bells left, he leaned around the corner, glaring at the jewelry lady and said; If you fall, sue me.  

I had great neighbors!  There were three of us in little room and we all watched each others booths for breaks, offered up treats and shot the breeze while we waited for customers who could not; for love, nor money, nor marbles find us.  We all realized by Saturday afternoon we were screwed.  

We would exit our little room and look up and down the cavernous hall for warm bodies.  On Friday we noticed a booth right outside our door who seemed to be competing with the Marble Man.  It was 
Princesta Magic Baskets!  (not kidding)  Turn up your speakers folks, watch the video and remember this is in the Canton Museum of Art.

And the judges awarded this guy 

and a check for $150 and the promise he will be back next year!  

By Saturday noon the other artists had brought it to the attention of the women's committee that the judges had made a wee bit of a mistake as these magic baskets were mass produced with CNC machines and there were 10 guys working in garage somewhere, maybe in America, maybe not, banging this crap out at lightening pace.  Phillippe was the minion sent out to dump magic baskets on art patrons everywhere.  I do not begrudge this man making a living but an advertised, juried fine craft/art fair in a museum is probably not where I expected him to show up.  And he worked a crowd like it was the county fair or a Vegas flea market.  Customers headed to the real wood artist with beautiful inlaid cutting boards were accosted with; "Hey friend, let me show you what I make, it's amazing and you will love it. We have a patent pending on our art!"  It was impressive to watch BUT IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE A FINE CRAFT/ART SHOW IN A MUSEUM!   When the real wood artist asked the committee ladies if he was really going to be asked back and they said; "YES, we love him!"  Real wood artist said; I don't think I can come back and the committee ladies said; "That's Fine" .....and then my hair caught fire.  And then the other jewelry guy said; This is an outrage and started packing up at 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon.  Stu is a nice guy, married to a very nice woman, he has a cool display and he had a double booth so this was gonna leave a hole!  Stu is a large man who wears a wrinkled lab coat, shooters earmuffs, has lots of cats and he could be the jeweler for Dr. Demento. The co-chair came down to talk Stu off the ledge but Stu did a great job getting the co-chair on the ledge with him and she started crying.  Stu had a good platform and was very eloquent explaining why he could no longer stay. I love Stu!  And now I was pretty sure we were in the Twilight Zone of all craft fairs!  I was ready for a candy cane fight to break out and somebody was going to loose an eye!  Nope no candy cane fight.  Strolling down the hall headed straight for us to find out what the dust up was all about the local drunken potter.  Drinking from a goblet bigger than his head he asked; What's up?  Dear God if he walked past the candle lady we would all go up in a puff of smoke! Nothing says fine art show like a drunk potter.  The only sad part, it wasn't me!   The show was so bad I started packing up at 5:30 pm and decided to head over to the real art opening across town in a college gallery with friends and real artists who like each other and are happy to see each other.  (which was such a breath of fresh air) 
I went home and slept on it...... hard.  And we had our first snow event of the year, my hour and half drive turned into two hours with detours and accidents, a knuckle buster for sure.  

Sunday was pretty much like Saturday, except the 90 year old crafter down the way came down and gave me the biggest bear hug ever announcing it was her birthday today.  Her husband made embossed framed work that was beautiful but he can't drive so she is his chauffeur.  She said Jesus loved me and I shouldn't let that SOB with the baskets take one more minute of my precious time.   Thanks Hon and happy birthday.... 90, she's 90 and she drove up from West Virginia everyday to do this show.  If I'm 90 and still doing shows somebody pinch my hose! 

Did not make booth fee, first time in a very long time.  Four days out of the studio,  710 miles logged over 4 days and shell shocked from Christkindl Markt.  Monday morning I unloaded the van, licked my wounds, ran in to Cleveland to breakdown a gallery show.  I had people taking pictures in my booth, never asked just snapping away, when I questioned why they were taking pictures in my best jovial tone.  The person snapped if I wanted to copy it I would buy it.  What the Hell is going on in the world of craft - art - the world everywhere?  Today I wandered around my studio wrapping my brain around the next show in three weeks.  
Now where did I put my bulletproof underwear?  Happy Holidays...... I think! 


Monday, October 29, 2018

Dancing in the crazy........

