Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Panic re-decorating.......

Nothing says Merry Christmas like fresh latex paint!  
All the pots are shipped, shows balanced out, every state has been paid their sales tax and the trailer has been unloaded into the studio.  Done for the year!  Happy Dance!  
Friday night the calendar date loomed large, the kids were coming home; counting bedrooms and beds we were now counting the inflatable mattresses.  Nuts, the inflatables had leaks.  Off to the Home Depot at 8 p.m. on Friday night to pick out paint.
Rachael had painted her room midnight in 9th grade; midnight blue walls and Ralph Lauren ballroom gold ceiling and woodwork.  Rachael is now 27 ....... our answer to decorating;  close the door so we don’t have to look at it.  

We should have liquored up before picking out paint but decided to go for it with all our senses intact.  What were we thinking?  Paint chips lined two walls.  Laura Ashely, no.  Martha Stewart, no.  Tommy Hilfiger, no.  Eddy Bauer, no.   and so it went.  Where was my old friend Sherwin Williams and the little Dutchboy?  I finally hit the Home Depot brand.  I picked out Woodrow Wilson Maize (who knew Woodrow was a color enthusiast) and ceiling paint called Honesty.  (should have been Honestly?)  I would love my next job to be naming paint colors.  Compost Brown has nice ring to it and I know what that looks like.  Explaining our golden midnight distress to the home depot paint goddess she responded the store would be closing in 5 minutes please make your final choices.  We bought the primer, the brilliant white semi gloss trim, 2 gallons of Woodrow Wilson Maize and 1 gallon of Honesty.  A few rollers and a new Purdy trim brush.  Off to the checkout before we were locked in Home Depot for the night.  I always felt paint was the cheapest thing you could do to a house to increase value and update the look.......... $213 is not cheap and wasn’t even high end paint.  
We emptied out the room of Peace Corp stuff, old chairs, boxes of trophies and stopped counting the navel rings I stepped in bare feet and kept going.  Peeling the poster off the back of the door I realized Abby had sprayed a can of super adhesive to the entire door,  nothing takes off spray adhesive so back to the Depot to buy a door.   By midnight the room was empty.  We lugged up the ladder, drop cloths and wine, had a glass of wine, high fived and decided to start painting in the morning.  

Saturday morning we jumped out of bed and decided to make the truck stop breakfast; eggs, bagels, bacon, coffee and juice.  Fueled we knew we could keep going until dinner.  I pulled out the joint compound and started patching holes.  Butch apparently had other plans and was seriously ticked that I wanted to patch holes, remove switch plates and ceiling fixtures.  I refused to budge on this topic so he left the room and decided to patch the floor in the bathroom.  Before leaving he tossed a rag onto the old dresser tipping over the big bottle of Goo Gone.  It oozed down the dresser and onto the carpet.  I grabbed the Windex and started cleaning up while he exited the room. I spackled in peace.  Spackling done, it was time to paint.  Wiping down the walls, ceiling and woodwork we could begin priming ceiling, walls and woodwork.  We went through a gallon and needed another.  By this time I was ready to buy a disco ball mount it on the ceiling and call it a day but luckily we had a gallon in the basement from another project.  

By 8:30 p.m. the ceiling was painted with Honesty, the woodwork was brilliant semi gloss white and I could start cutting in the walls with Woodrow Wilson Maize. 

Halfway down the wall I stepped back and thought;  Duckies and Bunnies!  Oh NO!!  I am painting a nursery!  How this room started out 27 years ago.  I called Butch over, why?  I don’t know.........   What do you think?  I think it’s a mistake.  Nuts!  I grabbed the car keys and raced back to the Depot in snow storm, hitting the door at 8:45 p.m. 
Hanging on the paint counter I did my best Marlon Brando impersonation, screaming STELLA!!!!!!!!  Only to find out the paint goddess was on break.  Honestly?  The store closes in 15 minutes and I need paint!!  I am not leaving until I have paint!  The manager paged her repeatedly.   This time I opted for Oatbran, but alas the paint goddess was cranky and when I got home the top of the paint can read........ Woodrow Wilson Putty.  I laid on the floor and cried.  Picking myself up I pried the top off the can and thought no matter what I am putting this on the wall!   I painted a wall and it looked pretty good so I kept going until 2 a.m.   I’d continue patching and putting on the second coat of paint in the morning. 

