Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Egg-stravaganza.......

Whirlwind weekend!  Temps in the high 60's and where to dive in first.  As much as the little voices kept telling me to go to the studio it was gorgeous out!  And let's just face it there are only a few of those days left.... 

In my haste to run out the door with a butt full of garden tools and gloves in hand.  Butch yelled; Hey can you help me make Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs?  It was akin to being struck by lightening!  The guy never asks for anything in the food category of life.  He would eat kibble and say;  Wow, that was delicious!  As a foodie I have found this somewhat frustrating but since he is grateful to have anything put in front of him I guess I should be thankful....... but I'm not and I want him to be as excited about fresh free range eggs from happy chickens as I am.   

Running back in the house and digging out my deviled egg recipe I whipped together a list for smoked salmon and mayo (no time to make it today!)  Off he ran to the grocery store.  Unloading my back pockets of tools,  I took my gloves off.  BE FLEXIBLE, stay clean, stay out of the dirt... so I sat down and started weaving instead of gardening. 

He was gone three hours for two ingredients!  Finally home at 1:30 p.m. (Next time I will make the mayo.)  He unloaded the groceries with a gleeful look and poured himself a beer.  OH boy we are going to cook together!!  I dug out pots and pans while he ran to the fridge in the studio to grab 4 doz. eggs.  Get the ones on the top shelf I yelled.  They were the oldest and should be the easiest to peel once boiled.  

These yummy eggs were for the final dinner of the Sailing Club, about 45 people.  4 dozen eggs should be plenty........ until the peeling started.  Kill me, stick a fork in me, anything but peeling all these fresh eggs!!!!  Standing at the sink cursing under my breath he stood next to me chipping away.  He was breathing so hard and was so stressed I asked him if he wanted to chop onions instead.  "No, I can do this!" he said.  Heavy breathing continued and I asked him if he was having chest pains yet... 
We mangled and chipped away and 4 doz. eggs.  Realizing we had mangled a dozen that would not be used for anything but egg salad.  I boiled up another dozen. The girls have been busy and I have eggs!  Digging through the memory banks of my fuzzy brain something made me add 1/2 cup white vinegar, not sure why but seemed right.  The eggs peeled like a breeze!  Note to self on that discovery!!  I still had high hopes of gardening but it was 4:30 p.m.  I walked out the back door to a setting sun and kicked the dirt.  Back to weaving....... 

The agony of the defeat......... 

He helped ........ which is why it took 3 1/3 hours to make deviled eggs.

Finally, Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs for the masses!  
The day was shot...... 5:30 pm and he was headed out the door.  
Happy and whistling.  I could not bear to look at another egg so stayed home and worked on pots.
As he whistled his way to the car I yelled:  Don't bring one of those stupid eggs home!  The sailing club ate them all....... yeah! 

one down and many more to go.........

round two! 

Sunday woke up to sun and balmy temps.  Cleaned out the rest of the garden.  Lettuce and radishes are coming along nicely.  

back gardens cleaned out, garlic planted, onions are looking good.  Something is eating the brussel sprouts!  The swiss chard still is looking good.  Old strawberry plants taken out and bed amended. 
Dug a few potatoes for dinner while I was out there too.

front and driveway beds cut back and cleaned...... 

after dinner ran out to the studio and threw a few pots.
Sunday was over and so was the weekend.

This morning the wind woke me up at 5:30 am.  Let the girls out and the temps were still warm.  
But with a strong wind and red glow of morning light I ran in and checked the weather.  
HOLY STORM a brewing!!  It was in Toledo and headed this way.  Threw my old jeans on and dashed out the back door on a run.  

Got the trailer unloaded first.  Locked it up and hope it stays put in the wind! 

Added the last section of the compost pile, out of salvaged pallets. 

Cleaned the chicken coop out and dashed off to the feed store to get a bale of straw.  Love that store as it opens at 7:30 a.m. and they are always smiling!!  Girls are happy dancing! 
Get the tools put away, batten down the hatch and ready to rumble by 9:00 a.m.  