It is that time of the year; gardens closing down, chores piling up, show deadlines piling up, desk piling up with invoices and tax crap, studio in full swing, kitchen rock'n and wait for it........ time for home repair!  And I won't even broach the midterm election insanity because I just can't.  Facebook is but a distant memory for me.  I tried so hard to pull the reins in on this runaway horse that seems to slip in the backdoor every year.  This year that horse is the size of a clydesdale on steroids.  

My grand plan has somehow gone off the rails, anybody shocked?  Well that would be me because I did everything to keep this horse on tranquilizers this year!  I hit September and I had signed up for two show and just figured that would be enough but then another show called and it's a show I had looked at for the last few years.  Pondered on that one hard and thought oh why not it's on down time, how hard can it be to toss up a booth for three days?  And then found out the booth is 8x10 and no canopy frames are allowed, be prepared to set your booth up around columns and benches in a museum and we won't tell you where your booth is until you show up for set up on Nov. 8th.  My entire lighting system is built on my canopy frame which happens to be 10 x 10.  Then, no complaints here, the October show all but sold out. Undeterred the wheel got bumped to warp speed, Butch was put on notice not to ask for anything and expect nothing and I contemplated a new lighting frame.  November 8, 9, 10 and 11th seems so far away......   

The end of September I noticed a show I had been interested in, more as a family event than anything else; THE OGLEBAY FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS, Wheeling WV.  Mostly because they had Santa's Reindeer Training Camp and Breakfast with Santa and thought Butch would probably wet himself if I got in.   Sent the images in, plunked down the jury fee and thought, snowballs chance in hell.  Trumpets sounded Oct 20th...... Congratulations!  Set up is the exact same time as the other show.  Rolled all this around for a day or two and my gut told to me to cancel one of the shows but my head said; Go for it, just do it!  (Nike, there are times your slogan sucks!).  So I'm going to JUST DO IT.  I will set up at Canton and work the three day show.  I am setting up the booth in my studio and taking copious pictures, numbering everything, loading the van on Saturday morning, Nov. 10th and sending Butch down to Wheeling, WV with a blind dog to help to set up the booth.  Chances are Kirby will come back with a red glowing nose and Butch will be driving a sleigh.  

Oh and I failed to mention I juried into a small competition on for a local advertising company to have images published in their annual calendar.  I've done it before and it's a cool local event.  This was back in May.  Sound those damn trumpets again...... this year they are hosting a gallery show of work accepted into the calendar and the opening night is (somebody hose down the trumpets!)  Nov. 9th!  Sooooo the Canton show closes at 6 pm and gallery show opens at 7 pm.  Anybody want to buy a lottery ticket it snows on Nov. 9, 10 and 11?  

As I rolled all this around in my head and I reached for a bag of clay coming up empty handed.  I called for 500 pounds of Tucker clay.  Normally I run to Avon, NY to pick this stuff up, I love it that much!  Tucker truck was stuck at the Canadian border, standby.  Crap on cracker!  Call Standard Clay in Pittsburgh as my local supplier doesn't stock the clay I use and is trying to train us to order two weeks in advance..... BaHaaaaa, keep dreaming on that one!   Load the Kirby in the van and off to Pittsburgh on a fine Fall morning to pick up 600 pounds of clay.  And can I just say how much I miss Carla at Standard!  Back in time to unload and wedge out two boxes of clay for a morning throwing session.  
Everybody needs a pupperchino on a long ride.......

and then this happened........ 
and the company sent the wrong elements ...... just no words at this point.  (and I am so grateful for email because I went back and pulled up my correspondence and really wasn't me this time!! Phew!) 

and about this time things were spinning out of control so I went to the kitchen and baked bread, lots of bread..... I have fallen down the crevasse' of sour dough.  While I waited for the bread to bake I managed to wade through a mountain of paper work, getting my desk cleaned off, taxes paid and bookkeeping done. 

While in complete denial about deadlines, impending doom and the going gets really tough, the tough go on craigslist!  I am loving that people buy appliances and then become afraid of them.  The Cadillac of canners is the All American canner and here it was; used once by a woman who freaked herself out so badly she vowed never to can again and tossed in jars, lids, and everything else you would ever need to put up a jar of peaches.  $125.... this is a $300 canner and I had canning lust deep in my heart and I am a kitchen sinner! 