Sunday morning, no big breakfast and back to the room of doom.   Painting clothes on and on the ladder by 9 a.m.  Painting to Donna Summer’s, She Works Hard for the Money I finished up by 7:30 p.m. 
Butch got home around 7 p.m. as he had to do an emergency tree hoisting and trimming for his Mom.   We had time to wrestle the new mattress up the flight of stairs and fling it onto the stand.  We also wrestled the box springs and a twin mattress set for Abby’s room.  8:45 p.m........... do we have time to run out and buy bedding?  YES!  as it’s Christmas the the store are open 24 hours!!!   We needed curtain rods, sheets, comforter, pillows, mattress pad and so it goes.  We started at Target, ran to Kohl’s, Bed  Bath and Beyond, onto TJ Maxx and finally Marshall’s.  We got it all.  I charged up the battery on the drill  and jumped into hanging curtain rods, and a mirror.  Wrangled the sheets on the bed only to have the main support on the bed fall off.  Strip off the mattress and box spring and put the frame back together.  Grab the hot sheets out of the dryer, put the third patch of spackle on the hole in the wall and call it day by 2 a.m. ..... again!  

Monday morning, fresh paint over the hole, vacuum, dresser cloth and table cloth dug out.  Napalm the bathroom, get my morning walk in with Maggie (4.5 miles)  grab my key and head out the door to pick up Abby at Kent by 2:30 p.m and Rachael at the Akron Canton Airport by 3:38 p.m.   Home to a crock pot dinner by 6:30 p.m.  
Running through the door I yelled go look at my new guest room.  Response;   It’s nice. 
Nice?  IT’S FABULOUS!!    Rachael leaves in 9 days and for the first time in 28 years I have a guest room!!!  The dog is gonna love it! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shows are over........

for now..........   HAPPY DANCE!

Craft Boston was a whirlwind; sales were excellent, the collectors were out and there never seemed to be a lull in the crowd.  The hours are long and I have become very aware, this is a business.  Slowly, one foot in front of the other and there has been movement forward.  While I was in my booth Butch was out exploring Boston.  The weather Gods had smiled on us as the sun was out everyday except the day we unloaded (it poured).  He walked the beaches and much of downtown Boston, he ate seafood and drank copious amounts of fresh brewed coffee.  I worked the show.  Honestly, it was great to see him exploring Boston; map under his arm and good pair of shoes, he was off. 

Setting up in the cyclorama I had my head down unpacking, the wrapping was flying.  Friday morning I walked into my booth and looked up!  The grid above my head was almost identical to the weaving grid on displayed pots.  

The booth finally came together and the doors opened on Thursday night at 6 p.m. and we were off for four days of a wonderful show.  

It was so great to see artists I had run into throughout the year and catch up.  I had not seen Francesca since the ACE show in Evanston, where we were both "emerging artists".  Now she is waiting for Penny for to emerge and WOW is her life going to change, babies just do that.  Friends to eat breakfast with, share war stories and meet new artists who are out in the trenches.  It's a tribe and we wander the countryside ......... a lot!  Where are you going next?  OH GREAT!! I'LL SEE YOU THERE!   Many artists, especially women, work alone.  They unloaded, unpacked, displayed and showed up to the opening looking fantastic!  The women's restroom 30 minutes before the preview party looks like you are backstage at a Broadway Theater event.  Amazing!!    I still have so much to learn! 


It was nice to drive out of Boston headed west into the sun. 
 We drove home in the light of a full moon too.  
No snow this year, it could have been a very different trip!   
May we all find the sun on our face ........

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Craft Boston ......last day from the floor

It has been a show to remember. We opened to a great crowd on Thursday night, looked like a Paris runway show, amazing! Yes, I washed the clay off my shoes and jeans and put on my best frock. Wrapping and packing pottery in frock is nuts. Back to the hotel on Thursday night and flatlined until the next morning.

This has been my best show to date. I am still getting advice to raise my prices but I just did and am comfortable with where I am at the moment. I still retain the thought; my best work is yet to come and when I get there I will price accordingly. My other feeling on this subject; if my boxes are full I tend to get lazy and not go to the studio. Seriously, if your well is full all the time it gets stagnate and I prefer to let the well empty and fill fresh. That works with creativity too whether potting, gardening, cooking etc.

All the artists are chattering about being so happy it's the last show of the season, me too. I find the most difficult part of doing shows is talking for days on end but one must talk if one is to sell work. The solitude of the truck at 2 in the morning will be a blessing.

