Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Just blow'n coffee out my nose........ again.

For those that read the blog you know I am not a...... get out of bed and attack the day, kind of girl.  I pour coffee from my incredible automatic coffee pot that is set up before I go to bed.  A few hours later, following the aroma down the steps, it greets me with hot fresh coffee.  Pure Love!  Fumbling for a mug in the dark I feel the heat of the coffee until it hits the rim. No need to turn the lights on in the kitchen.  I ease into my day around 5:45 a.m. each and every day.  I grab my hot mug of coffee after streaking through the back 40 to let the chickens out, hunkering down to check the world news and local weather.

After the mug hits my lips I mute the TV and just watch the pictures as the light of dawn creeps into the room.  I watch the weather map with some guy flapping his arms around a map and looking way too happy.  The forecasts are in picto-grams any way...... I live for the happy sun face or grumpy storm clouds!   Back to the news desk sitting stylishly dressed the anchor people banter back and forth in color coordinated outfits...... I hate banter and color coordinated outfits at 5:45 a.m. thus the beauty of the mute button.  While watching the images move across the screen I see a rather large woman in a two piece bathing suit, smiling, if full make up sporting the reddest lipstick I have ever seen.

This made the news?  Where are the accidents, flaming buildings and floods. I want to see locusts and plague at 5:45 a.m. I guess I have become oblivious to the horrors of the world.  Until I see this very large woman in a two piece bathing suit, full make up and smiling with her really white teeth and red lips.  Pan back to the news crew where they are trying heroically, to hold it together.

Where is that stupid remote.........  oh yeah, I'm sitting on it, in fact it could stuck in the folds of my butt but it's not it's jammed in the seat cushion.  Un-muting the remote I wait for the story to circle back around.  Wait for it ........ here it comes.......... YES!  Large woman in a two piece suit......... and I blow coffee out my nose!  It's the FAT-KINI!  I am not making this up!  Just go to the fashion blog:  FATKINI   I ran for kitchen towels to clean up the mess.

While I scurried to the kitchen in the dark, my Politically Correct voice says:  RIGHT ON and it's about time and fist pump because I am a large woman of eastern European decent who loves goose liver.  Example of my heritage:  My Dad (Scottish) upon opening his awesome Christmas present of a garage door opener, so many years ago.  Scratched his head and said:  What do I need this for?  I have your Mother, she works great!   and he was serious!  'Nuff said!  It's why they wore babushka's!  Cover it up!  All of it! Whatever "IT" was.   There were many school days I was sent back in the house to change into "something decent".    Today, when the wind blows, everyone knows..... she is going commando!  Lake Erie winds can be fierce!   So let me be your Mother....... and the Dali Mama says...... go get your one piece with the little skirt!  Now!  I am not saying don't go to the beach, I am saying STOP!

Murr left a comment under the Art Rant post and I quote: "THIS is what you get when you tell young Heather how wonderful her artwork is all her life."  It works for fashion too.......

Two blog posts down I posted a lovely rant about "ART".   This is where it has taken us.  Someone sat in room sketching out the idea of the fat-kini.  My brain would not even go there.  My brain would not think to put dead baby heads on a vase either.  I don't know if it's right or wrong but I know I don't want to see it.  Oh wait......... it is wrong, it's very wrong.  I remember wandering onto the nude beach in Key West so many years ago with my very small children.  I was scarred for life, the kids don't remember.  Talk about junk on the beach!  A fatkini ...... children will be unphased but I predict adults will need therapy.

I am ok with your large self, I am ok with my large self......... but I must go open the garage door now.....

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Free at Last..........

Made a bit of headway last week!  Yeah!  There were so many ends left to twist in the wind I was feeling a bit frayed.  My list was growing and not much was getting crossed off.  
Crossed of this week;  a tree promised to my neighbor who gives us load after load of firewood!  A lovely 12 foot copper beech with a 285 pound root ball, picked up, planted and crossed off the list! 
Teapot exchange for California that's been dangling for months, crossed off the list! 
The Nomadic Dinnerware Set, done, along with the three sets for a customer. 
I have so much extra head space today it's dizzying!  