On my way in I stopped and uncovered my paltry shelves of greenware.  Porcelain....... takes longer than stoneware! 

Off to the showers, make coffee and head out to the studio.   Maybe I'll wash my jeans...... nahhhhh. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

back in the saddle again.......

and it feels so good!   Time to check on the pond and the frogs are still moving....... slow!

Takes a while after a show to get back to the studio.  There was just so much stuff left with dangling participles last Friday when I left in the wee hours.  Tip to traveling potter..... always leave in the dark!

I walked in the house, flat lined but the house was really clean and even smelled clean to the point my eyes watered.  WOW!  Nice floors I mumbled and went directly to bed.  Master dog handler might have said something like;  dog is sick, but I don't remember or did not hear that piece of news.  I do remember bending over and petting a furry head that smelled really bad........ could have been Butch.

Monday morning I woke up and stumbled down to the coffee pot.  Eyes watering from Pine Sol disinfectant overload.   Every time I leave the dog stops eating and he is a 14 year old geezer.
Second handler in command usually sits on the floor next to the food dish coaxing him to eat.  Not this time.
This time his answer to priming the pump of an old dog....... pour bacon fat all over his food.  How much he poured is a mystery but judging from the smell of Pine Sol in the house. looking at throw rugs freshly washed and hanging over chairs drying and then EEEEK the backyard!  

I hunted the dog down in the back room who was splayed on the cool concrete floor he looked like he had been on a bender.  Whoa, buddy........ tough weekend.  Sat down with my coffee and fed him tiny pieces of dry toast.  Yes!  The tail wagged!   By noon he was sitting up and he was back.

When I leave on extended trips I say a prayer and put a guardian angel on duty over the chicken coop and the house.  Waving my wand snapping all etherial beings to attention I back out of the driveway.  Usually works........but then the human factor seeps in.  These are things I do to make it OK to leave for shows.

With Monday shot to hell I concentrated on Tuesday.   Ordered clay and chemicals, banking, unload truck and trailer, clean up the studio to gear up for production and, and, and........Whoa!  Threw three porcelain pots.  Thought the shelves would be fill by Wednesday morning.  OH and then there was election madness; waiting in line at the polls, facebook, multitudes of phone calls from political candidates and staying up until 2 a.m. listening to the rejected and jubilant.   OH and a big raccoon to catch!

Wednesday......... unload a semi truck of clay and chemicals ordered yesterday.  Find and clean out nooks and crannies in the studio to store clay and chemicals. Trim three whole pots, hair cut to look human again, make yogurt and throw 13 more pots.  OH and a 2nd big raccoon to catch!

Today I will trim and throw multitudes of pots and I am back in the grove.  Four days to get my grove going.  But I am back!

Orders are piling up, last show date is looming on the horizon, Rachael arrives shortly, and the chickens are still laying......... these are good problems to have!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Potters from the land down under....

While rolling down the rabbit hole of the blogosphere I ran across this cool site!  
Leave it to the Australian women potters to come up with idea.  So many of us work alone in our studios I love seeing what other potters are up too, especially in the Southern Hemisphere!  

Mudcolony welcome to my studio and blog in Ohio!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Four years ago......

Four years ago I sent an email to my All around BFF and clay bud, Dolita.  Rachael called at 2:00 a.m. from India. She had been in the Peace Corps in Benin and was on her way home...taking the long way through Eygpt, India, Nepal, Thailand and Japan.  Rachael and Annie arrived in Calcutta, India as the election results weremtallied and announced. This is what the email said;
"just wanted to let you know the phone blasted off the wall at 2 am last was Rachael and Annie screaming into the phone...MOM IT'S ME...DID
 YOU SEE IT?? DID YOU SEE IT?? WE CAN'T BELIEVE WHAT WE ARE SEEING. WE ARE IN INDIA AND CALCUTTA IS ON FIRE AND WE ARE DANCING IN THE STREETS OF INDIA! There are red, white and blue balloons by the hundreds, Obama buttons, hats and T-shirts. MOM, WE ARE IN INDIA! Our trip home just changed, people are excited we are Americans! MOM, THIS IS AMAZING!!!!
Last night the world danced."
And I say we want to dance again on Tuesday!  Please vote today, because you can!