We are off to hook up the trailer, put in one more day, drive 11 hours home, and start the Solstice/Christmas festivities! Ready to light that fire this year :)

The last three months have been a blurr and I am looking forward to the drive home as I have things to percolate on......

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

oh and where am I going.......

Mind of a sieve.........



check them out on facebook

or follow on twitter:

I will be tweeting from the floor, stay tuned craft lovers :)

Almost there........

Packing for the last show of the year and hoping by next Monday I will be doing the happy dance of vacation.  I have not done this many shows in a row in quite some years and it is taking a toll on mental stability and physical capability!  While doling out meds to the dog this morning I thought ....... maybe I should take one.  One for you and one for me, it works for him with cookies.  

I walked around the house and studio and well, here is the ugly truth about packing for shows...........

All the pots did not get woven for the really big show........ 

The work tables in the studio are full of waiting pots.

The slab roller ...... most useful piece of equipment in my studio, I could never do this with a pugmill! 

The island of misfit pots, some will go most will stay.

The sentry of teapots.........

one more view of the work table........
pots abandoned on the floor.......

pots on my desk along with the foltsam and jetsam that just collects.... 

new woven pots...... love these as they fit in the palm of your hand.
thinking this might be the way to go for future shows, so easy to pack!

New design work.

A friendly email from the woman who designed the poster in Richmond, VA for the Craft + Design show a few weeks ago.  So many timse I wonder how things happen, happily I got to meet Cindy Martin, the woman responsible for the design. Now I know!   
She really did a wonderful job designing flyers, preview party invitations and every in print that went with the show.  She designed "the look".   Check out her website! 

Now onto the last minute crazies........ feed the birds, drop a car to Abby, pick up food for the dog, give explicit instruction to kids about caring for elderly dog, run to pick up food for kids and dog, go to church and pray for dog, pick up carrots and Starbucks VIA for the trip (can be consumed like pixie stix if needed) load Christmas carols on iPod for caroling in the truck at the top of my lunges....... and so it goes.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday and pass the leftovers!

After a day of cooking, eating and reading the Black Friday ads in the paper I contemplated running out the door to pick up a new thong at Victoria Secrets because nothing says go buy lingerie like a high carb, high fat, waddle out the door dinner.  Did you hear the gun go off at midnight this year; "Ladies and Gentleman, grab those credit cards............ GO!  

After hunting and gathering at the local Piggly Wiggly Wednesday morning, the DC traffic was a breeze!  Approaching the checkout line I carefully speculate which of the cashiers had all cylinders firing and opposable thumbs; throw a dart and pray I pick the right the line.
About the time I get half my stuff on the belt, the check out people do a side out rotate and I get Mimi, the glazed over teenager who has been bounced off the pavement one too many times when she was a baby. (but Hey, she has a job so you go girl!)

Mimi, I am here to tell you;  peeling black nail polish is NOT a fashion statement!! (or the white streak of hair down the middle of your scalp to accentuate you naturally luxurious jet black hair, think skunk, or the neck tattoo of your boyfriend)  Yes, I am a vision in jeans, LL Bean hoodie and clay encrusted hiking boots, but I did comb my hair...... bonus points and that makes me a fashion-ista at the Piggly Wiggly.  I notice Mimi is having trouble processing Ethel's fistful of coupons.  Really, a file folder of coupons the day before Thanksgiving.  Another reason to raise turkeys in the backyard........ there is never a back up at the feed and seed store and they never have BOGO on cow manure and I am going for Ethel in the parking lot.
While watching this play out my heart rate increases and I start my Lamaze breathing, just about the time I get myself under control, she flips that  flashing light button.  The entire line of shoppers lets out an audible gasp!
We are in check out hell with no way out!  I watched my peas defrost on the belt and ice cream turn to soup.
and the holidays are just beginning............ going off to load gun.

Listening to CNN this morning I hear they had to pepper spray holiday shoppers, why isn't it cinnamon spray at the holidays?  Also one shopper in a fit of "competitive shopping maced her other shoppers over a TV and fled the scene.  There is an APB out for her.  I only pray this happens in my booth someday.  I don't think this has ever happened at one art festival I have participated in.  So shoppers go support your local craftmen at the local venue.  There won't be camel rides or Harry Potter movies playing at 3 a.m. but you will have a face to put a purchase with and know your dollar went to sustain a local artist and you probably won't be pepper sprayed....... 

have a lovely holiday! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

adventures of a traveling potter.......