I have blogged long and hard about this dinner set.  It's like an oil slick and just kept coming to the surface muck'n stuff up.  To make it stop I finished the project!  Happy Dance!  
I confess I suck at woodworking and thank goodness I don't make my living at it.  The lumber was bought last week, I needed the space in the studio; get to it!  The box is ......kind of square, kind of 13 x 13 inches.  The latches work and so does the handle.  Still needs a good staining and paint on the inside but the hard stuff is done.  Cutting, sanding, branding...... the brand is from basket making days, nice to dig it out and use it again!  Dinner for two complete; cloth place mats and napkins.  It's a proto type, doubt I will sell it.  Or maybe make another one and give it to the kids for Solstice Celebrations.  
I don't think I could ever get my time out of it but it begged to be done and I wanted to know if I could do it.  I can and I think it's a cool idea but alas, it's one of those projects, like the kitchen, that just went on too long.  Maybe I will market the idea to Walmart :)  These would make great wedding gifts!  But then I would need a candle stick holder..... nope, done! 

I feel a lot like this fern..... Oh boy NEW!  but not moving fast enough.... BAM!  cobwebs.

  Over night! 

But on to the good stuff....... like the azalea is still blooming! 
Because the temperatures dropped 60 degrees in 5 hours!  
Frost two nights in a row, glad the tomatoes aren't out yet.

Is there anything better than new green?  

And this is where flowers come from :) 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

the crap show we call art.........

A rant is coming and it isn't for the faint of heart.  

Spending most of my Spring on the road and neglecting my usual Spring activities I've had the opportunity to see LOTS of pottery, art and exhibits.  Still in the full "art" pilgrimage mode, we started Friday night at the Lakeland May Show.  There were a few stand out pieces; Michael Romanik's "Oriole and Poplar" was drop dead gorgeous!  Loved Diana Bjel's pieces; "Horse" and "Coca Cola Virgin".  Loved Anthony Mitri's "Corn"!  If I had $5,000 I would have bought it but then I just heard somebody in Zephyrhills, Florida won over half a BILLION dollars and alas, I live in Paine Falls, Ohio.  Nuts!  Loved Bette Drake's; "Bowl" too.   Why did I love these pieces?  They were extremely well made and they had integrity!  There were over 400 pieces juried for this show, I believe 80+ were juried in.  I saw the rooms, yes rooms of "ART".   As my dear friend observed recently; "I wouldn't hit a running dog in the ass with that work!"  Don't tell me it's subjective either.  Crap is Crap!  I may put that on bumper sticker or tattoo it on my forehead.  If you're going to claim you make "ART" make it well, make it with integrity.  Maybe we need a juror just for 3 dimensional work?  Dunno........ 

Left the May Show and worked our way over to 78th Street Studios........ First stop Tregoning Gallery. Interesting show, a few wanders, wouldn't call it packed.  We got a glass of wine and toured the exhibit.  Did not rock my world but was well executed.  I had a chance to talk to Mr Tregoning, lovely man.  We were introduced via the bartender; a chatty guy as any bartender should be and asked if we were artists.  Nope, a potter, whence enters Mr MP and asked; what does one need to do to show work in the gallery.  Ok, he is director of operations in the world of construction and he not one to beat around the bush.  If you do beat around the bush in the world of construction it can cost millions and sometimes billions.  So lay it out there and I do love that...... but wait this is my world!  And this is just not done!  One makes an appointment and follows up!  But again...... alas, the door was flung open I was in, up to my neck.  The very nice man asked what I did.  I responded Ceramic Art, I knew pottery was not going to fly.  He rolled his head back, looking skyward and said:  DECORATIVE ART IS DEAD, I NEVER TOUCH IT!  Well OKEY DOKEY...... moving on as I never pick up dog poop either.  Note to self, GOT IT!  Then I was given a lecture on;  Cleveland is now the hot bed of the art world and hundreds, yes, hundreds of artists are moving back to Cleveland because there are so many venues to show work.  Well knock me over and show me the door boyfriend, I believe I have my big girl panties on backwards and I will leave you your illusions.  But, Hey, you are clearly making a living off your gallery so party on, without me!   

