Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lights Out........

Winter in the Falls......

Just plopped the butter in the old Kitchen Aid and WHAM!  Pitch Black with howling winds.  Standing there paralyzed, waiting for my eyes to adjust, my first impulse is to curse our power company..... again!  My mind raced through the possibilities of why this has happened and estimate how long we might be in the dark. 

1. Winds took down lines..... an hour.
2.  Somebody took out a pole on Rt. 20 again.... 2-5 hours.
3. One of the hamsters keeled over at the power plant.... infinity.
4. The power plant guy dropped his sandwich in the turbine...... minutes to flip switch. 

Grumbled a bit and then a bright shining light filled the room!  I live for this stuff!!  With the wind banging on the windows and wind chills blasting us into the single digits, break out the generators and canned goods.  
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, I am READY!
We have wood and a gas stove and candles!  After spending the day in the studio unpacking I hadn't had time to start the wood stove.  Donning; hat, gloves and parka I dashed out the back door for kindling.  Wicked wind so no problem finding sticks under the Norway maple as it creaked and cracked overhead in protest.  Blasted back in the door, crumpled paper, stacked kindling, and fired up Bertha with one match!  Hestia, Greek goddess of hearth and home,  eat your heart out!  I am so getting a tiara! 

Fire started, I rummaged through my fishing vest and dug out my LED head lamp.  The batteries were still good.  I lit candles and secured the woodpile.  Started the kerosene heater in the studio.  Maybe popcorn on the wood stove or should I eat canned peaches or pickled beets, look at all this stuff in the basement, OMG, little tins of sardines.... I had lost my mind.  Finished the popping the corn on the wood stove and settled in with my head lamp to look at seed catalogs. 

Butch rolled in around 10:30 pm.  Hey, What are you doing?  
I made fire and I am feeding myself with food I made and isn't this awesome?  
He called the power company.  Yup, a guy on Rt. 20 took a pole out.   He sat down with a glass of bourbon and said;  "It's really quiet in here, kind of nice. And did I mention it's really hot?  How much wood did you put on that fire?"  
He walked around the house with his railroad lamp, sipping bourbon and singing his rendition of Porky Pig's Blue Christmas.
I went to bed under a four blankets and ear muffs....... he sucked the fun out of a good power outage.  I was just about to make grilled cheese on the firebricks.....   

This morning the power is back on, nuts! 


  1. It's so nice to be prepared. You just roll with can't push Mother Nature or the electric company. We lost power three times for about five days each last year. We had warning of storms each time so we were prepared with water pumped, stuff taken from freezer, power inverter ready.....we heat with wood so as long as I don't need the kiln we are good to go.

  2. I read your last post and have thought about it a lot- really are we crazy any more to pack this stuff up and then to pack it all up to bring home? I am doing some real soul searching and reaching for he stars, while mulling over the what ifs.
    I love a good power black out.
    But I only want it to last about 2 hours...

  3. Suzi..... exactly and I found the change refreshing! I think Mother Nature is currently going through menopause, furry one day and just a lamb the next. I so appreciate her mood swings and I have learned to duck and cover. Loving the lamb but hunkered down for the furry :)

  4. Meredith....... after doing the math on this show it took my breath away! I'm really trying not to bash ODC but the numbers numbed my brain. Again, I felt like I had been pimped out by promoters, again! I don't think we as a group can work any harder. Things have changed in 30 years. We have the internet, we can photo shoot our own work and we have blogs! I really think it's time to get artists to work for artists and keep as much money in our own pockets! I can take my best pots, shot them in my snazzy photo booth and buy an ad in a magazine for less cost than my last show. I also think we should band together as potters and have a national "Tour the Studio" Day. If we can Mother's Day, Presidents Day, and a host of other days, some via the marketing dept. at Hallmark we should have National Support your Artists Day. If I knew every May 15th I could go to any city in the country and tour artist studios how cool would that be? National Handmade Day.... Now somebody do the math on how much that would generate for artists and local communities. Next year will be interesting but just so I wouldn't fall back on bad habits I sold my booth! I would rather support my passionate friends at the galleries than the shows. They know their market and their collectors. I don't want 50 galleries I want a few good, passionate galleries who love what I do and move work. When I think of the work I could have made in the studio while packing, standing, re-packing and driving last week, it adds up to over a week out of the studio. I have a hard time starting and stopping too. It's gonna be hard to unlearn what I have been doing for so long but you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! And no I don't want to go the Wendy Rosen route of hiring a cadre' of people to pump out clay spoon holders either. Thankfully we are going into winter and have a bit of time to mull some of this over.

    If you have an awesome show it's great but over the last few years on the road it's been a crap shoot at best. Weather, bombings, football games, aligned stars..... pick one. I know a few people who gambled over the years, it isn't a pretty story, few if any win. My crap shoot'n days are over.

    I think a few brain storming sessions are in order this winter!

  5. Your work is so gorgeous, so gorgeous. It's like pearls before swine to do those shows. And what shopper can have a good experience where there are 400 booths? I would never go to such a show. Seems lots of folks buy directly online now . . . lured in by interesting blogs and/or facebook entries. And your blog posts are certainly interesting. Best of luck with rethinking the method! --Diana

  6. We do need some coffee and chat. Two years ago I told Mark, no more shows. We do one local show and I am rethinking that one. We don't have another income so we are working on new ideas,this is what we know.
    Right now we are cleaning out his mother's house and working on our own cluttering. As we lighten the load, sort, toss, rework I have plenty of time to think.
    Let's keep the conversation open.

  7. Spent the day on the road dispersing pots to galleries and picking up clay at the local supplier. Road time is think time for me, clear out the cobwebs a bit.

    Hi Diana..... buying online..... I have such mixed feelings about selling online. After ordering several pieces online there are some surprises, good and bad. The glazes always look better up close and personal. I am really on the fence but I may give it go this year, just to see if it works. And many thanks :) Always appreciate kind words!

    Meredith...... I cleaned out a few years ago after the kids left and it is great! De clutters the mind too! I live kind of in the boonies and always think who would come to studio sale out here, well this year I will find out! I know I better have a ton of mugs but I need to start. I think the other thing I will looking into ..... ads in periodicals I think I might have an audience in. I stopped at a Barnes and Noble's a few weeks back and picked up a few magazines to check out ad prices. I found out if I wait close to the deadline you can get ads cheaper as they need to fill the space.

    Sole income on pottery..... I can't even wrap my brain around it! One bad show and I am in trouble, my electric bills for kilns run $400 - $600 a month when I'm cranking. I do know the woven pots don't bring in the money to pay for the time invested so those will be few and far between this year. I am taking a close look at what sells most of the time and what is taking up space or I have been lugging around for awhile. Does each form or piece deserve shelf space, in the kiln or in the display? Also have the beginning paragraphs of a press release that will need to be tweaked. Winter is going to be busy filling notebooks with ideas. I would just like to keep a few more dollars close to home. The final nail in the show coffin arrived via an email today from the Mass. sales tax dept. Due to my last show they feel I made enough to now file monthly! I do one show a year in Mass. I don't think I want file sales tax forms every month...... Last year was the sales tax form nightmare with shows in 6 states..... will never do that again!
    Wouldn't you think at this stage of the game we would be brilliant :)