For those who read the blog you will recall in the last entry I predicted snow would be flying about the time I started the truck Thursday morning at 9:15 a.m.  I am psychic, no make that psychotic!  Snowing hard enough, I white knuckled it to Breezewood, PA.  Boy, I just love pulling that trailer in the snow, especially through the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  Hit Hagerstown, MD by 3:45 p.m. and thought I would be eating in dinner in Richmond....... until I hit Washington D.C. rush hour, which starts at noon.  I have never been in traffic like that in my life!  Talk about the creep and beep for 4 hours, or maybe the creep and crash.  If you live in DC you should be driving a rubber car.   I found a radio station that alerts commuters to traffic wrecks every 8 minutes.  It was a bit static-y and I swear I heard him say;  Stay off the 395 (long static pause)...... a deer burst into flames.  
I saw 5 models of cars:   
Hummer (so you could drive over the car in your way),  
Porsche Carrera, Black so you can drive on the berm 110 mph.
2011 Lincoln with congressional plates and some guy on a cell phone
Chevy Van or Pick up with Ladders and Wheelbarrows attached
teeny little Nissan Versa hatchbacks in a variety of colors
OH and me, in a Colorado Pickup (color; Arrest Me Red) pulling a trailer full of breakables.
I should have just painted a bullseye on the back door.  

Arriving at my hotel by 9:45 p.m. let's just say it was a long drive and gave new meaning to "crash and burn."  I was toast.

Arriving at the Science Museum the next morning I was shocked to see my pot hanging on the banner to the museum!  Hey, is this like having your name in lights on Broadway?  YUP! 

8 a.m. and time to set up.  Easy set up to be sure.  Pulled right up to the front door, unloaded and parked the truck.  Started the migration of booth stuff and inventory into the exhibition hall and the booth was up by 1:30 p.m.  YAHOO!  I had time to head back to the room, shower, nap, and make myself look human, if I only had opposable thumbs. 

Back for the preview party by 5 p.m. and we were off to the races.  Opening night was excellent.  
The lights went off at 9:30 p.m. and I was back in my room by 9:45 p.m,  flat lining.  Working solo this show I never took the time eat, drink or have coffee.  I reached for my rescue snacks; carrots and mini shredded wheat biscuits.  The hotels now provide us with a tiny one cup coffee maker, thank goodness and I perked away every single packet of coffee provided.  A couple aspirin and lights out. 

Up the next morning and off to the show...... figuring out the museum has a Starbuck's in the Cafe on the first floor, and thankfully found out I was next to the water fountain on the main floor.  Starbuck's and water; nectar of the Gods and I could go for days!  I walked the show floor before the doors opened and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the work.  Peter Saenger!  Love his work,  I have been a fan for many years!  Added the creamer and sugar to my collection by the end of the show! 

Stephen Zeh, the traditional ash basket maker from Temple, Maine was a treat to meet too!

I also had time to discuss design challenges with Akiko Sugiyama.  (Her work just sends me to the moon; wonderful! )

Ran into the hometown artists, Jenny Mendes and Mark Yasenchack too.  

Saturday, the crowds were slow but I managed to get the better part of pot collar woven.  Saturday night, the Craft + Design crew treated the artists to a great potluck dinner!  We were wined, dined, serenaded in candle light and able to tour the Craft + Design Center.  http://visarts.org/craft-design

Back to the hotel by 9:00 p.m. and again........ lights out.  For those of us who talk to the dog in the studio it is taxing talking for hours to throngs of people.  By Sunday I happily checked out of the hotel and made myself ready to stand erect in my booth for another few hours.  By 5 p.m. the packing material was flying and the dollies were racing to the floor.  Most artists have this part down to a science, I do not.  I also think potters are the last to vacate the building and I held up my end of the bargin!  Slamming the door on the trailer by 8:20 and I was sweating like a turkey invited to Thanksgiving dinner and embracing the solitude of the truck cab.  Last vehicle out of the parking and I could not get home fast enough, until I hit Washington D.C. Sunday night rush hour.  
Kill me....... 
Painting the lines on black asphalt in the dark on I 495 and funneling down 5 lines of traffic to one is like me, in a pair of skinny jeans.  Ugly, angry and something is going to split.
If you want to know why the country is struggling just drive the D.C. beltway and it really doesn't matter which one you pick because they are all parking lots 24 hours a day.  Of course I took the wrong expressway because the 495 is not labeled east or west.  You have your choice;  Tyson's Corners or Baltimore, since I have never heard of Tyson's Corners I picked Baltimore...... WRONG!  Looking for an exit I could turn the Queen Mary around and go back from whence I came I closed my eyes and picked one.  I ended up in a fancy schmancy neighborhood with horseshoe driveways.  Perfect!!  I pulled around some home owners driveway with the big ass trailer and said(in my best British accent); Oh Love, can't stop for coffee, so sorry, Cherio!  and headed for the 495. 
I could see where I need to go but for love nor money could not get there.  I was on a 4 level bridge suspended in the sky and I needed to get to first floor lingerie'.   Then shockingly, in front me was deer!  Running down the bridge.  How did you get up here?   I wanted to pull up next to her and say;  GET IN!  This is bad!  Do deer merge?  Forget merging, just get off this bridge.  She moved to the side and I passed, we were both freaked out beyond words.   I have to say I don't know if she got off or how she got on but a deer did not belong on a bridge 4 stories in the air in downtown Washington DC.  Maybe Congress could pass RED;  Right to Educate Deer.  Probably not since a budget seems to be out of the question too.   I truly think if they could fix the road system this country would run much smoother. 