Hey there BFF, thanks for reminding me :)  where did that four years go?

The Memorial Art Gallery Show review.......

Backing out of the driveway last Friday it was cold, dark and windy.  Still trees down, still boats missing, still power out, still howling winds,  I questioned my sanity.  Driving to Erie was OK, but then hit snow pellets, wind and rain.  Pulling over for gas and peering into the darkness, again........ should I keep going.   As the gas gurgled into the tank my thoughts;  it was the MAG, last year the place blew me away, could it even be close to the sales I had last year?  There was no time to get the framed pieces done, Eastman Kodak was struggling and laying off, the hurricane had just hit and there go those grumblings again.
At the freeway I made my choice and headed east to Rochester.  
Making it by my 8:30 am set up time, got out of my truck and kissed the ground.  Rochester seemed to have been sparred the brunt of Hurricane Sandy.  Charlotte Herrera met me with open arms and a deep sigh of relief.  Had Charlotte not reached out through emails, checking on all the artists I probably would not have gone.  This is what makes the Memorial Art Show a shining diamond in a crown of shows.  

Other artists were arriving and we unloaded, setting up toot suite.  I was again in the Lovejoy parlor with four other artists.  A welcome bag had been placed in each booth.  They took the time to put a picture of our work and name on each bag.  The bag was filled with goodies; snacks to munch on while setting up, a water tumbler, information on the show and all artfully done.   The attention to detail is so very much appreciated and it is the little stuff that makes a big difference.

By 5 p.m. everyone is set up and we are served a hot chili dinner (vegetarian or meat), complete with rolls, salad and drinks.  Cookies for dessert.  The welcoming committee greets you at the door. 

At 6:00 pm the MAG hosts a lecture series.  This year; Val Cushing and Richard Aerni!!!!  Oh my stars and bars!  Academia vs. the Warrior.  A moderator asked insightful questions and each answered as to how they approached the studio, composition and other challenges in long careers.  How do you condense 80 or more years into an hour, could have gone on for hours and I would have sat there and listened.

7 pm and the Preview show opened.  Racing back upstairs to flip on lights and open for business.  It's a well attended night filled with chattering, buying, wine and tasty treats, student work from the American School of Craft and it's occurs to me I am once again wrapped in the cocoon of the MAG.  

The cocoon of the MAG.......
Members open their homes to road weary artists.  Did you read that?  NO hotel bill!  Last year I stayed at the local hotel, this year I opted for the home stay.  Mary, John and Camille (a sassy Wheaton Terrier) ....... Thank You!  I had the pleasure of another artist staying too;  Sonya Mackintosh. There was much sharing on topics such as shows, applying to shows, promoters, business, food and weather.  You don't get that in a hotel. 
Sat. 10 am.  back to the MAG to meet and greet.  The hospitality room was always stocked with hot coffee, tea and goodies.  The crowd was good and the so many people returned from last year to buy and say howdy.  

The show closed at 5 p.m. again I was selling until 5:30 pm.   Lights out and we were given directions to a dinner party at one of the  members home.  Our superb hosts greeted us with a glass of libation, nibbles, smiles and wonderful smells of a home cooked meal.  These dinners are small intimate gatherings of 8 or 9 artists gathered around a candlelit dining table bantering back and forth the topic of the night.  Last year it was politics, this year dog breeding and fiber art and reviews of the Smithsonian show.  We cleared the table and all stood in the kitchen reluctant to leave, Raul announced he was headed for the door.  Charlotte waved good bye, the Rice cat yeowled us out and we found our way back to our host family for a good nights sleep.  