I had had enough and looked for Mr. MP who was just pouring another glass of wine and having a lovely chat with the bartender...... still.  I walked over and said I've had a lovely chat and was now educated on the Cleveland art scene and I was ready to retreat to Paine Fall and my flock of chickens.  
He gulped his wine, saying telling the bartender;  Wow, tell this guy he missed a great opportunity.  And that is why I love him as he carries his pom pom's everywhere and right out there where you can see them....... and he is my biggest fan!  

We walked out and into the studio scene of W78th.  We wandered through studio after studio looking for something, anything that screamed;  'I AM ART!"   We returned home to watch Harry Potter and drink bourbon out of my Will Swanson shino yunomi.  I rolled it in my hands and relished the weight, the glaze, the caress of the edge on my lip, the finished bottom....... swoon and gulp!  

I worked in the studio all day yesterday and rolled this stuff around in my head.  I keep thinking I am getting old because my work takes so long to complete but NO!  I strive to make every piece like Will Swanson's yunomi.  Pieces with integrity, well made, make me go weak in the knees and that takes a long time.  I will spend a day carving one teapot, yeah I know I'm not going to make much money on that teapot but when it's done I gonna be happy!  The weaving is going to compliment the pot or it gets hammered.  

Is taking this much time worth the effort?  Maybe I'm the idiot and should just start slapping stuff out with quirky names to make a living.  Maybe it's time to go back to functional and just get stuff out there.  

After Boston, I know the paradigm has shifted in our world of shows and fine craft.  Can I afford an expensive show and take a loss or is there a better way to present functional art and non functional art? Stuff well made that makes you swoon and gulp!   

so again......... Crap is Crap and beauty is not in the eye of the beholder!   
Yup, the emperor is wearing new clothes ........ again! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

St. Croix Potters Tour and weekend in the woods.........

After Boston, a slow start to Spring and just needing a break I decided this was the year to head up to the St. Croix Potters Tour in Minnesota and see a bunch of potters on one of the biggest tours in the country.  Wrangled up the Miller brat pack and they came with gear and beer.  We in our infinite wisdom decided to tent camp.  
Mapquest estimated it would be a 13 hour drive........ no problem!  It was 17 hours,  many tanks of gas, tolls booths as far as the eye could see.  We drove across the farm lands of Ohio, the RV museum in Indiana, the beauty of Gary, Indiana and then the Chicago Skyway, toll booth after toll booth we rolled into Wisconsin.  The Cheese state, every bill board proclaimed the best cheese in the world and God, local churches and Jesus.  Thus we began praying to Chee-sus just get out of the state!  Please let us find the Minnesota State line, I swear I will eat cheese every day for the rest of eternity.  But then in a twist of Wisconsin reality every few miles we ran into the HO-Chunk casinos. (I am not making this up!)  So cheese, God and gambling........ and lots of cows!  Being that it's Spring the cows were making more cows and boy were they cute! 

Finally around 9:00 p.m. we rolled to campsite #32.  We filled out the appropriate tags, stickers and permits to walk across the parking lot.   I must be getting old because I remember pitching a tent and paying a couple bucks for a great weekend.  It was an American right to go camping.   We opted out of electricity and running water because we are WOMAN!  We set up at dusk, unloaded the kayak and ate chocolate chip cookies for dinner washed down with beer, (because it was the only thing we could find in the dark and we were just to tired to fire up the stove) collapsing into tents, truck beds and sleeping bags. 


Rachael arrived sometime in the middle of the night, never heard her pull in as I was quite dead to the world.  The next morning we fired up the coffee pot, wiped the raccoon prints off the water jugs and cooler, rolled around the site basking in family fun, drank way too much coffee and got a late start to the tour.  No worries, we are on vacation!  

Off to the potters by 11:30 am.  

Linda Christianson's place.

Bob Briscoe's place, looking back.

Bob's place looking forward.

and Bob! 

Bob's place at night.   This was the highlight of the tour!  How great to sit around a campfire talking with other potters, drinking great beer, great music, and surrounded by some of the finest potters in the land;  Dan Finnegan, Mary Barringer, Jo Severson,  Mathew Metz, Kent McLaughlin, Hannah McAndrews (in from Scotland!), Suze Lindsay, Jason Trebs, and loads of Bob Briscoe pots!  The place was rock'n. 