Finally headed back to Hagerstown in the rain and fog I creeped home.  I pulled in the driveway at 5:45 a.m, just in time for morning coffee with Butch...... Perfect!   I crawled up stairs and heard him say...... are you going to shower before you go to bed?  I yelled back...... I'll wash the sheets!  It was 6:20 a.m.
The phone started ringing at 9:30 a.m. and I was off to unload the truck...... what a way to make a living but I love it :) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I need a roadie.........

Time to head out one more time.  
This time off to the Craft + Design Show in Richmond, VA. 

Hey I made the postcard!  Very cool and a big thank you!! 

The trailer has been packed and unpacked too many time this month; I hate double touching anything, including pots!  
Kilns have been loaded and unloaded thus keeping the studio toasty warm.
I had high hopes of throwing many more pots during this 10 day down time but it did not happen; the greenware shelves are almost bare.
I have managed to weave three more pots and get handles on several more in my panicked attempt to replace inventory from the Rochester Show.  My weaving table is so full pots are stacked on the floor.   
Again under estimating my time to weave.  I thought I would have twice as many pots woven by the time I would be loading again.  How does this happen? 

On the return trip from every show I forget I need a down day to herd paperwork, tax info and go grocery shopping. 
A day to cook and fill the fridge again.  
You know this food thing is all a scam.  I hunt, gather, prepare food, store my nuts in the 
fridge and in a day or so it's gone.  
I can choose to embrace the scam or run screaming from the kitchen.  Must 
say I do miss it when it's so long I have to blow the dust off my cast iron frying pan.  
And I am a confessed "foodie" 

Oh and I just finished the best book!  
"My Third Husband Will be a Dog" by Linda Scottoline
for those who need a good laugh this is a great book. 
This also eliminates the need for me to ever write a book as Lisa and I have apparently been living in a parallel universe.  

Of coarse lake effect snow is on the way;  yes I am taking this personally as it will arrive the minute I put the key in the ignition and pull out of the driveway.  An 8 hour plus drive and over the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains.  I really need a roadie......... 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rochester and back.........

There are shows and then there are shows.  The Memorial Art Gallery Fine Craft Show in Rochester is a show I will look back on and always smile.  http://media.campustimes.org/2011/02/Memorial_Art_Gallery_of_Rochester-Rochester_NY-USA.jpg

These are the shows artists dream about.  This is the show other shows should be looking to if they want to run a top notch show.  My sales were great!  But even better I would attend this show if I only broke even.  We were fed, housed and hydrated by gracious hosts.  To be in the company of artists and collectors of this caliber was an honor and as I had been wait listed I felt very lucky.  The weekend was a bit of a craftsman think tank.  

The MAG show is a small show composed of 40 regional artists.  This year the show was juried by Jeannine Falino, Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.  The work in this show was spectacular.  Artists I have seen in print but never up close and personal were present. 

Some of my favorites: 
Steven Merritt

Hideaki Miyamura

Geno Luketic

Katherine Gullo

Justin Teilhet

Toss in Sophie Hughes; jewelry,  Dan Miner, glass; Scott Sober furniture and the show was a mini Smithsonian exhibit.  Truly an amazing show.  

