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.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

and now the nonfunctional work........

Woo Yellow Tea Jar, chip carved
12.5" tall x 10.5" wide

The Porcupine Pots are back! 
I have tweeked and tweeked and finally getting there.
9" tall x 9.5 wide

Chip Carved Tea Jar......... again, 
can you tell we are headed into winter here in Ohio?
10"tall x 8"wide

Study of the Ewer 
12.25" tall x 8" wide (includes the stand)

Yet another study of the Ewer
12.5" tall x 7.5" wide

Red Woven in Black, how formal.
10"tall x 7"wide

A Potter's Lunch Box.............

What would a potter take to work?  I remember my Dad carrying a metal lunch box and thermos to work everyday.  It was silver and held a big lunch, he worked hard,  He attached a makeshift handle to the thermos and out the door he went, five or six days a week.  
It made me think what would I take to the studio everyday?  
This is what I end up with......... 

For those really hungry cold weather days.  A bowl of soup, a salad, room for oyster crackers and of course a bowl of peach cobbler.  A spot of tea to finish off a lovely mid day break.
The Hungry Potter Lunch stands 16" tall and 7" wide.

For those quick lunches; one bowl and tea.
The Light Lunch stands 9.5" tall and 7" wide.

Kind of Hungry Potter's Lunch.
The interior is glazed in yummy burgundy.
A bowl of stew, salad, dessert and cup tea.
12" tall x 6" wide

The Lean Potter's Lunch.
A bowl of rice and beans, dessert and two cups of tea.
The interior is glaze in pale lemon yellow.

I love these so much now I am thinking they would make great party pots.  Replacing the tea jug and cup with lid.  I don't do much functional work anymore but this is a great study of stack-ables.