The 6 qt. professional, 525 watt Kitchenaid mixer I have also lusted after for a couple years but they run around $600.  Cue the trumpets, there it was, on craigslist but alas it was the other side of Erie PA but wait I am going to Avon, NY to pick up clay if the truck ever get across the border!  Asking price; $200.  Too big and she was afraid of it...... I mentioned I had a smaller 4 qt. Kitchenaid.  So I gave her $100 and my old Kitchenaid mixer and peeled out of her driveway with a new mixer and 500 pounds of clay because indeed the truck has crossed the border. 

and then we had a hail storm and wind storm and neighbors lost porches and roofs and the street was closed due to down power lines and we were really really lucky

and then the drywall guy we talked to in June said he could finally start ........ 

and that leads down the road to new paint and replacing old old old carpet..... old houses are just so damn needy!  I rolled into Home Depot on Sunday morning and in an hour picked out paint and carpet!  Stress can work wonders on decision making..... 

and then this happened and you know it's gonna be OK...... 
The Aconitum survived the hail storm so buck up and get busy!

For all my friends who have checked in because I checked out, thank you!  I will surface soon if this next week doesn't kill me....... Kirby will post an update if it does. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Show Time!

and it's good to be home........ (mug by Lorna Meaden)

My mind is reeling from a weekend of rain, mud and pottery patrons.  The rain, humidity, freezing temps and then heat seemed relentless this year and yet there were wonderful pockets of sunshine.  Set up on Wednesday went pretty well weather wise and other wise too.  Thursday morning the only thing left to do was pricing.  

The show, Ohio Mart at Stan Hywet Hall in Akron is normally an hour drive.  Thursday morning turned into a two and half hour nightmare drive and I wondered if I would make the opening to get the lights turned on.  If we have the technology for driverless cars we should have the technology to disengage a cell phone when your car door shuts!  911 would be the only number you could dial.  I do not own a cell phone as I have squirrel syndrome.  I would also break limbs as I would be looking down all the time and I prefer to look up these days.  I encountered not one but two accidents on the way down.  I was also unaware that the berm is a passing lane if someone is in a hurry.  WTF people!  Also we are just not nice to each other anymore!  Need to do a bit of pondering on that one.  The ride home was not much better.  Friday morning only one accident.  

My brain is playing havoc with me this morning.  I sold well.  What did I sell?  Mostly mugs with gingko designs or bunnies and carrots.   I was sold out by Saturday morning.  I price mugs at $32.00.  I had carved porcelain tea bowls that I personally love and only sold one.  Iron reds just sat there, celadons just sat there.  The end of the show and right side of my booth was pitiful.  The left side looked like the day I set up.

The drive home was great as the load was considerably lighter, my bank account had a reprieve and it was Sunday. 

Soooo here is the dilemma.  I spent 6 weeks weaving pots for gallery shows.  I have sold two pots at the gallery shows for a total of $234.50.  Are pots that are fussy, high end better made by artists working at universities collecting a regular pay check and getting hospitalization?  I don't know and I am not being snarky it is just a reality.  I don't get retirement and I am only as good as my last firing, not so much my last gallery show.   I am now thinking of how many mugs and bowls I could have made in those 6 weeks and had a bit more in my bank account.  Seriously this is driving me bonkers.  I have another show in 4 weeks and will be in the studio with the pedal to the metal trying to catch up on what was sold.  Mother Hubbards cupboard is bare.  I have woven pots coming out my ears but the functional stuff is gone.  I also heard several patrons say ....... "thank you for getting your pottery out of the 70's".  I heard it on Saturday and I heard it again on Sunday.   Over the last 35 years of pots and all things pottery I have learned to be flexible and change up glazes and clay bodies but who knew people would that, out loud.  I always felt hand thrown or handmade pottery was kind of timeless unlike the mass produced stuff which does go out of vogue. 

Ohio Mart is an awesome show in every respect; from the organizers to the patrons to my whacky neighbors.   Peggy sporting a new purse from the vintage tent :)  

We have become friends over the last three years and it is always fun to "catch up".   

I'm not saying I will never make another woven pot by any stretch but I think I will become more judicious about shows I commit to and at what time of the year.  Curious to see if I get my Etsy store updated, will it become active as I do a few more shows?  

I can't even believe I am still vacillating on these issues.  I started with wisteria back in the day and it paid for my studio, kilns and trips to far off places while dragging my kids behind me.  
I need to add a kiln room to the studio in the near future and I wouldn't mind a cover over the exposed outdoor work area.  

Today I will unload a van full of muddy fixtures and wet canopy; hose down the rug and pedestals but first there is time for coffee on the patio and catch up time with a very much missed buddy, Kirby.