The angst of getting ready for this show and wondering if I brought enough or too much or the right work made up for more than a few sleepless nights.  Wednesday, new tires were put on the truck, oil changed and gas tank filled.  Every pot was packed, unpacked, re-assessed with many weeded out and left behind.  The truck was full, the trailer was full, snacks were packed,  the thermos full of hot coffee, leftover Halloween candy stashed under the front seat in case we were stranded in a cow pasture and I waited for Abby's arrival from Kent.  

We backed out of the driveway by 4:45 p.m. Thursday night.  Waved goodbye to Butch and a worried looking dog. Not an inch of spare space anywhere in the truck or trailer.  Down Rt 90 and on our way; until the state of PA. decided to close Route 90.  Detour through the back roads and I thought we were headed to West Virginia, get the Halloween candy out!  Abby look out the window do you see the Donner party?  An hour delay but finally back on RT. 90   Arriving in Rochester by 10:30 p.m. checked in to our hotel and must say this trailer is a pain in the hitch to park.  I am a bit trailer challenged as I do not know my left from right and trying to back a trailer into a tight space with mirrors is akin to me squeezing into size 4 jeans, just plain ugly.  
Friday morning up at the crack of dawn and so happy the museum is just a short walk to the end of the road.  We were the second truck in line to unload.  Score one for potter from Ohio!  We were greeted by Charlotte Herrera, artist liaison and all around incredible host.  We were given a "welcome bag"; tickets to the museum, 10% off at the gallery shop, snacks, maps, schdules and tied with a lovely raffia bow.  

Now the schlepping began......... stairs.  RIT students had been hired to help the artists but then I had indentured servant Abby.  We opted not to wait for the elevator and use the stairs.  Remember the Hungarian motto;  Why do, when you can over do?  Forget the Hungarians we were Sherpa's climbing Everest with no oxygen tanks.  We were in and set up by 1:30 p.m.  Walked back to the hotel and cleaned up for the evening festivities.  By 4:30 p.m. we were walking back to the chili dinner served to the artists at 5 p.m. By 6 p.m.  the lecture started.  Panelists on the lecture; Rick Hirsh, ceramic artist; Michael Rodgers, glass artist; (both on the faculty of SAC) Charlotte Herrera, founder of the Fine Craft Show, collector and newly elected board member to the American Crafts Council; Jim Hackney also board member from the ACC and avid collector of southern potters.  Excellent lecture ending all to quickly for the Preview Party starting at 7 p.m. 
Several of the RIT grad students were present and I enjoyed our banter back and forth about what and where they were headed.  The crowd was large and eager to ask questions and purchase work.  It was a long day, we walked back to the hotel by 9:15 p.m. bushed.  

Saturday, up and out the door by 9:00 a.m.  The Council Members checked on us all day long on the quarter hour.  We were treated to hot coffee, water, a chocolate or cookie if requested.  Booth sitters were available throughout the day.  The day was very busy and again, sales were brisk and conversations enjoyable. 
The show closed by 5 p.m. at which time were hosted at a board members home.  10 artists were treated to hors d'oeuvres and an incredible dinner of grilled marinated tenderloin with a lovely dijon mustard sauce on the side, wild rice and mushrooms, haricot vert green beans with red relish, fresh greens served with chopped pears, walnuts and blue cheese topped with a light vinegarette,  a lovely pinot noir paired beautifully with our meal.  Finishing off the dinner was an incredibly decadent cake and hot coffee or dessert wine.  Abby leaned over and whispered;  "Mom, this is the best thing I have ever put in my mouth."  Abby did an excellent job holding her own in the conversations on art history and I will feel so much better when I write that next tuition check out. Exhausted, the dinner party broke up about 9:30 p.m.  Feeling like I had just attended a mini think tank I tossed in bed with my head spinning until 2 a.m. 

Sunday the council invited us to an artists brunch served at 9 a.m.  We arrived early and found Charlotte sweeping the floor and scraping blue tape off the atrium floor, we chatted and scraped tape too, how could not help?  The clock chimed 9 a.m. and it was a time to eat,  interact with other artists and participate in a question and answer on what the council might do better to enhance the show.  The room was quiet until Scott Sober stated he told other shows they should model themselves after the MAG show, the artists applauded Marcia Lowry, this year's chairman.  By 11 a.m. the doors opened and the public arrived ready to buy yet again.  I demonstrated in the ceramics lab at 1 p.m. while Abby watched the booth.  
At 4 p.m. the doors closed on the 2011 MAG show, the RIT students showed up to help artists pack and load and we were on the road by 6:30 p.m. headed for home.  What a weekend.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

RIT School for American Crafts panel discussion Friday 6pm

Professors Michael Rogers and Richard Hirsch of RIT's School for American Crafts join avid craft collectors Jim Hackney of Atlanta and Charlotte Herrera of Rochester, both board members of the American Craft Council, in a discussion on collecting.