Back to camp, made a small fire to keep warm, eat good food, drink more beer and hit the bags a bit after dark.  

The next morning we were charged and ready to go again.  There were a few places we hadn't hit yet.  Three pots of coffee, campfire toast, and off to the races.  
Again we ended at Bob's place.  We were stunned to see the food put out for all to enjoy!  

Mary rocked the food!  We had shopped hard and we ate delicious food!  I have never been so welcomed on a tour before.  We are not talking cookies and punch we are talking pasta salads, artichoke dip on crostini, Black bean and corn salad, pastry, coffee, tea, beer (some home brewed!) wine, cheese........ if you walked away hungry it was your own fault!  At Guillermo Cuellar's we dined off hand thrown plates and salmon rollups, salads, pastries and more.  The beer was delish!  We drank from hand made mugs at most places.  Ok wrap your brain around serving hundreds, maybe thousands of people for three days off handmade dishes!  I know I bought more pots because of this hospitality extended to all buyers!  The weather, cold and blustery by Ohio standards did not deter the crowds.  Every pottery we went too was busy and people were buying!   This was awesome from a potters perspective!  

By Saturday afternoon we were shopped out and potted out so we went back to camp for a bit of down time.  

books and chili eating....... 

Synchronized meadow swimming.......

Sardine tasting....... 

family pyramid building

passing off the kayak to the oldest daughter.......
paddle well ...... 

An action packed couple days and we gathered one last time around a frozen camp in the dark and talked about our Wild Woman Weekend.  We passed the Buffalo Trace bourbon bottle and told more stories than I care to talk about.  We were wildly inappropriate and laughed until we doubled over. 

 The first morning of the festivities I had tucked $50 in a card for each daughter with instructions.  "To be spent on the pottery of your choice by 6 p.m. Saturday night". Bring your purchase to the campfire and tell me why you loved it so much you had to buy it.  We are all on a budget so I really thought a mug or bowl would be the choice of the weekend but the girls did themselves proud!  (me too!)  We have spent a lot of years traveling the world and we always come home with a treasure to remind us of our journey.  This trip was no different.

Rachael:  sees it, loves it, buys it! 
Bob Briscoe mug, Kent McLaughlin salt shaker, Kent McLaughlin ewer and Delores Fortuna bowl.
Bravo Rachael!   Yeah, there's a Miller teapot in there too.

Abby: the very careful shopper.  Took pictures and then went back to make purchases.  Every piece was picked up, weighted in her hand, turned over and over and put on the hold table.
Kent McLaughlin berry set, Bob Brisco tea bowl, Kent McLaughlin tea bowl and her favorite; Bill Gossman tea bowl. 

and me........ fell in love with too much! 
Bob Briscoe plates and mug, Sarah Jaeger mug, Suze Lindsay mug, Will Swanson yunomi, Sylvie Granatelli swan bowl, Kent McLaughlin salt shaker, and a George Lowe mug that failed to make the photo op as I was drinking out of it! 

We hiked that afternoon and I knew we had been in the woods a bit too long when Abby announced she thought I looked like a great horned owl.  There was no time for fishing, even though we had hauled our gear to the woods.  Not even time for a paddle.  And did I mention it was flipp'n cold?  Saturday night the rangers had come around the campground shrouding all the faucets as they would have frozen.  Sunday morning our water was frozen in the jugs.  Abby said she was so cold she was afraid to fall asleep fearing she would never wake up ...... she reads a lot of books.  
We stayed up all night laughing, passing the bourbon bottle around, telling stories and eating all the food we had hauled up to the site.  Lasagna, chili, salads, eggs, corn chips, sardines, crackers, gooseliver, bananas (frozen), apples, cream cheese on anything including your hand.  We rocked and we listened to Abby say everyday........ Chee-sus I hate camping.  But where else could we go and be the wild women we are and not get kicked out?  

Sunday morning the sun crested over the hill of the site and we were up. 

The coffee was made and our hands were so cold we had a hard time holding the camera still.

Our feet were frozen, we smelled of smoke and beer and didn't want the weekend to end.

Headed down the road and making plans for the next Wild Woman Weekend!

Best Mother's Day ever!  Thanks Chick-lets!