Sunday Morning coffee and dinner reviews around the breakfast table, hugs and goodbyes to our host families and off one last time to the MAG for an Artist Feedback Brunch!  Mary Clare, Marcia and Charlotte stand before munching artists and ask:  "What can we do better?"  Seriously?  For an hour and a half good information was bantered around, notes were taken and the artist gave a resounding THANK YOU  for hosting an incredible show.  

11 a.m. we concluded, ran upstairs and who is standing in my booth?  Richard Aerni and Carolyn, so happy they came back on Sunday!!  Words of wisdom imparted and then things got a crazy and I had to attend to sales.  There is never enough time!  Later in the day,  Miss Penelope arrived with her entourage'!  She was bedazzled with pink bow and chubby cheeks.  Mom,  Francesca is an incredible paper jewelry artist who is busy with Miss Penny but still on the show circuit!  You go girl!!  Again, never enough time......... and what was Papa Rudy doing there, in the shadow of women accompanying Miss P and unbedazzled I might add. 

4 p.m. lights out, although I continued to make sales until 4:20 pm.  Which is why I was the last to leave the building.  The women who were just decked out in designer togs were now schlepping boxes and carts to  waiting vans and trailers with the artists, eager to get on the road.  

I drove home arriving around 11 p.m.  So much to process........ and why I love driving at night even though it is rutting season and the NY highways are paved with deer hide and guts.  Why they feel the need to mate with a semi truck or anything with rubber wheels remains a mystery to me.  
This year I have run the roads from Evanston to West Palm Beach and in between.   I have tread marks on my forehead, and am road weary.

I had just spent the weekend wrapped in the cocoon of the MAG.  There was no election, no hurricane, no war, no fighting.  We were wrapped in peace, respect, good food, intelligent conversation and love of the craft.  It is an intimate show where you get to know who you are selling pots too.  And I would also like to add it was my most profitable show of the year!  I did not return weary.  I returned re-charged.   

I pulled in the driveway; the lights were on, the trees still down but safe and so grateful Charlotte reached out during a very dark time.  Sincere thanks to all who make the MAG a successful show.  

These are the shows we desperately need and we need support them, nurture them and attend them...... hurricane on not! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Heading out........

Well after reading over emails, watching radar and standing in the rain and wind, I'm just about packed. Wanted to stay home and hunker down but then out of the blue one of the directors emailed; "just checking in"  She wanted to let us know she respected our decision to attend or not but:  The Show Must Go On.  They would be open for business.  Whatever the decision, be safe.

I have to say after standing knee deep in water at the marina, being whipped to death by 40-60 mph winds and dragging downed tree limbs off the driveway I was pretty gobsmacked.  Had a hard time wrapping my brain around this email but it was Charlotte and I have the utmost respect for Charlotte.
The TV, radio, emails, social media had been inundated with the devastation.  Fine Craft, art.... really?  
After I attended the MAG last year I was elated.  Attending this one show changed the way I did business.  If I was going to pack up and hit the road I was going work for people like the MAG.  They respected the artists, fed us, housed us and checked on us hourly at the show, bringing water and snacks.  Amazing because I had tread marks on my forehead from those who shall not be named, show promoters.  Here we were coddled and it was good.  NO, it was great!   

These are the people that make me load a trailer and pull out of the driveway.  These are the shows that I personally want to succeed, in fact excel.  From the little old ladies who make the fantastic flower arrangements for the entry way, to the volunteer on her rascal scooter zipping around with a basket full of water.  What I am saying is, the community is involved and they are excited we are there. 

The other thing I love;  the show is small; 40 artists.  I should say exclusive.  
It is the best of the best.  I am honored to be invited.  
OH and there is a wonderful student show from RIT.  Opening night it is so great to talk to the students and hear about their path and what they want to do with their voice.  

Today I will run down and pick up chicken feed and extra bale of straw.  Get a bag of dog food and his line up his meds on the counter.  Pack the trailer, get my maps in order and back out of the driveway at 3:30 a.m.  The 25 mph winds should have died back, the rain will still be raining and I will be off to the MAG.  

Have a grand weekend bloggers!