$10 includes Fine Craft Show admission for either Saturday or Sunday. ($5 students)

Preview party Friday 7-9 pm

Mingle with the artists and have the first opportunity to purchase their fine craft pieces before the show opens to the public. Complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres, cash bar. For tickets call 585-276-8910.

Fine Craft Show & Sale - Saturday & Sunday

Ceramics, glass, jewelry, furniture, metal, wood, wearable art and more... The Memorial Art Gallery's 11th annual Fine Craft Show features one-of-a-kind and limited-edition works by 40 master craft artists from 11 states.
Sale Saturday 10-5 & Sunday 11-4 / $10 each day


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Show season.........

Some people get ready for hunting season, fishing season, garden season, holiday season but I lock and load for show season.  Every year I think it's not going to happen to me this year,  I will be prepared; like making 25 pans of eggplant parm. and squirreling them away in the freezer.
(I say this for tax season too.)
Well once again I am caught with my kiln firing the night before the truck backs out of the driveway......   

In case there are those in the blogosphere thinking I am on the couch eating bon bon's and watching The Housewives of New Jersey and living the incredibly glamourous life of an ar-teest, here is what I've been up too.

Not vacuuming,  
the Dyson Animal vacuum has been turned into a coat rack.....
Within 24 hours I will be tearing the closets apart yelling where is the vacuum!!!   
The matt cutter stands at the ready for last minute framing.
The garden tools, knee pads and gloves also stand ready for any last minute pruning
 or emergency patio laying.  By this time of the year I will need napalm to get the gardens under control.
The boots have given up and thrown themselves off the steps....

The kitchen counters have been turned into inventory control.  Freshly fired horsehair pots wait to be waxed and woven.  Other pots are waiting to be tweaked, priced, photographed and packed.  
The other items on standby....... Bird Identification book, it is migrating season.
iPad for checking emails, weather (he is still sailing!), calculations on glaze formulas, a quick game of Angry Birds and listening to NPR while hunting for the vacuum.
Care package for kid in Colorado.  
Last nights dumpling pot, (victory, as it's washed and not sitting dirty in the sink)

I find it a complete mystery as to what happens to me this time of the year.  All summer I was walking 5-9 miles a day and a strict locavore; eating only the finest summer produce from my garden or farmers market.  Eggs were from free range frolicking chickens and fresh herbs were found in every succulent dish I prepared.  

This morning I found myself eating a piece of toast I found on the counter ........ 
the dog probably licked the butter and jelly off. 
By lunch, sardines out of the can and a fortune cookie from chinese take out, last week, washed down with the leftover morning coffee.  
By the time 5:00 p.m. rolls around I start thinking I should make dinner, by 6:00 p.m. I get a phone call asking;  "What's for dinner, I'll be home in 30 minutes".  By 6:25 p.m. I bolt from pot throwing, to throwing a pot of water on the front blast burner just as the car pulls in the driveway.  "Hey, hey, hey, what's for dinner?"  Um...... pasta.  As I wait for the water to boil I can weave a couple more rows.  
If I time it just right I can toss frozen broccoli in the pasta water at the last minute.  Brilliant! Open the jar of pasta sauce I canned last summer and dump it on the noodles and the noodle could be anything including ramen as Butch is doing the shopping.  Chips and beer are not a meal and toilet paper is a necessary. OH and the stuff the deli calls "Antipasta salad" is really leftover processed lunchmeat and cheese butts but he can't seem to leave the store without 2 pounds. 

I know it's fall because the deer are streaking every where and the geese are so thick they block the sun.  My neighbors know it's fall because they see me streaking to the studio in my coffee stained blue leopard print night shirt flapping in the wind, dodging doggie flops and wearing a pair of old ski boots the girls left behind.  Not exactly like walking 5-9 miles a day but it's the best I can do this time of the year..... it's Show season.

Both kids are well into mid term exams and I feel like I am on my way to finals week.  Last night in an attempt to make a meal, I made enough for the Prussian army.   A vat of chicken soup with dumplings, two big pans of apple crisp and for Abby, a crockpot of stuffed cabbage gurgled on the counter all night.  Butch loaded the car this morning and drove around with bubbling hot stuffed cabbage rolls all day.  Explain that smell to the guys on the construction site.  Meals on wheels rolled to Kent by 2 p.m.  It was well received.   Hungarian Motto on the flag...... "Why do, when you can over do?"  

This where I spend the majority of my time......... 

Lock and Load, it's show season........ 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Steve who?

The Light Dawns……….

It’s Sunday morning, I am sitting on the floor, picking up my weaving where I left off at
3 a.m. last night.  Working on a new design and the more I work the more excited I am watching it come together, there is no clock.  It’s like reading a great book, you never want it to end but can’t stop turning the pages.  This morning, feeling the hot coffee trickle down the back of my throat with a sharp; “Good Morning Sunshine”, I fumble for the remote and flip on the TV.  Sitting cross-legged on the floor; surrounded by pots, waxed linen, beads, tools and a big sleepy dog laying in the one spot of sun on the floor; every channel is saying goodbye to Steve Jobs, guru of APPLE. 

I must admit, I have never thought much about Steve Jobs, yes I have an Apple Computer, iPad, iPod touch and purchased iPods and laptops for kids and husband.  I went to the big Apple Store and loved the product.  It was easy to use, it made sense, no external giant drives and for the first time, computers made sense!  OH and if I had a problem I just walked over to the Genuis Bar, they spoke English…… and I could not give them my money fast enough, I was hooked.  But I never thought about Steve Jobs while I was buying any of the Apple products.

This morning on one of the shows, that all run together on Sunday morning, a reporter was saying his goodbye to Steve and just why Steve was so important to the planet and our new digital civilization.  Oh pa-leeze, I skeptically thought and kept weaving while the dog rolled over and groaned.  The reporter held up his iPad and pointed out the rounded corners and how they carried over to everything Apple produces, no sharp corners, even on the interfaces.  Are you kidding?  That tiny little detail, I never really thought about, suddenly became huge.  Wow, he’s right, if everything had sharp corners it was be awful, wouldn’t it?    Something I look at every single day and yes, now that it has been brought to my attention it is a lovely design feature.  I stopped weaving tiny little stitches and listened.  The reporter went on to point out Steve made the micro decisions on buttons, cases, headphones and everything else, including packaging. 

When the reporter pointed out he was a believer in beauty, not price.  He believed people would pay more for beautiful things.  The market proved him correct when people lined up to buy the next new Apple product, sometimes at 3 or 4 times the price point of other PC’s.  He believed beauty and design could change the world.  I sat on the floor stunned, the light went off, the heavens opened and I realized I had just heard something that would change my thinking forever.  But Steve, I live in the rustbelt!

I have blogged, rambled and struggled long and hard over justifying what I do.  Was it really important to have beautiful things, I mean really?  It never made sense to me; I make dust-ables.  Raising one daughter who wants to teach and has a true gift working with kids. Another daughter who did a hitch in the Peace Corp and now working on her MBA in Global Sustainability.
A husband who keeps sewers and roads working for municipalities around Ohio, one backed up toilet and I know how important his job is.  I make stuff!  When the world’s needs are so great how could I possibly sit in my studio making dust-ables?  And yet, I could not stop.  I don’t live too far from a landfill and it’s shocking!  Was I contributing to that landfill?  What about my carbon footprint?  It was a conundrum, no it was a mountain for me to get over.  It's way I stopped making pots three times in my short life and I truly came off looking a bit wacky.  

For years I gardened on estates around the Cleveland area, again pretty flowers and God Bless old Republican money.  I quit, went back to the studio and planted vegetable gardens.  But I love making pots, I love weaving and I love designing things that made my heart sing.  When I stood back and looked at my booth at Craft Boston last March I got a bit choked up as finally I put a body of work together and displayed it exactly the way I thought it should be displayed.  It was my vision and it felt so self indulgent to spend the large chunk of change to achieve what I had seen in my head for years. 

From the very beginning when I bought my first sketchbook I knew I was going to be here.  It took 30 years and for 30 years I have tried to justify what I spent most of my waking days doing.  It’s like being on crack, you can’t stop but you don’t know why you do it.  There are years when I lost money and yet my supportive family and friends still encouraged me to keep going.  Along the way I had tried to teach my kids they had to do more than take up space and suck up resources.  They had to always give back and always work to make things better.   I could not see the forest for the trees in my own work, until this morning……. thank you Steve Jobs…….. it is ok to pay attention to EVERYTHING, think outside the box, ask questions, be paid and ………. make beautiful things.